Area residents had an eye-opening experience as they took a first look at the site of the future La Salle Rotary Park and prairie preserve park.
“I think it’s beautiful. There’s a lot of opportunity out here people need to see,” Pat Bowers of La Salle said.
Bowers and at least 50 others toured the reclaimed Illinois Cement Co. quarry site by hayrack and foot despite muddy pathways.
Organised by members of the city’s Rotary Park Committee, the open house was the first viewing opportunity the public has had.
“You guys are doing good work,” Tim Bulak of La Salle told committee member Alissa Gearhart as they took in one of the views of the Little Vermilion River available on the parkland.
Bulak, who grew up on the city’s east side, remembers playing with friends through the very woods that were being toured. In those days, before Illinois Cement took over the site in 1974 the area was unfenced.
“This was free to roam when we were kids,” Bulak said. “It brings back memories.”
Illinois Cement ceased quarry operations at the site around 2001, according to Pem Jackson of Illinois Cement, who was helping lead tours of the property.