Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Courier reports that Dupage County Forest Preserves has acquired the "last huge open space" in Dupage County.
The district had just authorized a $25 million purchase of 377 highly-coveted acres in the western DuPage town of Wayne for open space. It took more than seven years to agree on a price and seal the deal, a process which was described by various people Tuesday as "contentious," "cantankerous" and "a long, arduous task."
They stuck to it through seven years. It's hard to imagine Kane doing that. Why? Because the Dupage County Forest Preserve District is independent of the Dupage County Board. That's why they're so good at doing what they do (Read my old article about Dupage County Forest Preserves). The Kane County Forest Preserve District, on the other hand, is run by the County Board. We've got the foxes in charge of the hen house. It' s not an ideal situation by any means. You should read some of the literature that has gone out under their seal. It's totally antithetical to conservation.

Preservation of land around here is important for many reasons I've outlined before. So I won't repeat them. But if you read one of my recent entries where I linked to Richard Florida's article on the "creative class", and followed the link, you might have noticed a couple of paragraphs:
leading creative centers provide a solid mix of high-tech industry, plentiful outdoor amenities, and an older urban center whose rebirth has been fueled in part by a combination of creativity and innovative technology, as well as lifestyle amenities

Creative class people value active outdoor recreation very highly. They are drawn to places and communities where many outdoor activities are prevalent---both because they enjoy these activities and because their presence is seen as a signal that the place is amenable to the broader creative lifestyle. The creative-class people in my studies are into a variety of active sports, from traditional ones like bicycling, jogging, and kayaking to newer, more extreme ones, like trail running and snowboarding.
There you have it. Elgin's renaissance is indissolubly linked to Kane County Forest Preserves. We need to agitate for the independence of the forest preserve district.

Follow Dupage's example:
Since December 2002, when the Commission was restructed, the Forest Preserve District has been governed by a seven-member board. One member is elected from each of the six county districts to a staggered four-year term. The seventh Commissioner, the president, is elected by the county at large by popular vote.


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