Township Seeks Public Input, Help with Woodland Sanctuary

Residents are invited to a Feb. 24 focus group about the future of 59 acres of green space.

Lemont Township seeks residents with a green thumb, ambition, and vision to help make 59 acres of open space into something special. 

The Township will hold a focus group meeting February 24, to gather with interested residents to flesh out the future of the land located near the Township building and dog park.

Currently the Township partners with Pizzo & Associates for the development of the prairies and management of open space. During this next year the Township hopes to form a community citizen board to help with the management of the land. The February 24 meeting is to reach out to the public to identify interested residents.

The land was purchased using funds from a $10 million referendum—$2 million of which was spent on the township's new building. Once the partnership with Pizza and Associates concludes, the land will be entirely in their hands, and belongs to the residents in perpetuity. 

"The Township isn't in the business of owning large pieces of land," said Township Facilities Director Kathy Henrikson.

"We need help."

The Township will receive guidance from the University of Illinois Master Gardener's program, which also plays a role in Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights

Henrikson is specifically looking for help scheduling seasonal work such as mowing, burns, weeding and removing invasive species. Ideally, a citizens advisory board or advisory committee will plan community events, such as educational programs, public education in the benefits of preservation and nature. 

The meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Lemont Township offices at 16300 Alba St. For more information, contact Program Coordinator Kathy Henrikson at Kathyhen58@att.net or 630-257-2522.

"We may have another 'Lake Katherine' on our hands here," she said. "It could be something really exciting.

"Let's keep it going in the right direction."

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Jim Ladas February 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM
I am pleased to see that our Lemont Township Board is seeking community involvement and input about the future of our “Open Space” area next to I-355. I would encourage all my neighbors to take this chance to participate, especially those who reside in the Timberline subdivisions. This area is especially important because it serves as the western gateway to much of Lemont and gives the first impression of our town to many visitors. I am sorry to see that this event will be in conflict with the regular Lemont Village Board meeting and a meeting of the Committee of the Whole that many citizens plan to attend. We are still engaged in our fight to have our voices heard about the proposed $40 million debt that the village is trying to incur. While we will try to attend both the village and township meetings, it may be impossible. I hope the township might schedule a second focus group free of conflicts with other local government meetings. It would also be great if more than three days notice were provided.
Robert February 22, 2014 at 07:47 PM
Sounds like a great idea from the township!
B.S. Buster February 23, 2014 at 07:44 AM
Why don't you take this meeting in Jim? You aren't needed, wanted or successful at the other meeting. This just might be a better use of your time and effort. Maybe the township will let you take over without being elected...
kathy henrikson February 24, 2014 at 08:15 AM
Future meetings are planned along with our Community Earth Day Event on April 26th 9:-11:00. Often the Village does not meet the last Monday of the month...my mistake. Although this meeting has been posted on patch for weeks we could do a better job with promoting our events. We of course want to avoid conflict to allow everyone to participate including Mayor Reaves & the board as they are all stakeholders in our santuary.


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