Turns out I was only partially correct about hosting cross country meets at Kane County Forest Preserves

Christopher Cudworth photo

Like all half-assed journalists, I didn’t really confirm the facts about whether cross country meets will still be hosted at Kane County Forest Preserves.

After receiving a nicely worded email from Alan Edgecombe correcting me about the status of cross country meets at forest preserves, I emailed Monica Meyers, Executive Director of the Kane County Forest Preserve District, and she wrote me back, in simple and complete language.

“The District has not changed anything. Cross country scheduling is in full swing within our preserves throughout the county.”

That means regularly scheduled meets at most locations will likely go on as planned. In the case of the Leavey Invitational, it is moving to the new Settler’s Hill site.

About those facts, sorry folks, I was wrong!

Changing management plans

The part about which I was correct on cross country meets being held at area forest preserves is that some are being managed with an emphasis on restoring natural areas rather than mowing everything in sight. Even old golf courses are being repurposed, as indicated by this excerpt from the KCFPD Minutes:

The board conducted a tour of several district properties, concluding with a visit to the former Deer Valley Golf Course. “The fifth and final site was the Deer Valley Golf Course. This site was recently closed, and is currently being transferred, back to a natural state. This site consists of the clubhouse, machine shed, and a small out-building. The Sub-Committee has determined that the club house may be of some value and would like to have this structure advertised to be sold and moved by the purchaser. The Sub-Committee has determined that the remaining out-buildings do not serve as viable assets to the District, and recommends the structures be removed.”

The lesson here is that “change happens.” The other lesson is that partial sentimentalists like me should not be so fast to jump on a rumor rather than checking our facts first.

New facilities

As for the course at Settler’s Hill, Al Edgecombe provided some nice information about the value of that new facility:

“We do believe that for many schools, the Northwestern Medicine Course will be a very good and cost-effective option.  Also, regarding the amount of money spent on the Course, let me point out that no tax dollars were spent on the Course. The Settlers Hill landfill closed in 2006, and dumping fees that had been collected for 30 years had accumulated in a fund that could only be used for restoration of the site to a recreational use.  In 2011, Kane County put out a call for proposals on how to use the site.  My organization, the Chicago Area Track & Field Organizing Committee (CATFOC), was one of about a half dozen organizations that came forward with ideas.  Over the next several years, all of the other ideas were deemed infeasible, and CATFOC moved forward with the county to build a championship-caliber cross country course for the local middle schools, high schools, and colleges. The Course will be open to the general public when meets are not being held.  The Course includes options for 2 km, 3 km, 4 km, 3 miles, 5 km, 6 km, 8 km, and 10 km.  The Course has been built to the specifications required for NCAA and USATF championship events, and will serve very nicely for large high school invitationals like the ones held at Detweiler Park in Peoria every Fall.”

Christopher Cudworth Photo

I’m still a fan of cross country and look forward to attending meets at Settler’s Hill. There are few more inspiring sights than a pack of runners launching from the starting line, or seeing dozens of kids finishing their race no matter what place they achieved.

Proposed: Rejected

I’ll close with a sort of backwards commentary on the proposal I submitted to the Kane County Forest Preserve District at the behest of a former administrator. It was reviewed and deemed unfeasible in the face of resistance to cyclists using the Settler’s Hill property due to perceived disturbances by mountain bikers making trails in the far-eastern section of Fabyan Forest Preserve. That plot of woods backs up to homes built on the former site of an institutional home facing Route 25 in Geneva. The mountain bikers built jumps and trails in the preserve perhaps without permission, and their presence also angered residents who might have felt their privacy was being invaded.

At any rate, without that knowledge, I’d proposed a cycling facility to be sited at Settler’s Hill. I still think it’s a good idea. But it’s one that will never likely take place.

Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center

Settler’s Hill, Kane County Illinois

Christopher Cudworth photo

PROPOSAL

Establish a recreational and competitive cycling facility utilizing the unique topography of the landfill property at Settler’s Hill in Geneva, Illinois. The purpose is to provide a magnet facility for cyclists in the Greater Chicago region and Midwest.

