DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District is again pursuing extending the Nature Trail through the development known as Irongate, owned by the Shodeen Group, a local development company.
Shodeen, a Geneva-based developer, owns the 458-acre property approved for development by the city council in 2013. The land is adjacent to DeKalb High School on Dresser Road, and runs along nearby First Street and down Bethany Road. Returning to a conversation initiated in 2013, the park district is again working with Shodeen to approve extending the trail.
“[The Irongate plan] actually calls for an extension of the Nature Trail from where it ends at First Street,” the park district’s executive director, Amy Doll, said.
The district’s Board of Directors met Thursday night to discuss ongoing conversations with Shodeen. Doll said the trail extension is planned to go from First Street and run under the power line until it gets to Bethany Road, and then connect at Sangamon Road near Brooks Elementary School, 3225 Sangamon Road.
“The plans obviously called for that, but nothing has happened with the development,” Doll said.
The district reached out to the developer last fall to see if it would be interested in a plat of easement for the trail. According to Doll, Shodeen expressed interest in the idea, and the district reviewed the latest correspondence Thursday.
Part of Shodeen’s suggested course of action forward – the same course of action it suggested in 2013 when conversations first occurred – was that the park district take over operations of a 2.4-acre parcel of land at the corner of Dresser and Normal roads.
“We don’t want that land,” Park Board President Phil Young said. “It is sort of a flood plain area, and it makes no sense to have a park at the corner of a major intersection.”
Young was quick to point out that Shodeen’s suggestion for the district to take over the land is not a dealbreaker as to whether the nature trail can be extended.
“We directed [Doll] to go ahead and engage in further talks with Shodeen,” he said.