ST. CHARLES – The former home of the nature center – now at LeRoy Oakes in St. Charles – is slated to be torn down, along with a slew of other old or unused forest preserve buildings, a county official said Wednesday.
John Goreth, director of operations for the Kane County Forest Preserve, said the building demolitions are part of a routine annual process, and the county budgeted about $250,000 for this year’s project.
The Creek Bend Nature Center had been housed at Tekakwitha Woods before it moved to LeRoy Oakes in the fall of 2012. That left the building vacant at Tekakwitha Woods, Goreth said, and demolition of that building, along with another building at that site, are part of the final phase of the project.
A South Elgin resident, Mark Bohne, said he was surprised to see the building at Tekakwitha Woods being torn down because he said it had some historical significance.
“It’s just a unique building,” he said. “It has ties to the original previous use of that property. Kane County has effectively erased the history of that property.”
Along with two buildings at Tekakwitha Woods, Goreth said three buildings – a few older cabins and an old cinderblock restroom – were taken down at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve in St. Charles Township, as well as a few older outbuildings at the Little Woods Forest Preserve in St. Charles Township.
“These buildings had been sitting vacant for some time,” Goreth said. “[The former nature center at] Tekakwitha was probably an area where the building was unoccupied for the shortest period of time.”
Goreth said razing old buildings not only improves the aesthetic of the forest preserve properties, but also improves safety. In the past, he said the forest preserve has partnered with fire departments who practice drills using the old buildings slated to be demolished.
“We try to do this on an annual basis,” Goreth said.