Forest Preserve Board invests in nature with $50 million bond issue for preservation, restoration and recreation

The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Board of Commissioners approved a $50 million general obligation bond issue at its monthly Board meeting on June 13.

Bond sale proceeds will be used to fund a 2025-2030 Capital Improvement Program that will allow the District to preserve and restore more green space for future generations. The program also will connect regional trails and add preserve access areas.

“Preserving land and restoring it back to its natural state will improve air and water quality, create flood relief and provide more places for plants and animals to flourish,” said Cindy Wojdyla Cain, the Forest Preserve’s public information officer. “And connecting trails and adding access to open areas will allow visitors to reap the physical and mental benefits of being in nature and enhance the overall quality of life in Will County.”

The bond issue will provide $25 million for land preservation, $12 million for critical regional and local trail connections and the creation of new preserve access areas, and $13 million for habitat restoration. The interest rate for the bonds can’t exceed 5.5% and the bonds will be repaid over 20 years. The Board’s vote gives authorization for the bonds to be sold in an amount not to exceed $50 million.

The amount of money property owners will pay in taxes in 2025 for the Forest Preserve District’s portion of their tax bill – which is around 1.5% of their total bills – will decrease even with the new bond sale.

For example, if the new bonds are sold in 2024, the owner of a $300,000 house will pay $95 dollars to the District in 2025, down from $116 in 2024. If the bonds hadn’t been approved, the homeowner would have paid $84 in 2025, an $11 annual difference, based on Will County’s estimated equalized assessed valuation. The District waited until past bond issues were retired to propose the new bond issue so the tax rate would decrease.

Will County projects

Proceeds from the bond sale will be used for a variety of projects. The money also will be used as the local match for grants, which will make local tax dollars stretch even further by securing federal grants designed to protect open space and improve transportation options.

Projects will be located throughout Will County so all residents can benefit from new trail segments, trail connections, improved facilities and expanding open space. Here are some of the highlights.

  • DuPage River Trail – Weber Road Connection: DuPage River Trail segments north and south of the river will be connected.
    Wolf’s Crossing Road Trail Connection: This project will connect the trail systems of the City of Aurora, City of Naperville, Forest Preserve and the Naperville and Plainfield park districts.
    Veterans Memorial Trail – 159th to 135th Street: This trail extension will complete the northern segment of the Veterans Memorial Trail from 159th Street to 135th Street in Romeoville.
  • Veterans Memorial Trail – Spring Creek Greenway Trail to US Route 6: This project will complete the southern segment of the Veterans Memorial Trail to Route 6 in New Lenox.
  • Riverview Farmstead Loop Trail and Amenities: This project entails the construction of a one-mile segment of the DuPage River Trail and an adjacent 1.5-mile loop and other associated trail amenities. Habitat restoration and development will occur simultaneously.
    Jackson Creek Greenway Trail and Access: This project will establish the first trail and access area in the Jackson Creek Greenway. Habitat restoration and development will occur simultaneously.
  • Forked Creek Greenway Trail: This project will link the City of Wilmington to the Forked Creek Preserve – Ballou Road Access and Wauponsee Glacial Trail.
  • Plum Creek Nature Center Improvements: Plum Creek Nature Center was last renovated in 2002. This project entails exhibit design, fabrication, and installation as well as limited interior renovations and upgrades.
  • Wauponsee Glacial Trail Paving: Laraway to Hoff Road: This project entails the replacement of an existing limestone surface with an asphalt surface to improve accessibility and maintenance. Accommodation in the trail design will allow continued equestrian use of the trail.
  • Habitat Restoration/Agricultural Land Conversion: The program includes funding to create more than 800 acres of new habitat through agricultural land conversion and to restore greater biodiversity to 1,700 acres of existing degraded natural areas.
  • Land Preservation: In April 2024, the Forest Preserve’s Citizens Advisory Committee completed development of a Land Preservation Plan outlining more than 12,250 acres across the county that should be the focus of a future land acquisition plan. This investment could preserve up to 1,100 acres or more and would continue preservation efforts in the DuPage River, Jackson Creek, Spring Creek, and Plum Creek greenways along with the natural resource rich Braidwood Sands Area in southwestern Will County. Parcels will only be purchased from willing sellers.

For more information on the Forest Preserve District, visit