Will County Forest Preserve board votes to acquire Bolingbrook nature center

The Bolingbrook Park District board also needs to OK the sale

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The Will County Forest Preserve District board voted last week to acquire the Hidden Oaks Nature Center and Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm site in Bolingbrook.

If the Bolingbrook Park District board approves the sale on Nov. 18, the Forest Preserve will take ownership on Jan. 1, according to a news release.

The 30-acre parcel is located south of the Forest Preserve’s 249-acre Whalon Lake preserve. A DuPage River trail bridge connects the two sites.

“Purchasing the Hidden Oaks Nature Center allows the Forest Preserve to expand its nature education and recreational programming into the communities of Bolingbrook and Naperville,” Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve District’s executive director, said in a statement.

Schultz added that the properties will provide dozens of program opportunities.

The Bolingbrook Park District was looking to reduce long-term bond and interest debt last year when it approached the Forest Preserve with the idea of selling the property. The sale of the site would guarantee that Hidden Oaks and Hidden Lakes will be preserved and kept open for public use by a larger organizations with more resources.

“Bolingbrook Park District is excited to be working with the Forest Preserve District of Will County on this transfer of property,” Bolingbrook Park District Executive Director Ron Oestreich said in a statement. “There are so many benefits of this for our community. We know the Forest Preserve will take what we started and enhance it for our residents for years to come!”