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Local

DeKalb park board approves Nature Trail plan

A draft plan to restore and maintain DeKalb’s 1.3-mile-long Nature Trail was approved by the DeKalb Park Board during its November meeting.
A draft plan to restore and maintain DeKalb’s 1.3-mile-long Nature Trail was approved by the DeKalb Park Board during its November meeting.

DeKALB – A proposed plan to restore and maintain DeKalb’s 1.3-mile-long Nature Trail was approved by the DeKalb Park District Board during its November meeting.

Amy Doll, the executive director of the DeKalb Park District, said no changes have been made to the plan since it was made available to the public in August. The plan was approved by a 4-1 vote, with commissioner Keith Nyquist voting against it.

Board President Phil Young said the project now will go out to bid soon and work could begin in the spring on the three-year plan.

“This has been about five or six years in the making, and we finally got to the point where we’ve done enough talking and it’s time to take some action,” Young said.

The 59-page plan said the removal of undesirable and invasive species, coupled with the introduction of high-quality native species, will improve the overall quality and ecological function of the plant communities on the trail’s 15.75 acres.

DeKalb-based Encap Inc., an ecological consulting firm coordinating with the district, created the plan after holding two public hearings to gather input on what residents are looking for in the restorations.

The board also had approved a 15-year agreement with ComEd, allowing it to trim or remove any vegetation, plants or shrubs 10 feet tall or taller in the easement.

Before any work is done, however, ComEd must provide notice to the Park District and give it an opportunity to removed any plants. If the district fails to remove the vegetation within 30 days of the notice, ComEd will have the right to perform the work.

Young said this agreement is a big deal since ComEd legally has the right of way to come into the trail and do the work it wants.

“It shows that if we’re going to invest our money into the area, we don’t have to worry in the next couple of years that [ComEd] will dig it up,” Young said.

ComEd was criticized in 2012 for clear-cutting trees and vegetation beneath and near the power lines along the Nature Trail. Residents claimed that the company had ruined the atmosphere of the trail.

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