Indoor Riding Arena

Planning Project

St. James Farm: Indoor Riding Arena Improvements

(Completed fall 2018) — Residents and forest preserve patrons attended an open house to view proposed project designs for the St. James Farm Forest Preserve indoor arena on January 30, 2016. The designs were also available online for public comment. 

The indoor riding arena is located southeast of the preserve’s main parking lot off Winfield Road. 

Improvements to the indoor riding arena are part of the first phase of the St. James Farm Forest Preserve Master Plan, which the Board of Commissioners approved in 2010.

When completed, this project will not only help prolong the life of the arena and reduce future maintenance but also bring the building up to code for public use for proposed activities such as horse shows, exhibitions, riding clinics and classes, therapeutic riding programs, plant sales, indoor archery events, and meetings and receptions.

Proposed improvements include upgrades to the HVAC, electrical, and lighting systems, the installation of fire alarms and sprinklers, and modifications to doors, windows and skylights. They also include the construction of an addition with restrooms, a reception area, and multipurpose room with counters and cabinets. Exterior work will accommodate access for emergency services and modifications to the existing trail and paving to better use the open space around the indoor arena. The project will also address any stabilization or other issues that were identified in a pre-design assessment.

St. James Farm Forest Preserve is currently on well and septic, but the Forest Preserve District is working with an engineering firm on a separate project to bring city sewer and water to the site, which the District will connect at the indoor riding arena.



The Forest Preserve District hired Cordogan Clark & Associates Inc. of Aurora, Illinois, to assess the current condition of the building and develop a project design. The Board of Commissioners approved a contract for improvements to the indoor arena in October 2017. Construction began in October and is expected to be complete in 2018.  



Approximately $3.1 million from construction and development funds and the St. James Farm McCormick Endowment funds are budgeted for the design, permitting and construction of this project.