[Photos by Kevin Solari – firstname.lastname@example.org]
Bike trails, picnic areas and two shelter houses are open to the public at the Sycamore Forest Preserve at 955 E. State St.
“We’re glad to have it open for the public,” said Terry Hannan, DeKalb County Forest Preserve superintendent. “There was a lot of interest in it.”
The preserve originally was scheduled to open last year, but that was delayed while awaiting approval from the Federal Emergency Management Association. The county needed FEMA to certify that all of the necessary work at the site, which is in the Kishwaukee River’s floodplain, was completed before it could transfer ownership of the property to the forest preserve. That approval hasn’t come yet.
“We were supposedly at the top of the list,” Hannan said. “But with the three hurricanes, they’re busy.”
A workaround was found when DeKalb County bought a liability insurance policy to open the preserve before it transferred ownership to the Forest Preserve. The policy cost $61, and the park opened officially Monday.
“It’s been sitting idle for several months,” DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson said. “It’s a huge asset and resource to the community; it was a travesty it was sitting idle for so long.”