Cary is turning a former gravel pit site into a park with a lake that will open this fall
Cary residents soon will be able to use a new, 190-acre park and 70-acre lake with recreational amenities.
Formerly the Meyer-Lafarge gravel pit, the site -- northeast of Klasen Road and Route 31 and south of the Cary Park District's Hoffman Park -- is being restored to include walking trails, bicycle paths, fishing piers, kayak launches, picnic areas and tables, park benches and a 60-space parking lot.
The Cary village board earlier this week approved acceptance of the property's deed from Meyer Material Co., which used the site for mining and mineral extraction operations. Meyer also conveyed an additional 6 acres next to existing residential subdivisions and the village's parking lot off Klasen Road.
"We're definitely excited about it," Village Administrator Jake Rife said. "It's going to be a great amenity for the residents not only now but for many years to come."
Rife said the village still has to close on the property and finalize legal documents.
"We are expecting to take possession of it soon," he said. "We are planning to have the park open sometime this fall."
Per a 2008 agreement, the village allowed Meyer to complete mining activities and restore the property for future park use according to village standards. The deal included Meyer paying the village $7.5 million placed into a land conservancy fund. The money has been used to make various improvements, including:
• Construction of a new Cary-Algonquin Road multi‐use path from Fox Trails North Drive to Main Street.
• Purchase and funding for current and future village vehicles and equipment.
• $1 million paid to 130 Fox Trails subdivision homeowners for home improvements.
• Construction of a new sidewalk in the Fox Trails subdivision from Cary-Algonquin Road to Knollwood Drive.
• $350,000 paid to the Cary Park District for a future path connecting the lake property to Hoffman Park.
• $1.5 million for future park maintenance and improvement.
The conservancy fund has about $1.5 million remaining to fund signage, benches, other improvements and ongoing maintenance.
As part of the deal, Meyer retains ownership of subsurface mineral mining rights to the property. But any mining operations would require village board approval.
"The village of Cary has no interest in allowing mining on that property," said Rife, adding that Meyer also doesn't have plans to mine the site in the future. "They want to make sure that they retain those rights so that there aren't any competitors that come in the future and utilize those rights. This is standard practice, according to Meyer Material."
The deal also requires Meyer to guarantee any constructed park improvements for an additional year and the recording of various easements for access to the property, stormwater and the path system.
While Meyer Material installed the parking lot, access drive and trails, there is still work to be done before the park is open to the public, Rife said.
"We will want to be able to get picnic tables out there, make sure there is proper signage installed, a few piers for fishing and any other miscellaneous maintenance items to take care before the property is open," he said. "It may not be this year, but we are also going to be installing a restroom facility."
Officials will be working on a plan this winter for several other amenities to be built next year, Rife added.