Danada Visitors Enhancements

Project History 

When the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s headquarters was built nearly a decade ago, there wasn’t an opportunity to fully complete all of the landscaping, trails and visitor enhancements envisioned for the site. The District proposed implementing additional accessories, trails and landscaping as part of the overall master plan for the facility.

The first phase in 2005 included adding a limestone trail connection, interpretive signs, specimen native planting beds and a limestone council ring in a picnic area adjacent to the Danada/Herrick Lake regional trail behind the headquarters. This area has become a wayside rest area for trail users.

Over the years trail connectivity has become an issue at the headquarters building, which also serves as a trailhead for visitors to the Danada Forest Preserve.  Pedestrians and bicyclists had to travel through the existing parking lot aisles to access the regional trail, which increases pedestrian/vehicular conflicts.

Planning for Phase II improvements began in 2009 and were implemented over the last few years.

Project Overview 

As a leader in environmental education and sustainability, the District desires to promote ‘green’ sustainable site design by implementing more Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater management. These new BMPs further complement the existing wet detention basin, vegetative swales and native landscaping on site and help reduce runoff and improve water quality by filtering out impurities before being recharged back into the ground. It gives the District the opportunity to improve the safety and comfort of its visitors, provide a more pleasurable experience for preserve users and interpret the architectural design of the building and the surrounding landscape via an interpretive trail.

Phase II improvements include the installation of permeable pavers, rain gardens, bio-swales, native plantings and permeable surfacing in the parking lots islands.In addition, an asphalt trail connection from Naperville Road to the regional trail was installed to improve safety for trailer users. Further, trail amenities such as bike racks and interpretive signage have been added. Topics and features for interpretation include the function and benefits of rain gardens, the process of filtering runoff using bio-swales, and the benefits of using native plants.

Project Funding 

Funding for this project comes from yearly appropriated Construction & Development funds. A total of $550,000 was allocated for this project, which covered all design, permitting and construction costs.

Current Status 

Permeable pavers, native plantings and other permeable surfacing have been installed around the District Headquarters building and parking areas between 2009 and 2014. The asphalt trail link was installed in fall 2015. Additional turf trails will be added in Spring 2017.

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