Kane County Forest Preserve District plans archery range in Mill Creek

The Kane County Forest Preserve District will construct the county's first public archery range in Mill Creek Greenway Forest Preserve near Elburn, thanks in part to a $600,000 Open Space Land Acquisition & Development state grant.

The grants typically provide up to 50% of funding for a project - excluding economically distressed communities where 100% of project costs have been covered. The other 50% are supplied by matching funds from the project's local government agency, according to the state.

The Kane County Forest Preserve District has a $1.2 million project planned at Mill Creek Greenway, with plenty of recreational amenities geared toward getting people outdoors and into the preserve. Planned improvements include an archery range, picnic shelter, mowed trails, interpretive signage, restrooms, an entry drive and additional parking, plus a 62-acre tallgrass prairie restoration.

"We're thrilled with the grant award," Forest Preserve District Executive Director Benjamin Haberthur said in a news release. "These funds will allow us to better open up Mill Creek Greenway Forest Preserve for the public to enjoy. The preserve already has scenic views. We'll be adding miles of trail, a picnic shelter, and an archery range open to archers of all skill levels. Early designs incorporate a stand-alone, safety first, ADA-accessible crossbow range. We're excited, because an archery range is an amenity that Kane County residents have been requesting for years."

Among the natural area improvements in the project, the district will convert farmland back to prairie, work to restore the ecological balance of the site, and help protect the flora and fauna of the area.

The district will begin engineering the project this year, followed by construction in summer 2024. The staff expects the improvements to be completed between late 2024 and spring 2025.

The Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia park districts also received $600,000 pen Space Land Acquisition & Development grants.

"Geneva Park District is incredibly excited to receive the news about this grant, which will allow us to invest in renovations at Mill Creek Community Park, supporting our mission to provide recreational opportunities and open space for individuals of all ages and abilities," said Nicole Vickers, executive director of the Geneva Park District.

The Batavia Park District will use the grant to fund the Clark Island Expansion Plan, according to Executive Director Allison Niemela.

"(The plan) will transform the recreational area by including a new skate park with stadium seating, a concrete pump track that will replace the existing bike track, an outdoor fitness court, a monarch butterfly wayfinding station, a limestone fishing outcropping station and new bike path connections leading to the re-imagined area," she said.

The St. Charles Park District will use the grant for improvements at Primrose Farm Park.

"This grant will allow us to not only renovate current amenities within Primrose Farm Park, but also meet community needs through addition of pickleball courts, a picnic shelter, a plaza and a fitness challenge course," said Director Holly Cable.

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