Left Justified: Sierra Clubs Saintly Six and Sinful Five
By Stanley Campbell
The Blackhawk Chapter Sierra Club is proud to announce the winners of the list of good and bad developments. I, as the Sierra Club conservation chair, was the leader of the committee of four people who chose the Saintly Six and Sinful Five development projects. I give thanks for those environmentalists who helped choose the lists, especially Blackhawk Sierra Club Chairman Sue Breidigam. Any errors in description are mine, and complaints should be directed to me alone.
The Saintly Six
We had more nominations this year than last, at least in the good category, and we could all agree on the following six who made the grade:
1. Rock Valley College, mentioned last year as a Nasty Nine, gets a Saintly Six nod this year for their environmental landscaping (our concern was in the way they did it, not its outcome).
a) They cleaned up the stagnant lagoon and are planting species indigenous to the area.
b) RVC connected the east and west sides of the campus WITHIN the boundaries, which has REDUCED the traffic on Mulford and Spring Brook.
c) The Mulford Road entrance to the college was moved northhence alleviating the traffic jams at the corner of Mulford and Spring Brook.
d) The Perryville Path has been continued throughout the RVC campus, and is extended for at least two more miles around the campus.
Blackhawk Sierra Club applauds and encourages the overall landscaping to be done with function, beauty, preservation and restoration as priorities.
2. Winnebago County Forest Preserve District headquarters at 5500 Northrock Drive, just off North Main Street north of the Harlem Toll Bridge.
It contains a 5-acre prairie restoration and a 9-acre wetland restoration along the Rock River. It also provides a recreation path, which serves as a trailhead for the Sinnissippi recreation path. The trail loops a quarry lake surrounded by native plants and trees and is home to fish, turtles, insects and birds.
3. Muldoon Grove: Crusader Clinic took an old eyesore at 12:00 W. State St. and turned it into a beautiful and restful mini-park with lovely trees and shrubs, scented herbs and flowers that can be enjoyed by clients, neighbors and passers-by. This demonstrates a real commitment to revitalization of the west side of Rockford, and compassion for their clients and neighbors.
4. Roscoe Township, for buying 21 acres of land along Kinnikinnick Creek next to Stone Bridge Nature Trail. This action expanded the prairie along the trail and protects and may restore the wetlands along the creek. Roscoe Township also is applauded for adding one mile more to the trail, which included several patches of native prairie.
5. David and Valerie Johnson for turning over to the Boone Conservation District the 17-year lease that they held to the 80-acre Beaver Bluffs Conservation Area on Beaver Creek so that the area could be open to the public. Located off U.S. 20 west of Belvidere between Shaw and Distillery roads. This is a real saintly action, and we pray that it will be repeated.
6. Boone County Conservation and the McHenry County Conservation District for undertaking the long-term restoration of flood-prone land along Coon Creek in the so-called Crowfoot Conservation Area that straddles both counties. Coon Creek is one of the best fishing streams in northern Illinois, and floods frequently.
Runner-up: The Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza on Perryville and Riverside. Says the person who made the nomination: I do not know what else could have been done with this strip of land… but the Peace Plaza is meaningful and beautiful with all of its flags from the United Nations. It softens the harshness of that whole urban sprawl area as well. It was not included in the Saintly list, but received a runner-up status because there was some concern about this project being in the middle of sprawlville. But it was acknowledged that this was a way of beautifying and making meaningful land, in the midst of urban growth.
That was this years saintly list. Next week, we will look at the sinners. And pray for forgiveness for what we do to Mother Earth.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.