Kane Board to Vote on McGraw Mining

By Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia; Waldron, Patrick | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 12, 2005 | Go to article overview

Kane Board to Vote on McGraw Mining


Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia, Waldron, Patrick, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz and Patrick Waldron Daily Herald Staff Writers

As the Kane County Board prepares to vote Tuesday on a zoning change that would permit gravel mining at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, the 43-year-old conservation group has a message for its wary neighbors: Trust us.

But some residents living a stone's throw from the proposed mining site, now a 300-acre stretch of mostly farmland just east of Route 25, are finding that hard to do.

Last week, a petition signed by 120 residents of the Fox River Bluffs subdivision in Dundee Township was delivered to the county board in objection to the operation, which they fear will disturb their residential wells.

Kane County board member Lee Barrett, an East Dundee Republican who represents the area, is leading a push to stall the vote, lobbying board members to send the issue back to the board's development committee for further talks.

"I just want remedies in place," Barrett said.

McGraw representatives insist there already are.

The 30-year so-called land reclamation project aims to create a 70-acre lake, which will be filled with groundwater as the land is mined. Ninety percent of the lake is to be completed in the first eight years.

The wealth of gravel that lies below the McGraw property is a lucky break for an organization that needs revenue but doesn't want to sell off its open space to get it, said Charlie Potter, president and CEO of the foundation. It completed a similar project 20 years ago.

Potter said the organization has taken pains to minimize any hardship on residents and the environment.

"We developed a master plan to extract gravel as it hasn't been done before," Potter said. "It's more expensive, but it's better ecologically."

After the gravel is extracted, a conveyer belt will run it to the contractor, Beverly Materials of Elgin, for processing. This will minimize trucks and dust at the McGraw property.

The project also is phased so mining work will only abut Fox River Bluff residents, who surround the site on three sides, a few months at a time. The work won't get close to the homes until the project's fifth year.

To win over residents, McGraw also has promised its first order of business will be to fix the drainage problems at the subdivision, which has been prone to flooding. McGraw also will erect a 15-foot landscaped hillside, or berm, to separate the homes from the mining.

"It will be like living next to an arboretum," Potter said.

Beverly Materials, meanwhile, has pledged to monitor groundwater and wells and fix any disruptions that may occur as a result of the mining, according to a letter sent this week to the Kane County development department.

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