Hidden Lake Parking Lot and Trail Improvements

Overview

As part of the project, the one-mile Round Meadow Lake trail will be completed. A 36-car paved parking lot will be constructed to replace the existing gravel area. The new lot will serve as a trailhead not only for the Round Meadow Lake trail but also for the existing 0.75-mile Eagle Lake trail. The project also includes the installation of a 6-foot-wide by 80-foot-long pedestrian bridge that will span a channel near Round Meadow Lake’s southeast corner. The bridge is one of two pre-fabricated steel bridges donated to the District by the village of Addison.

History

In 1986, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County entered into an agreement with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority regarding various issues associated with constructing the Veterans’ Memorial Tollway (I-355). One component of this agreement allowed ISTHA to set up a temporary sand-and-gravel mining operation on District property at the southeast corner of Illinois Routes 53 and 56 (Butterfield Road), adjacent to the East Branch of the DuPage River. In return for the value of the excavated sand, gravel and cobble that were processed into engineered materials for roadbed aggregates, ISTHA created a17-acre recreational lake in accordance with a grading plan provided by the District. Today, the lake is known as Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake Forest Preserve in Downers Grove.

For many years, public access to this lake was limited by a small gravel parking lot located near its south end.

Originally, a plan for site improvements called for the construction of two parking lots and a trail around the lake. However, floodplain permitting issues required that improvements be made in two phases. As part of the project’s first phase in 2002, the District constructed various improvements near the lake’s northwest corner including a paved entrance drive, a 50-car parking lot, public restrooms and a picnic area with a paved-loop trail.

Today, the Countywide Regulatory Flood Maps have been revised and reflect existing conditions at the site, opening the way for the second phase of the project.

Funding

The Forest Preserve District’s Board of Commissioners appropriated monies from the Fiscal Year 2004/2005 Construction & Development Fund for Hidden Lake’s Phase 2 improvements. These types of funds are supported by property taxes and are available for a 5-year period after initial approval. The improvements are estimated to be $400,000.

Status

With all required permits in hand, the District opened sealed bids for the second phase of the project in July 2008. Much of the work will be performed by a contractor. In addition, crews from the District’s Office of Land Management will construct a preserve-entrance sign and complete trail construction around the lake.

Construction on the south parking lot will begin by mid-August and is expected to near completion by the end of October. During construction, the south parking lot will be closed. However, the north parking area, picnic facilities and restrooms will remain open.

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