Reroute The Road @ Joliet Junior College

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The following is an open letter to the the Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees from a dedicated and concerned Faculty member:

5 May 2017

Dear Supporters of JJC Natural Areas & Fen,

Thank you for following and supporting our opposition to plans for paving a road through Joliet Junior College’s designated natural areas and fen. Those of us who work for Joliet Junior College decided it was time to move our active opposition to the road off campus and start a Facebook page. We hope you find it useful and continue to spread the word of growing opposition and urge the JJC Board of Trustees to decline the developer’s request for this road. We are suggesting at the very least, that they find alternative routes. The rest of this letter is the contents of a letter the JJC Natural Areas Committee sent to the college president, Dr. Judy Mitchell and board chair, Robert Wunderlich.

 

The Natural Areas Committee at Joliet Junior College met on Thursday, 16 February 2017, to discuss the impact the easterly extension of County Farm Road proposed by Cullinan Properties would have on the college’s Natural Areas. On behalf of the Natural Areas Committee, we ask that you consider the consequences of this proposed road. A road of any kind that crosses an intact natural area complex such as JJC’s causes a great deal of harm to the ecological integrity and aesthetics of the area.

In April of 1998, the Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Natural Areas Resolution. The Board recognized the educational, ecological and recreational values of the Natural Areas and committed to their long-term protection. The direction and path of the proposed road would irreparably compromise the features of the Natural Areas that we use as our Outdoor Teaching and Learning Laboratory. The construction and footprint of such a road would fragment the habitat and alter the hydrology of the natural areas. Of particular concern is the calcareous fen, seep and waterway that feed in to the campus lake. There is also a population of federally endangered leafy prairie clover in the adjacent dolomite prairie.

The fen has a community of rare plants and animals that require a steady flow of clean freshwater that a road would most certainly destroy. Since 2009, the college has invested in improving the water quality of the campus lake with the installation of IEPA grant funded bio-swales and other improvements. A roadway through the Natural Areas would severely undermines these earlier commitments to watershed protection.

Recreational use of the Rock Run Creek Corridor bike path will be compromised by yet another road to cross and eliminate the tranquility of using the path. The fact that the JJC Natural Areas are adjacent to Forest Preserve District property creates a significantly large area that buffers path users against the dangers and sounds of traffic.

Studying the map provided by Cullinan Properties, it does appear that there are alternative routes for access to the development. The Natural Areas Committee is not necessarily opposed to the overall development plan, but only the proposed extension of County Farm Road across the college’s designated natural areas. We encourage the Joliet Senior Leadership Team and Board of Trustees to carefully consider the overall impact road development of this kind will have on the college and community it serves.

Respectfully yours,

Andy Neill
Natural Areas Committee



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