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October 30, 2000

Governor Ryan Awards $2 Million Open Land Trust Grant to Cook County Forest Preserve District
New land to be named after the late Walter Payton

SOUTH BARRINGTON -- Governor George H. Ryan was joined by Connie Payton, widow of the late Bears running back Walter Payton, today as he awarded a $2 million grant to the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Through money provided by the Open Land Trust program 65 acres of land will be purchased to preserve and restore wetland habitats. A nature trail system will be developed providing access to natural areas, allowing for wildlife observation and nature education for site visitors.

The preserve addition will be named in honor of the late Walter Payton, Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears, who lived in the area until he passed away last November.

"It's no secret that urbanization is consuming open space, farmland, wildlife habitat, recreation areas and natural land faster than we can preserve it," Governor Ryan said. "This program allows local governments to preserve unique prairies and forests for future generations.

"It is an added benefit that we are able to honor the memory of a unique person by naming the land after Walter Payton. He was more than just a special football player-he was a special person whose dedication to his craft and to helping those less fortunate serves as a role model to everyone."

The parcel at the former Klehm Nursery-located at the intersection of Penny and Sutton Roads in northwestern Cook County-will extend the Spring Lake Preserve and provide additional protection for the headwaters of Spring Creek.

The land also will preserve existing wetland habitat and allow for restoration of a former wetland area. A trail system will be developed providing access to natural areas, allowing for wildlife observation and nature education for site visitors.

"Our family is honored and touched by this tribute to Walter, who so loved the Barrington area and would have been proud to be associated with the preservation of its open space," said Connie Payton.

The project is one of five in northwestern Cook County being awarded grants today totaling more than $8.5 million.

Governor Ryan is awarding 35 projects totaling $37.9 million throughout northeastern Illinois as part of the Open Land Trust, state bicycle path grant and Illinois Transportation Enhancement programs.

Governor Ryan's Open Land Trust initiative, the largest land acquisition program in state history, is providing $160 million over four years for land purchases and improvements to protect the state's most precious natural resources. Bicycle path and trails grants are funded through two related programs. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) administers the state's bicycle path grant program, which was begun when Ryan was Lt. Governor. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) administers the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, a federally funded program providing bike paths, pedestrian trails and other projects that offer transportation options other than traditional highway and mass transit facilities.

Other grants announced by Ryan in northwestern Cook County include:

  • Dundee Township (OLT),
    $1,967,700, to acquire 248 acres which includes the former Elmhurst-Chicago Stone gravel mine and a portion of the Bright Farm at the intersection of Sleepy Hollow and Boncosky Roads. The site is a critical component of the Jelkes Creek greenway. Restoration/recovery activities include the reestablishment of natural grades and contours, restoration of the dry gravel prairie vegetation and the establishment of native tallgrass prairie. A public access area will also be developed.

  • Northbrook Park District (OLT),
    $2 million to acquire a 14-acre parcel south of Illinois Road, part of a 60-acre parcel being acquired by the park district. A portion of the site is adjacent to the west fork of the north branch of the Chicago River. The park district will renovate existing wetlands and a 1.2-acre mesic prairie planting area is planned. A trail/pathway system will also be developed through the site.

  • Village of Barrington (IDOT),
    $1,243,000 to improve the Village Center Streetscape including landscaping, lighting and sidewalks on Main Street and Hough Street at various locations.

  • Cook County Forest Preserve District (IDOT),
    $1,314,000 to construct the 5.6-mile Paul Douglas/Crabtree Bike Trail including a pedestrian overpass within the Paul Douglas and Crabtree Forest Preserves in Schaumburg, Palatine and South Barrington.


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