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FPDWC Wins National Award for Spring Creek Greenway Master Plan
Mar 20, 2011
The Citizen (FPDWC)
Pertains to Spring Creek Greenway, New Lenox, Homer Glen, Joliet, Mokena, Joliet, Veterans Tollway/I-355
The American Planning Association (APA) has selected the Forest Preserve District of Will County's Spring Creek Greenway Master Plan to receive the 2011 National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation.

This award recognizes a project that demonstrates a significant achievement for an area—single community or a region—in accomplishing positive changes as a result of planning. The award emphasizes long-term, measurable results that have been in continuous effect for at least five years.

The Spring Creek Greenway Master Plan is one of the county's most complex and ambitious restoration projects ever attempted, both in the scale of the restoration and the complexity involved in coordinating project grants and various partners. Through the plan, more than 800 acres of wetlands have been restored or are under restoration. About 139 acres of uplands have been restored, and 33,000 native trees and shrubs are being planted. The
Greenway also helps protect a shallow aquifer that provides a significant portion of the City of Joliet's water supply. Development of an eight-mile multi-use trail opens up more than 1,900 acres of open space for public enjoyment in one of the most rapidly developing portions of Will County.

The Forest Preserve's Planning Department had to work with and leverage diverse partnerships to secure funding necessary to implement the plan. Key to the success of the partnerships was the project's ability to meet the objectives of other public bodies while still achieving the District's restoration and recreation goals. By obligating more than $2 million through a public referendum towards the project, the District was able to raise an additional $10 million in grants and contributions from a variety of partners, including the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, the O'Hare Modernization Mitigation Account, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Openlands, the City of Joliet and the Village of New Lenox.

"The Forest Preserve District Planning Department developed a plan that stirred the imagination of others, but they had to work hard and be even more creative to get it funded and implemented," said Marie L. York, 2011 National Planning Awards Jury Chair and APA Board member. "The District created a partnership synergy where the more partners a project has, the more attractive it is to new partners. The
result is a wonderful green space for the surrounding community."

The success of the Greenway means the Forest Preserve District has been able to provide educational opportunities, improved public access to the Greenway, protection and restoration of natural resources, and the establishment of regional partnerships. "This is a great honor to be selected by the American Planning Association for this award," said Forest Preserve Board of Commissioners President Cory S. Singer. "The scope of the Spring Creek Greenway restoration project was only possible because of the contributions by our many partners. Such a large coalition of agencies coming together to preserve and restore hundreds of acres was a rare and wonderful accomplishment."

"The Spring Creek Greenway, created by years of property acquisitions, stands as an oasis of preserved open space in the urbanized New Lenox, Homer Glen, Joliet and Mokena areas," said Marcella DeMauro, Executive Director of the Forest Preserve District of Will County. "We were pleased to bring our expertise to restore the different habitat types that this land originally held. The Master Plan brought together recreational opportunities with the primary focus of restoration to provide a beautiful, ecologically diverse landscape that can be enjoyed by Will County residents."

The Implementation Award for the Spring Creek Greenway Master Plan will be presented at a special awards luncheon at APA's National Planning Conference in Boston on April 11, 2011. In addition, it will be featured in an upcoming issue of Planning magazine, APA's flagship publication.
The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning—physical, economic and social—to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives.

For a list of all of the APA 2011 National Planning Excellence, Achievement, and Leadership Award recipients, visit www.planning.org/awards/2011. The national awards program was established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.

   
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