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Batavia seeks funds for Fox shoreline improvements

Updated: February 16, 2013 6:09AM

BATAVIA — The city is seeking funding from the Kane County Riverboat grants to conduct a redevelopment plan for the Fox River shoreline from the North Batavia dam south to Clark Island.

Aldermen have authorized applying for a $50,000 matching grant to hire consultants for a River Corridor Redevelopment Plan to address shoreline erosion that is occurring in segments of the river, improved access and utilization of the river shoreline as a resource, as well as natural plant habitat and maintenance.

City Administrator Bill McGrath said some action is necessary in the next several years to deal with the erosion occurring along the bank of the river.

“Good stewardship requires us to try to keep our riverbanks in a condition that, at a minimum, does not harm the river,” McGrath told aldermen.

McGrath said the importance of the river continues to reverberate during community discussions of downtown redevelopment.

“The fact that the river passes through our urban section requires strategies that include more than erosion,” he said.

“It involves the different treatments of the riverbanks, basically whether particular sections should remain ‘natural’ to appreciate the river in its own form or ‘hard-edged,’ which ... opens opportunities for a closer relationship to it through elements like overlooks, patios, decks, fishing platforms, launching areas, general seating and wildlife observation blinds.”

McGrath said there have been other discussions about the overall look of the riverbanks.

“This project would be an opportunity to obtain help from experts to arrive at a permanent, sustainable plan for how both the natural and hard-edged banks are to be planted and maintained,” he said.

McGrath said the implementation of any plan would take years and require further attempts to obtain grants, which may include the formation of a “stewardship group” to help raise awareness and develop a stronger sensitivity to the river.

The city applied jointly with the Batavia Park District, which is an owner of a significant amount of actual river frontage. The county awards riverboat grants in the spring.

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