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Cary residents invited to offer input on former Meyer Material mining site

Officials planning recreational park at former Meyer Material site in Cary

Cary officials are expected to take ownership of the lake and land at a former Meyer Material Co. mining pit, shown Friday.
Cary officials are expected to take ownership of the lake and land at a former Meyer Material Co. mining pit, shown Friday.

Cary officials are expected to take ownership of the lake and land at a former Meyer Material Co. mining pit.

As they hammer out the rules and regulations for the plot they plan to transform into a recreational park, residents have been invited to special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at Village Hall to voice their thoughts and concerns about the site, and perhaps even shape its future.

“I think people are hopeful because it has been an eyesore for so long,” Trustee Kim Covelli said. “I think it could be something really nice.”

The shape-shifting happening at the former Meyer Materials site is one of many chapters of gravel pit politics to unfold in McHenry County. Spring Grove, McHenry and Marengo also have seen their share of gravel battles.

Conflicting opinions on the industry in McHenry County have deep roots. The mining industry once was largely unregulated in the county and mired in confusing laws and lawsuits.

Meyer Material Co. ceased operations in Cary in December after
23 years
, despite numerous attempts to obtain an extension from the village. The property – located east of Route 31 and west of the Fox Trails subdivision – will transfer to Cary in June.

Once open to the public later in the summer, residents will have the opportunity to enjoy the trail and lake, whether for hiking, biking, fishing, picnics or other activities.

The forthcoming park would cover 102 acres with a 60-space parking lot with access from Klasen Road and a 2.5-mile main trail that circles a 77-acre lake. Additional trail spurs would provide access to designated fishing holes.

At the village’s Committee of the Whole meeting May 15, Public Works Director Erik Morimoto shared some of the details, rules and regulations pitched for the future recreation area in an ordinance proposal.

Because this is a new type of recreational facility not previously owned or operated by the village, officials must create a new chapter for the municipal code that outlines regulations for the park. 

Some of those rules include no swimming, no hunting and no boats on the lake. Fireworks and weapons are prohibited. Bicycle riding is allowed, but horseback riding is not. Catch and release fishing is permitted in designated areas, but “live” bait – including smaller fish, minnows or lake creatures – is prohibited. Ice fishing is permitted. 

The park would operate from dawn until dusk from April 1 through Oct. 31.

Trustees tabled a vote on the ordinance until residents could provide input at the meeting, which starts at
6 p.m. Monday at Village Hall, 655 Village Hall Drive.

“It’s very important that the Village Board has an opportunity to hear what the residents envision in that area,” Covelli said.

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