Site Benefits:

Settler’s Hill is a valuable and somewhat commodity for Midwest Cyclists with its potential for elevation-oriented roads and the climbing pattern possible. Plus, the opportunity to provide isolated, traffic free training and racing over the large potential acreage on the property is unique in the region. It is also accessible by bike from the Metra Train Station in Geneva, enabling Chicago and suburban cyclists to reach the site with ease through public transportation.

Benefits of a Cycling Focus:

In terms of recreational and competitive facilities in the Chicago market, there are only two principle cycling-dedicated locations. The Village of Northbrook has the track known as the Velodrome while the region around Palos Hills hosts mountain biking single tracks. Neither of these serve a very large and active market of road cyclists seeking challenging yet safe competitive opportunities. There is no single self-contained cycling center in Northeastern Illinois.

The Cycling Market

Cycling in the Chicago region is an immensely popular activity, reflected in the commercial market for bikes in this region. According to the website ChicagoBikeShops.com, there are more than 200 bicycle shops in the Chicago market. In fact, the far western suburbs within 25 miles of Geneva, Illinois hosts more than 50 bike shops. In the Tri-Cities market alone there are 15 bike shops. These commercial businesses serve a diverse cycling community of recreational, serious, competitive and professional bike riders. The global bike company SRAM also has its headquarters in the Chicago market.

Community involvement

In the Tri-Cities market, bike racing has also hosted events of considerable scale, bringing thousands of participants and fans to communities such as Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles. Bicycle Heaven in Geneva and Mill Race Cycle in Geneva has both hosted national scale bike races attracting international fields. Sammy’s Bike Shop in St. Charles has also hosted large-scale multi-category bike racing for women and men. Athletes By Design in Wheaton and Batavia hosts multiple cycling criteriums, road races and time trials in events held in Batavia, Winfield, Itasca and rural areas where true road races can be staged. All these these events enjoy popularity but do require substantial logistical support including street closures, police support and other community resources.

The Pelladrome        

However, within two miles of the existing Settler’s Hill landfill facility, there is a site where bike racing is conducted weekly from April through September. The course is set up on the roads of an underdeveloped industrial center behind the Pella Windows manufacturing facility on Fabyan Parkway one mile east of Kirk Road. This three-quarter mile loop of underutilized industrial streets is where Prairie Path Cycles (Batavia/Wheaton stores) and Athletes By Design cycling team host weekly criterium bike racing. These events are conducted under the legal management of American Bike Racing and attract more than 200 athletes (male and female) in racing Categories from novice (CAT 5) to Category 1 and 2 cyclists training for national competitions.

The “Pelladrome” as it has been named has been in operation for more than seven years and attracts cyclists from throughout the Chicago region. Thus there is an established tradition and market for cyclists to visit the western suburbs for bike racing.

Settler’s Hill Location

The existing market for bike racing and training is further supported by Kane County’s unique location at the western edge of the Chicago. Hundreds of recreational and serious cyclists use the existing Fox River Trail system for training and fitness riding. This trail is already connected to the Settler’s Hill site by a full bike lane along Fabyan Parkway.

Kane County’s existing current land us offers a developed eastern corridor and open territory (agriculture and low density housing) west of Randall Road. This plan allows for the country plan for access to suburban populations yet provide access to desirable bike trails and country roads where cyclists prefer to train.

Settler’s Hill site

The site itself at Settler’s Hill with its prominent rise in topography and planned running trails is ideal for a collaborative use for cycling and running. Hill training and racing opportunities are rare in the Chicago area. This makes Settler’s Hill an exceptional attraction for cyclists and fitness enthusiasts of many types.

The Settler’s Hill site offers the unique opportunity to install both perimeter and “peak” trails. Asphalt trails would provide road cyclists a “safe haven” for training and criterium work. The opportunity to install a profit center facility to serve food and drinks, sell cycling supplies and provide a mechanical support service could be established as part of a cycling consortium with area bike shops.

