Hanover Township plans $800,000 upgrade to Izaak Walton site
Hanover Township is planning to transform the Izaak Walton Center & Reserve in Elgin to offer more amenities to visitors of the 11-acre site.
Along with a new trail system going through the undeveloped area, the township plans to build a bridge over Poplar Creek, a small outdoor amphitheater and a bags court.
The project has an $800,000 price tag, half of which was funded by an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The additional $400,000 came from the township's coffers.
The grant program has provided $403.2 million for 1,729 local parks projects since 1987, said Rachel Torbert, deputy director and chief of staff for communications at IDNR. Funds come from the state's real estate transfer tax.
"Projects vary from small neighborhood parks to large community and county parks and nature areas," Torbert said.
Tom Kuttenberg, the director of community and government relations for Hanover Township, said officials developed a master plan for the 11-acre property several years ago. It was gifted to the township in 2013 by the Elgin Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. The league is one of the nation's oldest conservation organizations, according to its website. Its work emphasizes clean water, farming policies, outdoor recreation and community-based conservation.
In 2015, township officials were ready to apply for the grant, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner suspended the program due to a two-year budget impasse with Democrats who controlled the legislature. The township eventually applied four years later and was awarded a grant in 2020.
While 3 of the 11 acres are cleared with a 3,300-square-foot lodge and parking lot, approximately 8 acres are an undeveloped, woody, wetland area, featuring Poplar and Willow creeks.
"We talked with a lot of stakeholders (in the community) about what would be of interest to them," Kuttenberg said.
Kuttenberg said he hopes the project will encourage the community to take advantage of the township's existing programs, as well as new ones that will come from the reserve's new amenities.
The construction contract bid for the project was awarded to E.P. Doyle and Son on April 20.
Hanover Township and E.P. Doyle and Son met Friday for a preconstruction meeting. The township is still waiting on final approval from the Elgin city officials and the state.
"Once we receive the go ahead, our contractor will be in a better position to offer a timeline of work." Kuttenberg said. "Our fingers are crossed for an early to mid-July groundbreaking."
Other suburban grant recipients include $400,000 for the Stoneybrook Park development project in Algonquin, $400,000 for the recreation park master plan in Arlington Heights and $400,000 for McCollum Park in Downers Grove. The Des Plaines Park District received $400,000 for its Lake Park and $112,100 more for Centennial Park land acquisition.
The Hickory Hills Park project in Dundee Township received $363,800. The Elburn Station Unit 1 Park in received $390,900. Hattendorf Park in Elk Grove Village received $266,800, and Camera Park in Glendale Heights received $400,000.
Other recipients include $225,000 for the Birch Park project in Hoffman Estates, $400,000 for the water park bathhouse in Itasca, $400,000 for Paulus Park in Lake Zurich, $400,000 for Four Seasons Park in Lombard and $400,000 for the Autumn Oaks property in Oak Brook.
The state also awarded $400,000 to the Maple Park project in Palatine and to the Woodland Park project in Park Ridge. The River Trails Park District in Mount Prospect received $400,000 for its Aspen Trails Park project.
The Cardinal Drive Inclusive Playground project in Rolling Meadows received $312,600, the Odlum Park project in Roselle received $177,900 and the Round Lake Area Park District's Sports Center Park project received $400,000. The Childerley Park development in Wheeling also received $400,000.