The Fox River is one of the region's greatest public assets. Historically, it has played a major role in shaping the region’s landscape, both natural and developed, but today its full potential remains unrealized. With support from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's (CMAP) Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, McHenry County Department of Planning and Development and City of McHenry Department of Economic Development led a collaborative effort to develop a Fox River Corridor Plan that focused on the following areas:
Commerce within central business districts adjacent to the rivers’ edge
Environment and natural resources (including water resources)
Multi-modal connections to/on the river
Public access and recreational use to/on the river and adjacent business districts
The planning area spanned five communities, conservation areas, nature preserves, and parks over a distance of eight miles from Burtons Bridge at Route 176 as the south end to North Chapel Hill Road on the north end. The project built on the foundation of two previous Fox River Corridor plans — one for Villages of Algonquin and Carpentersville (completed in December 2015) and another for McHenry and Lake Counties (completed in September 2018). However, this project ws ultimately a blank slate upon which priorities can emerge through the planning process.
The planning process, developed in collaboration with McHenry County and the City of McHenry, included four phases aimed at convening a diverse group of stakeholders to help neighboring communities, park districts, businesses, and residents come together to craft a common vision for the river.
- Phase 1: encompassed project orientation and the formation of a steering committee.
- Phase 2: involved a thorough analysis of the existing conditions within the corridor relying on information gathered from the steering committee, interviews with key stakeholders, a public meeting, an online interactive survey, review of previous plans and studies, and collection of maps and data.
- Phase 3: focused on developing a vision for the Fox River corridor and strategies to attain that vision.
- Phase 4: involved developing the draft corridor plan that will be reviewed by the steering committee and the public. This phase also involved revising the corridor plan based on public feedback and its final adoption.
The Fox River Corridor Plan was adopted by McHenry County and the City of McHenry in 2022.