Recreation Categories

In addition to cycling, the Settler’s Hill site could provide designated hours for recreational walkers and runners to use the cycling roads. In winter these same paths could be groomed for cross country skiing without adverse impact on the installed roads or facilities. Forest preserves such as Herrick Lake in DuPage County and Arrowhead Golf Course already offer cross country skiing. But none have the challenging topography of the potential Settler’s Hill property.

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

OF THE SETTLER’S HILL CYCLING OPERATION

Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center (Proposed title)

Creates a “destination” site for recreational activities

Serves as a direct revenue source through fees and membership

Generate revenue through on-site retail and rental

Invite sponsorship revenue from area businesses

Drive event and ticket sale revenue from March-November

Taxpayer Offsets

Property becomes self-sustaining profit center

Reduced usage fees for Kane Country residents/registrants

Funding can be pursued from bike advocacy groups

Corporate naming rights

Summary

The purpose of the Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center would be to provide an exceptional recreational facility that serves as a return on investment to Kane County Residents. It’s goal is to create opportunities for safe and unique cycling experiences for racers and recreational riders throughout the Midwest.

Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center

Settler’s Hill, Kane County Illinois

PROPOSAL

Establish a recreational and competitive cycling facility utilizing the unique topography of the landfill property at Settler’s Hill in Geneva, Illinois. The purpose is to provide a magnet facility for cyclists in the Greater Chicago region and Midwest.

Site Benefits:

Settler’s Hill is a valuable and somewhat commodity for Midwest Cyclists with its potential for elevation-oriented roads and the climbing pattern possible. Plus, the opportunity to provide isolated, traffic free training and racing over the large potential acreage on the property is unique in the region. It is also accessible by bike from the Metra Train Station in Geneva, enabling Chicago and suburban cyclists to reach the site with ease through public transportation.

Benefits of a Cycling Focus:

In terms of recreational and competitive facilities in the Chicago market, there are only two principle cycling-dedicated locations. The Village of Northbrook has the track known as the Velodrome while the region around Palos Hills hosts mountain biking single tracks. Neither of these serve a very large and active market of road cyclists seeking challenging yet safe competitive opportunities. There is no single self-contained cycling center in Northeastern Illinois.

The Cycling Market

Cycling in the Chicago region is an immensely popular activity, reflected in the commercial market for bikes in this region. According to the website ChicagoBikeShops.com, there are more than 200 bicycle shops in the Chicago market. In fact, the far western suburbs within 25 miles of Geneva, Illinois hosts more than 50 bike shops. In the Tri-Cities market alone there are 15 bike shops. These commercial businesses serve a diverse cycling community of recreational, serious, competitive and professional bike riders. The global bike company SRAM also has its headquarters in the Chicago market.

Community involvement

In the Tri-Cities market, bike racing has also hosted events of considerable scale, bringing thousands of participants and fans to communities such as Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles. Bicycle Heaven in Geneva and Mill Race Cycle in Geneva has both hosted national scale bike races attracting international fields. Sammy’s Bike Shop in St. Charles has also hosted large-scale multi-category bike racing for women and men. Athletes By Design in Wheaton and Batavia hosts multiple cycling criteriums, road races and time trials in events held in Batavia, Winfield, Itasca and rural areas where true road races can be staged. All these these events enjoy popularity but do require substantial logistical support including street closures, police support and other community resources.

The Pelladrome        

However, within two miles of the existing Settler’s Hill landfill facility, there is a site where bike racing is conducted weekly from April through September. The course is set up on the roads of an underdeveloped industrial center behind the Pella Windows manufacturing facility on Fabyan Parkway one mile east of Kirk Road. This three-quarter mile loop of underutilized industrial streets is where Prairie Path Cycles (Batavia/Wheaton stores) and Athletes By Design cycling team host weekly criterium bike racing. These events are conducted under the legal management of American Bike Racing and attract more than 200 athletes (male and female) in racing Categories from novice (CAT 5) to Category 1 and 2 cyclists training for national competitions.

