New Kendall County Forest Preserve president takes helm with major projects in the works

Kendall County Board member Brian DeBolt takes the oath of office from Judge Stephen Krentz on Dec. 5, 2022. DeBolt was subsequently elected by his peers as president of the Kendall County Forest Preserve District.

YORKVILLE – Brian DeBolt was dressed up in a dark suit for the swearing-in ceremony as the newly reelected Kendall County Board member took the oath of office Dec. 5.

But DeBolt isn’t really a suit-and-tie kind of guy. He would rather be wearing a leather jacket, work boots and a camouflage ball cap.

Immediately after he and his nine colleagues took the oath of office, the County Board elected DeBolt as the new president of the Kendall County Forest Preserve District, replacing Judy Gilmour of Yorkville, who did not run for reelection.

It’s a role for which DeBolt seems to be well-suited.

“I love the outdoors,” DeBolt said.

DeBolt, of Plano, has 40 years experience in the construction business and has been serving as chairman of the County Board’s facilities committee.

“My passion is making things safe for people and making things nice for people to enjoy,” DeBolt said.

As a well-known auctioneer with contacts throughout the county, DeBolt has a deep appreciation for the people and history of Kendall County.

He recently served as auctioneer for the sale of a large farm in Kendall County and likes to describe how the land had been in the same family for many generations.

DeBolt is coming away from an impressive Nov. 8 election win as the top vote-getter on the County Board.

Now, DeBolt takes the helm of a forest preserve district that is in the middle of major projects designed to provide recreational opportunities and nurture the natural areas of a rapidly growing county.

DeBolt cited the ongoing work to transform an architecturally stunning house in the Pickerill-Pigott Forest Preserve into a nature and events center for Kendall County residents to enjoy.

The property, donated to the forest preserve by the late Ken and Jackie Pickerill, is undergoing a $1.2 million renovation project.

The 1970s-era Pickerill home is secluded in a heavily wooded area on Minkler Road about halfway between Yorkville and Oswego.

Together with adjacent property purchased from the Pigott family, the Pickerill-Pigott Forest Preserve covers about 99 acres and is considered one of the forest preserve district’s premier properties.

DeBolt also points to the Subat Forest Preserve along Eldamain Road between Yorkville and Plano as another district property with major potential as it is being developed with trails and other amenities.

While the Kendall County Forest Preserve Commission is composed of the same 10 individuals making up the County Board, the two bodies are considered separate entities.

The county government and forest preserve district have their own budgets and tax levying powers.

DeBolt will be working closely with Dave Guritz, the forest preserve district’s director.

On the forest preserve commission, DeBolt will be assisted by County Board member Ruben Rodriguez of Yorkville, who was elected vice president.