Mining for Open Space
Outside Chicago, a case study in how a quarry operation can finance
By Frank Edgerton Martin
The same sprawl that threatens open land around cities sometimes
creates the economic opportunity to develop its recreational potential.
Because booming housing and road construction demand large quantities
of sand and gravel, a working quarry in fringe suburbia can prove
immensely profitable during decades of housing growth. Such quarries,
when located on parkland, can finance park expansion and development.
Copyright 2003 Jess Smith/ Photosmith
In the northwestern Chicago suburbs, Lake County's Independence
Grove Forest Preserve is an impressive model of a sand and gravel
quarry reclaimed for recreation. Offering the beauty of old growth
forests as well as numerous lake-oriented activities, this 1,100-acre
park, now nearly complete after 20 years of planning and construction,
exemplifies private/public sector collaboration and signals the
next generation of design in the Forest Preserves. The Forest Preserves
were first established throughout Illinois essentially as country
park districts. In 1905, naturalist landscape architect Jens Jensen
and architect Dwight Perkins established the Cook County system
to protect floodplains and other natural features ringing Chicago.
Today the Lake County Forest Preserves District has 25,000 acres
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