The “Pelladrome” as it has been named has been in operation for more than seven years and attracts cyclists from throughout the Chicago region. Thus there is an established tradition and market for cyclists to visit the western suburbs for bike racing.

Settler’s Hill Location

The existing market for bike racing and training is further supported by Kane County’s unique location at the western edge of the Chicago. Hundreds of recreational and serious cyclists use the existing Fox River Trail system for training and fitness riding. This trail is already connected to the Settler’s Hill site by a full bike lane along Fabyan Parkway.

Kane County’s existing current land us offers a developed eastern corridor and open territory (agriculture and low density housing) west of Randall Road. This plan allows for the country plan for access to suburban populations yet provide access to desirable bike trails and country roads where cyclists prefer to train.

Settler’s Hill site

The site itself at Settler’s Hill with its prominent rise in topography and planned running trails is ideal for a collaborative use for cycling and running. Hill training and racing opportunities are rare in the Chicago area. This makes Settler’s Hill an exceptional attraction for cyclists and fitness enthusiasts of many types.

The Settler’s Hill site offers the unique opportunity to install both perimeter and “peak” trails. Asphalt trails would provide road cyclists a “safe haven” for training and criterium work. The opportunity to install a profit center facility to serve food and drinks, sell cycling supplies and provide a mechanical support service could be established as part of a cycling consortium with area bike shops.

Recreation Categories

In addition to cycling, the Settler’s Hill site could provide designated hours for recreational walkers and runners to use the cycling roads. In winter these same paths could be groomed for cross country skiing without adverse impact on the installed roads or facilities. Forest preserves such as Herrick Lake in DuPage County and Arrowhead Golf Course already offer cross country skiing. But none have the challenging topography of the potential Settler’s Hill property.

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

OF THE SETTLER’S HILL CYCLING OPERATION

Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center (Proposed title)

Creates a “destination” site for recreational activities

Serves as a direct revenue source through fees and membership

Generate revenue through on-site retail and rental

Invite sponsorship revenue from area businesses

Drive event and ticket sale revenue from March-November

Taxpayer Offsets

Property becomes self-sustaining profit center

Reduced usage fees for Kane Country residents/registrants

Funding can be pursued from bike advocacy groups

Corporate naming rights

Summary

The purpose of the Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center would be to provide an exceptional recreational facility that serves as a return on investment to Kane County Residents. It’s goal is to create opportunities for safe and unique cycling experiences for racers and recreational riders throughout the Midwest.

Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center

Settler’s Hill, Kane County Illinois

PROPOSAL

Establish a recreational and competitive cycling facility utilizing the unique topography of the landfill property at Settler’s Hill in Geneva, Illinois. The purpose is to provide a magnet facility for cyclists in the Greater Chicago region and Midwest. 

Site Benefits: 

Settler’s Hill is a valuable and somewhat commodity for Midwest Cyclists with its potential for elevation-oriented roads and the climbing pattern possible. Plus, the opportunity to provide isolated, traffic free training and racing over the large potential acreage on the property is unique in the region. It is also accessible by bike from the Metra Train Station in Geneva, enabling Chicago and suburban cyclists to reach the site with ease through public transportation. 

Benefits of a Cycling Focus:

In terms of recreational and competitive facilities in the Chicago market, there are only two principle cycling-dedicated locations. The Village of Northbrook has the track known as the Velodrome while the region around Palos Hills hosts mountain biking single tracks. Neither of these serve a very large and active market of road cyclists seeking challenging yet safe competitive opportunities. There is no single self-contained cycling center in Northeastern Illinois. 

The Cycling Market

Cycling in the Chicago region is an immensely popular activity, reflected in the commercial market for bikes in this region. According to the website ChicagoBikeShops.com, there are more than 200 bicycle shops in the Chicago market. In fact, the far western suburbs within 25 miles of Geneva, Illinois hosts more than 50 bike shops. In the Tri-Cities market alone there are 15 bike shops. These commercial businesses serve a diverse cycling community of recreational, serious, competitive and professional bike riders. The global bike company SRAM also has its headquarters in the Chicago market. 

