SYCAMORE - DeKalb County Forest Preserve District officials on Tuesday were given the green light to start shopping for land. DeKalb County voters approved a 3 cent increase on their total property tax bill to help the district purchase green space. The owner of a $175,000 home will now pay an additional $15 a year. The district expects to raise $5 million over the next 10 years. Neighbors for Open Space, Clean Air and Water, a citizens' group, requested the referendum to increase the amount of forest preserve land the district controls. Officials are concerned that with more land being purchased for development, green space will disappear. Forest preserve supporters gathered Tuesday night at the tearoom at Blumen Gardens. Some of them ate pine-tree-shaped cookies decorated with green sugar and other treats prepared by culinary students at the Kishwaukee Education Con-sortium while they waited to hear results. Around 9:30 p.m., the forest preserve measure was ahead by 600 votes, with five precincts remaining to report, but Terry Hannan, superintendent of the forest preserve district, was not ready to declare victory. “We're this close,” said Michael Haines, chairman of the citizens' committee. “You don't want to call it yet?” Hannan shook his head; he wanted to wait for the final tally. About an hour later the approximately two dozen supporters gathered around a small radio to hear the final numbers and all clapped and cheered. “Go, trees,” someone called out. Forest Preserve Commission Chairwoman Julia Fauci hugged fellow county board member Pat Vary. Haines hugged his wife, Lana Haines, also a member of the citizens' committee. “I'm just delighted the voters of the county made the right choice,” Fauci said. “We can begin to invest in our great heritage.” Haines said voters did the right thing. “It's so gratifying to know that people have chosen to cast their votes to pool their tax money to make this a better place for generations to come,” he said. Hannan said he is grateful for those who supported the referendum and is looking forward to working with the Forest Preserve Commission to review possible land purchases. “We're going to look at land acquisition and prioritize acquisitions and try to get the best prices,” he said. Aracely Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.