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Lake County Forest to vote on $3.2M land purchase Tuesday

The Lake County Forest Preserve is slated approve $3.2 millilpurchases which would include 36-acre additiPine Dunes Forest Preserve thwould provide

The Lake County Forest Preserve is slated to a approve $3.2 million in land purchases, which would include a 36-acre addition to the Pine Dunes Forest Preserve that would provide a connection on the planned 35-mile Millennium Trail. | File

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Updated: February 11, 2014 6:27AM

The Lake County Forest Preserve District board is mulling the purchase of nearly 100 additional acres in Newport and Lake Villa townships at a total cost of approximately $3.2 million.

If approved, the purchases will be funded from the 2008 referendum bonds and are included in the adopted fiscal year 2013-14 budget.

The forest preserve board is expected to finalize the purchases on Tuesday, Jan. 14. The Land Preservation and Acquisition Committee gave first approval on Monday, Jan. 6, and forwarded its recommendation to the Finance and Administrative Committee, which approved the purchases on Thursday, Jan. 9.

The 36-acre addition to the Pine Dunes Forest Preserve on the north side of Route 173 west of Hunt Club Road will provide another connection on the planned 35-mile Millennium Trail.

First opened in 2002, the Millennium Trail today spans more than 25 miles and is open to hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers. The trail will eventually link to the northern section of the Des Plaines River Trail and the North Shore Bike Path.

Currently, Pine Dunes Forest Preserve features a small, mowed parking area on Edwards Road, which provides access to a small fishing pond on the preserve, Interim Director of Land Preservation and Special Projects Mike Tully said.

The owner of the vacant property and the district negotiated a $31,000 an acre purchase price for a total cost of $1.1 million.

Also under consideration is the purchase of a pair of properties that lie in between the disconnected sections in the 155-acre Blue Bird Meadow Forest Preserve, located on the east side of Illinois Route 59 between Petite Lake and Town Line roads.

The two new parcels combined total approximately 62 acres.

The purchase agreement on the Blue Bird land also includes the establishment of a life estate for the three couples that now live on the property. The life estate will allow those couples, who range in age from 90 to 57, to remain on the land for the rest of their lives.

“It is a fairly common practice,” Tully said.

The Blue Bird land cost the district $33,000 an acre for a total purchase price of approximately $2 million.

“Blue Bird Meadow is currently undeveloped open space with no public access or facilities,” Tully said.

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