Kendall County Forest Preserve approves design work for $1.4 million Subat Nature Center project

Concept plan for proposed improvements to the entry area for the Subat Wood Forest Preserve off Eldamain Road near Plano. (Provided by the Kendall County Forest Preserve District)

The Kendall County Forest Preserve District is moving ahead with plans to build a three-season nature center and make other improvements in the Subat Forest Preserve between Yorkville and Plano.

The $1.4 million project includes a multi-use trail, reconfigured parking area, access improvements and the Subat Nature Center pavilion.

The forest preserve district’s commission, comprised of the 10 members of the Kendall County Board, on July 18 approved a $219,000 contract with Kluber Architects and Engineers of Aurora to design the project.

Located along the west side of Eldamain Road between Schaefer Road on the north and River Road on the south, the Subat Forest Preserve covers 71 acres. Natural areas include oak-hickory forest, restored prairie and both marsh and fen wetland areas.

The preserve’s fen is identified as an important site within the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, forest preserve Director Dave Guritz said.

Rob Roy Creek meanders through the northern section of the preserve.

The three-season Subat Nature Center pavilion will showcase educational exhibits and provide site interpretation focused on the preserve’s wildlife and habitat areas, Guritz said.

Access to the preserve is from Eldamain Road. With the opening of the Eldamain Road bridge May 31, the preserve is now more accessible than ever.

The parking area will be reconfigured to accommodate school buses and a wetland boardwalk is to be constructed under the plan.

A multi-use trail connection to Hoover Forest Preserve on the south side of the Fox River will be established by way of the new bridge.

Under its contract with the forest preserve district, Kluber will complete architectural and engineering plans for the project and create construction bid documents.

Work on the project is expected to get underway in spring 2024.

Funding for the project comes from an $800,000 bequest by the late John and Mary Subat, from whom the forest preserve district purchased the property in 2001, along with a $600,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the Subat Forest Preserve located between Yorkville and Plano.

A separate portion of the property was donated to the district by The Conservation Foundation.

Forest Preserve District President Brian DeBolt said participation by local community leaders and residents in the creation of the preserve’s master plan, along with letters of support, were critical to obtaining the grant money.

DeBolt credited Kendall County, The Conservation Foundation, the Forest Foundation of Kendall County, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the city of Yorkville for making the project possible.

Site plan for proposed improvements to the Subat Wood Forest Preserve located along the west side of Eldamain Road between River Road and Schaefer Road near Plano. (Provided by the Kendall County Forest Preserve District)