Cary, Algonquin collaborating to restore, redevelop Route 31 corridor

  • Submitted photoThe area around Cary Lake at Rotary Park is set to be redeveloped, along with two other areas as part of a collaboration between Cary and Algonquin.

    Submitted photoThe area around Cary Lake at Rotary Park is set to be redeveloped, along with two other areas as part of a collaboration between Cary and Algonquin.

 
 
Updated 5/8/2021 6:41 PM

Several hundred acres of land on the Route 31 corridor by Cary and Algonquin that had been used for sand and gravel mining are set to be restored and redeveloped in the future.

The Cary Village Board last week approved a resolution accepting the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Algonquin-Cary subarea plan.

 

Included in this plan's framework are future land uses and development opportunities, an open space and green infrastructure network, as well as proposed transportation and infrastructure improvements.

Officials kept several principles in mind, including setting aside space for recreation, providing public access to the lakes and creating a continuous trail system, CMAP Associate Planner Dustin Calliari said at the meeting.

Both villages sought assistance from the regional planning agency in 2018 for the creation of a plan for quarry sites. Cary and Algonquin each pitched in $10,000 to pay for the $100,000 plan.

The Algonquin Village Board also approved the plan -- which builds off planning efforts from Algonquin and Cary's comprehensive plans -- at a meeting in April, Algonquin Community Development Director Jason Shallcross said.

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"Partnering with our neighboring community in Cary and their team was really instrumental in terms of determining the highest and best uses for that subarea moving forward," Shallcross said.

"The plan establishes the vision and certain recommendations to achieve development out there on the corridor," Cary Community Development Director Brian Simmons said.

The three subareas identified by the plan are Subarea 1 to the east of Route 31 and north of Klasen Road spanning 250 acres across both villages and including Cary Lake at Rotary Park; Subarea 2, which is located to the east of Route 31 and south of Klasen Road; and Subarea 3, which is west of Route 31.

Mining operations in Subarea 2 are expected to continue until 2022. In Subarea 3, they are expected to continue until about 2029, although they also may end in the northern part of the subarea as early as 2021.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The area will become "a unique destination bringing communities together by 2035," village and CMAP officials said in the plan. The planning area will connect to downtown Algonquin and Cary, the Prairie Trail, the Fox Bluff Conservation Area, the Fox River and nearby communities via a comprehensive transportation network.

When it comes to development, data analysis and conversation with the developers and real estate brokers showed residential use has the highest potential. However, the study found a gas station with a convenience store could be supported at current population levels based on traffic counts on Route 31 and Klasen Road.

Planned pedestrian and bicycle improvements to develop a strong network with links to Algonquin's and Cary's downtown areas are identified in the plan as well, Calliari said.

Funding mechanisms depend on what development ends up coming forward, Shallcross said.

The next steps for the villages are to continue collaborating with each other as well as other agencies, such as the McHenry County Division of Transportation, the McHenry County Conservation District and neighboring municipalities, Simmons said.

"We developed a good partnership with the village of Algonquin in developing this plan (and) hope that'll continue to increase partnerships between our communities going forward," he said.

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