Algonquin and Carpentersville are planning to participate in a Fox River planning study with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
The study, estimated to cost $70,000, will be paid for with federal money and does not require a local match, according to a memo from Algonquin Senior Planner Ben Mason.
The study is expected to examine the potential for increased access to the river and develop strategies for enhancing waterway recreation from the Algonquin Dam to the Carpentersville Dam, Mason said. “The regional Prairie Trail/Fox River Trail bike path runs parallel to the river and presents possible opportunities for expanding the appeal of visitors to the waterfront by incorporating bicycling as well into new recreational plans,” Mason wrote.
CMAP, in a memo to both villages, said the project would take about 12 months to complete. The study will focus on safe walking and biking connections between key destinations along the riverfront such as the communities’ dams and Fox Bluff/Camp Algonquin.
Planners also expect to propose a network of trails to link the Fox River Trail and Prairie Trail, as well as connect to local shopping, institutions, transit and neighborhoods.
Mason said the study will look at ways the river can be useful in attracting residents and visitors to the downtown area.
“It is envisioned that through a coordinated undertaking, a vibrant recreational corridor can be established from Algonquin to Carpentersville, increasing opportunities for exercise and a connection to nature for our region’s residents,” Mason wrote.
The plan also is expected to address environmental features and conditions in the river and on the riverfront including vegetation, park space and water quality. CMAP planners also plan to start a steering committee with members from the McHenry County Conservation District, Algonquin’s recreation department, property owners, businesses, residents and the Dundee Township Park District, among others, according to a memo from CMAP.
The study process would include public workshops to gain community opinions and a project website, CMAP said.
The study also will take into account current plans and reports, including the 2013 Downtown Algonquin Planning Study and the 2012 Carpentersville Old Town Plan. Both will serve as background for the CMAP analysis.
Algonquin’s downtown study did say the village should improve launch points to make it easier for people to get into and out of the river, Mason said. The final plan will likely include a section on challenges and opportunities, a section on visions, goals and objectives, recommendations for land use and connections, and a section on implementation of the plan.
“If we can all work together and put together a more comprehensive plan for the Fox River, we can have a larger impact and draw more people to our riverfronts collectively,” Mason said.