History of the Crawford County Forest Preserve
On Friday December 5th 1991 Dr Gus Schmidt appeared before the County Board and presented Crawford County with the gift of 124.5 acres. The property was to be transferred to the county upon their death. If the County Board should decide to sell the property 50% would go to Crawford Memorial Hospital and 50% would go to Lincoln Trail College.
The Schmidts hope was that the property would be used as a recreational or conservation area. The Motion to accept the property was made by Doc Inboden and seconded by Ralph Parrott. All members present voted AYE.
In December 2007 the Building & Grounds committee met with Mrs. Eula Schmidts attorney because Mrs. Schmidt desired to give the property to Crawford County early.
The Crawford County Board gave the Building and grounds permission to form a steering committee to decide what to do with the property. The first steering committee meeting was March 11th 2008 and was made up of several groups in Crawford County.
Members present were:
Lincoln Trail College president Bev Turkal & Paul Stouse, Connor & Connor John Earnest & Shannon Woodard, Leadership Crawford County Phil Goodman, Teresa Postlewaite, Oblong FFA Kerry Travis, Greater Wabash valley planning commission Sarah Mann, Illinois Extension office Barbara Webster, The Crawford County Building & Grounds committee David Fulling, Ron Veenstra & John Sutfin. Robinson Building Trades class instructor, Sherriff Liston, Brandon Kitts and the Boy Scouts.
A tour of the property was scheduled for the Steering Committee on March 26th 2008 and the Rides busses provided transportation for all. After several meetings it was decided to make the property into a forest preserve pending a referendum on the November 2008 ballot.
In June 2008 the Crawford County Board gave Dave Fulling permission to Pursue an OSLAD grant from the State of Illinois, If the grant was awarded the money could be used for projects at the new Forest Preserve and make it more accessible for Crawford County residents. The Grant would be a matching funds grant; however Crawford County could use the value of the land as their half of the matching funds.
After several meetings with the Steering committee several projects were picked and submitted to the OSLAD grant process. Sarah Mann at the Greater Wabash valley planning commission and Barbara Webster at the University of Illinois Extension office both helped finalize the paperwork. It was submitted before the deadline of July 1st 2008.
On September 4th 2008 a public hearing was held at the Crawford County courthouses allowing the public to comment about the forest preserve and lodge complaints against it by local land owners. No complaints were raised and Judge Shaner allowed the question to be placed on the November 2008 ballot.
At the November 4th 2008 election the voters of Crawford County passed the referendum by 54% to keep the 124.5 acres and form a Forest Preserve with it.
On March 30th 2009 Mrs. Eula Schmidt conveyed a quit claim deed to Crawford County with the land previously held in a life estate.
On May 6th 2009 Crawford County was awarded the OSLAD grant of $191,400.00. The projects paid for in this grant are a pre-manufactured bathroom, an aluminum fishing dock, 600 feet of asphalted walk path from the parking lot to the fishing dock. Electric, septic and water a pavilion, 15 picnic tables, 5 grills.
Though the generosity of many Crawford County residents who donated labor and materials we were able to complete the projects in the grant as well as additional projects. The additional projects consist of adding an additional 600 feet of walk path, run wire to a garage that also ran the fountain on the lake, several signs located on the property, a wooden walk bridge.