Enhancements coming to Spring Valley, Bison's Bluff in Schaumburg
About $1 million of enhancements -- partly funded by a grant -- are coming to Spring Valley Nature Center and its Bison's Bluff playground in Schaumburg this spring.
The plan includes some things that have been requested by visitors to the center, such as areas of shade and restrooms, Schaumburg Park District Executive Director Tony LaFrenere said.
The improvements, expected to be completed by May or June, recognize that the importance of the nature center at 1111 E. Schaumburg Road has increased in the past year, LaFrenere said.
"Especially because of COVID, people are more appreciative of outdoor spaces," he said.
And since its construction nearly five years ago, Bison's Bluff playground has become a catalyst for more people discovering Spring Valley, LaFrenere added.
Last year, the park district received a $400,000 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the project. Due to delays caused by the pandemic, the deadline for the funding's use is being slightly extended, LaFrenere said.
The enhancements include construction of three picnic shelters, ranging in size from 18 feet by 18 feet to 26 feet by 26 feet, just south of the playground, along with a 326-square-foot building containing three unisex restrooms and a mechanical room.
A larger 30-foot by 40-foot picnic shelter will be built northeast of Spring Valley's main building, where it will double as an education shelter for field trips.
Village officials, who have an intergovernmental agreement with the park district promoting the use of Spring Valley as a nature resource area, also reviewed the project before its unanimous approval by trustees.
The agreement includes covenants that prohibit sports fields or buildings that would exceed Spring Valley's mission as a nature reserve, but village planners found the proposed changes to fall within those criteria.
Other aspects of the project include the construction of additional paths, an arbor and a pollinator garden for butterflies and bees near the northwest corner of the main building.
All the shelters will be built with cedar fascia board and cedar shingles, and the three smaller ones will be stone clad at the base of their posts.
The restroom building will be made of stone veneer and cedar siding. Wood posts will be at the corners to match elements of Bison's Bluff.