The local housing market is one of the last sectors of the economy to recover.
While that fact has negative repercussions throughout the economy, it is a positive for Naperville area groups interested in acquiring land to preserve as green space.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is one of the Chicago-area organizations able to capitalize on low prices and acquire more land.
“In recent years I think we’ve acquired somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 acres, which is about 10-12% of the landmass that we currently own,” said D. Dewey Pierotti, President of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
District executives say acquiring the land is a lot easier today than it has been in the past.
“What was happening years ago was we were knocking on doors saying ‘we’re interested in buying your property,’” Said Pierotti. “Now we’re actually having people come to us. So that’s why there’s been a big influx in property.”
That means the district has purchased property that planners might not have considered in past.
“If someone comes to us and has a piece of property that really fits in our total master plan, certainly we’re going to look at it,” said Pierotti. “If it fits in our needs then certainly we’re going to buy it.”
Naperville residents like Ruth Kowal were thrilled when the District snapped up the Country Lakes property near her home.
“Open space just makes people happy,” she said.
“Personally I can’t see any negatives having the Forest Preserve as your neighbor,” said Pierotti. “We’re not going to be obtrusive, we’re not going to have loud parties, and we’re not going to be building anything.”
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County doesn’t give out specifics, but planners do intend to add more open space to the county in the future.
In 2006, DuPage County voters approved a bond sale that provided the Forest Preserve District with $68 million for land acquisition and natural area habitat restoration.
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