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 CMAP’s Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, McHenry County Department of Planning and Development and City of McHenry Department of Economic Development are leading a collaborative effort to develop a Fox River Corridor Plan that will focus 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 spans 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 the Dutch Creek inlet in Johnsburg on the north. The project builds 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 is 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, includes 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. The first phase involves 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. The second phase will focus on developing a vision for the Fox River Corridor and strategies to attain that vision. The third phase involves developing the draft corridor plan that will be reviewed by the steering committee and the public. The fourth phase involves revising the corridor plan based on public feedback and its final adoption.