Community involvement

In the Tri-Cities market, bike racing has also hosted events of considerable scale, bringing thousands of participants and fans to communities such as Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles. Bicycle Heaven in Geneva and Mill Race Cycle in Geneva has both hosted national scale bike races attracting international fields. Sammy’s Bike Shop in St. Charles has also hosted large-scale multi-category bike racing for women and men. Athletes By Design in Wheaton and Batavia hosts multiple cycling criteriums, road races and time trials in events held in Batavia, Winfield, Itasca and rural areas where true road races can be staged. All these these events enjoy popularity but do require substantial logistical support including street closures, police support and other community resources. 

The Pelladrome

However, within two miles of the existing Settler’s Hill landfill facility, there is a site where bike racing is conducted weekly from April through September. The course is set up on the roads of an underdeveloped industrial center behind the Pella Windows manufacturing facility on Fabyan Parkway one mile east of Kirk Road. This three-quarter mile loop of underutilized industrial streets is where Prairie Path Cycles (Batavia/Wheaton stores) and Athletes By Design cycling team host weekly criterium bike racing. These events are conducted under the legal management of American Bike Racing and attract more than 200 athletes (male and female) in racing Categories from novice (CAT 5) to Category 1 and 2 cyclists training for national competitions. 

The “Pelladrome” as it has been named has been in operation for more than seven years and attracts cyclists from throughout the Chicago region. Thus there is an established tradition and market for cyclists to visit the western suburbs for bike racing. 

Settler’s Hill Location

The existing market for bike racing and training is further supported by Kane County’s unique location at the western edge of the Chicago. Hundreds of recreational and serious cyclists use the existing Fox River Trail system for training and fitness riding. This trail is already connected to the Settler’s Hill site by a full bike lane along Fabyan Parkway. 

Kane County’s existing current land us offers a developed eastern corridor and open territory (agriculture and low density housing) west of Randall Road. This plan allows for the country plan for access to suburban populations yet provide access to desirable bike trails and country roads where cyclists prefer to train. 

Settler’s Hill site

The site itself at Settler’s Hill with its prominent rise in topography and planned running trails is ideal for a collaborative use for cycling and running. Hill training and racing opportunities are rare in the Chicago area. This makes Settler’s Hill an exceptional attraction for cyclists and fitness enthusiasts of many types. 

The Settler’s Hill site offers the unique opportunity to install both perimeter and “peak” trails. Asphalt trails would provide road cyclists a “safe haven” for training and criterium work. The opportunity to install a profit center facility to serve food and drinks, sell cycling supplies and provide a mechanical support service could be established as part of a cycling consortium with area bike shops.

Recreation Categories

In addition to cycling, the Settler’s Hill site could provide designated hours for recreational walkers and runners to use the cycling roads. In winter these same paths could be groomed for cross country skiing without adverse impact on the installed roads or facilities. Forest preserves such as Herrick Lake in DuPage County and Arrowhead Golf Course already offer cross country skiing. But none have the challenging topography of the potential Settler’s Hill property. 

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

OF THE SETTLER’S HILL CYCLING OPERATION

Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center (Proposed title)

Creates a “destination” site for recreational activities

Serves as a direct revenue source through fees and membership

Generate revenue through on-site retail and rental

Invite sponsorship revenue from area businesses

Drive event and ticket sale revenue from March-November

Taxpayer Offsets

Property becomes self-sustaining profit center

Reduced usage fees for Kane Country residents/registrants

Funding can be pursued from bike advocacy groups

Corporate naming rights

Summary

The purpose of the Midwest Cycling and Recreation Center would be to provide an exceptional recreational facility that serves as a return on investment to Kane County Residents. It’s goal is to create opportunities for safe and unique cycling experiences for racers and recreational riders throughout the Midwest. 

About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at werunandride.com, therightkindofpride.com and genesisfix.wordpress.com Online portfolio: http://www.behance.net/christophercudworth
This entry was posted in cross country, cycling, cycling the midwest, werunandride and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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