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New park opens on former mining site in Cary

The new Cary Lake at Rotary Park, located on the site formerly used by LaFarge Aggregates and Meyer Material Co. for mining, opened Friday.
The new Cary Lake at Rotary Park, located on the site formerly used by LaFarge Aggregates and Meyer Material Co. for mining, opened Friday.

A new park located on the site formerly used by LaFarge Aggregates and Meyer Material Co. for mining and mineral extraction opened Friday for use to the public.

Cary Lake at Rotary Park is
196 acres and located north of Klasen Road and east of Route 31. It includes a 70-acre lake, trails, fishing stations and a kayak launch.

The park is a passive recreational park, with walking paths, trails and benches.

An ordinance transferring the gravel pit property back to the village from LaFarge/Meyer Material was approved in July.

The agreement gave LaFarge the exclusive mining rights to mineral materials located more than 200 feet below the surface of the property and waived the company’s proposed cash penalties. However, as previously reported, the company has no desire to mine this property any further, and the Village Board has no plans to approve mining rights for LaFarge.

A spokeswoman for LaFarge previously said it is a standard business practice for the company to maintain exclusive mining rights to prevent its competitors from gaining access to a site.

Brian Simmons, director of community development for Cary, said LaFarge/Meyer was obligated to restore the property for future park use as part of the approval process for mining the site. This included installing walking paths around the perimeter of the lake and seeding the property with various native plants.

The village already adopted rules for use of the facility, such as not allowing motorized boats on the lake, Simmons said. Kayaks, canoes and similar boats are allowed. Fishing also is allowed on a “catch-and-release” basis.

As far as future amenities go, Simmons said, the village is looking at things such as picnic shelters and pavilions.

The village will partner with the Rotary Club of Cary Grove. Although the village owns the property, it will work with the Rotary to make improvements to the site as time goes on, Simmons said. Changes would have to be approved by the village.

“This would be a location where [the Rotary] could focus their efforts on continuing to improve the community,” Simmons said.

LaFarge/Meyer provided financial contributions to the park as part of its zoning approvals, including a conservation maintenance fee.

In total, the company paid the village about $7.5 million in impact fees, with $1.5 million of that going to maintaining the park property long term.

“This [project] has been a long time coming,” Simmons said. “We think the residents of Cary will be happy with the end result.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the park is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at 1300 Klasen Road.

Mayor Mark Kownick said in a statement that the park is a “wonderful new addition to the variety of outdoor recreational amenities” already available in Cary.

“It’s a beautiful property,” Village Administrator Jake Rife said at a recent Committee of the Whole meeting. “It’s going to be a tremendous asset for the village.”

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