Belmont Prairie MapThe Downers Grove Park District is developing a long-term master plan for its Walnut Park property. Walnut Park is a 19.6-acre parcel of land on Walnut Avenue adjacent to the Belmont Prairie Buffer in the northwest corner of Downers Grove, just south of Ogden Avenue.

The Park District conducted an online Community Survey to obtain public input and has posted a summary of responses.

Members of the Heritage Alliance participated in the survey and are encouraged by the following Park District statement in a WALNUT PARK PROPERTY Q & A:

5. How will the possible development of the Walnut Park property impact the existing Belmont Prairie Nature Preserve and connected prairie buffer?
Natural area preservation is at the heart of the District's mission. The Park District will continue to preserve and protect the Belmont Prairie and prairie buffer. Any possible development of the Walnut Park property would carefully avoid any potential hydrological, ecological or other adverse impacts on the prairie and buffer. Protecting the buffer zone is required and any development on it must be approved by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

The development of the Walnut Park property could help the District to improve the health and accessibility of the buffer and prairie, assist with raising awareness and provide ways to educate visitors about this treasured natural area in our community. 

PDHA Chair Ken Lerner wrote to explain the organization's thinking about planning for Walnut Park. Ken's letter emphasizes PDHA's advocacy for protection of the Belmont Prairie, a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve, and its dedicated Buffer. The letter begins as follows:

"Pierce Downer’s Heritage Alliance appreciates the Park District’s commitment to seeking public input as part of long-term planning for this property.

"We have a few recommendations as detailed below. The unifying theme is that in developing plans for its Walnut Ave. holdings, the Park District balance active and passive recreation priorities.

"Since the Walnut Park area is adjacent to the Belmont Prairie Buffer, planning and any eventual construction should be conducted with that in mind, to avoid any hydrological or other adverse impact on the buffer and prairie."

To read the letter from Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance in full please click here.

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COVID-19 and the Great Outdoors

A visit to a local park or forest preserve can be a nice break during the COVID-19 emergency. A brisk walk or run can be a good way to get your steps in. Local outdoor recreation areas are generally open for hiking, walking and running, with some exceptions.

Downers Grove Park District ––
The Park District has announced TIER 4 MITIGATION MEASURES beginning Thursday, February 4.
  Information and updates at

DuPage County Forest Preserves ––
The preserves are open including parking lots, trails, and off-leash dog areas. Buildings and restrooms are closed. At some facilities, the buildings are closed but grounds and surrounding areas are open: Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, Mayslake Peabody Estate, and St. James Farm.
  Information and updates at

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1846 Blodgett House

Public tours inside the 1846 Blodgett House started on Saturday, December 14, 2019 during the Merry and Bright celebration at the Downers Grove Museum, 831 Maple Avenue.

                                    Blodgget HouseThanks to community-wide support the 1846 Pioneer Blodgett House has come a long way during the past decade, well beyond its initial journey from Randall Street onto the Park District's Museum Campus. Substantial progress toward completion of the building's interior has been achieved in 2019 as a result of two major grants. The house now looks really great as described on the Park District's website!

Come see the 1846 Blodgett House before long. Starting June 25, 2022
tours are again being offered on the third Saturday of the month. The tours had been suspended since mid-2020.  Please consult the Park District's registration page for information about 1846 Blodgett House tours and other interesting activities.

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Betty Cheever & Wally Brown Honored

Many organizations and individuals joined forces to honor Betty M. Cheever (1928 - 2021) and Wallace H. (Wally) Brown (1928 - 2019) with tribute benches in Lyman Woods Preserve. A celebration of Betty Cheever's and Wally Brown's community leadership took place on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the Lyman Woods Interpretative Center.  Please click here to learn more about this event and the tribute benches honoring Betty Cheever and Wally Brown.


2023 Village Candidates Answered Our Questions

PDHA and Greener Grove submitted three questions to each of the candidates for Mayor and Commissioner in Downers Grove. Read their responses just as they sent them by clicking here. The responses are provided in alphabetical order within each category. The two Mayoral candidates are first, followed by the six candidates for Commissioner.  
Note: A couple of the responses to the question about the Greenest Region Compact (GRC) refer to level or option “3B.” That is a reference to the village staff’s report on the GRC, which described various options for implementing it. Option 3B is the strongest option, including development of a village sustainability plan and reviving the Environmental Concerns Commission to oversee developing and implementing the plan. 

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Candidate Forum Flyer
Village council candidate conversations on March 19, 2021 addressed historic preservation and tree preservation policies among other issues of interest. Click here to view the conversations.

Absent Friends

Jane Amorosi 1923-2021

 Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance nJane
                                                Amorosiotes with regret the passing of one of our founding directors, Jane Amorosi. Jane was always a strong advocate for preservation of open space. We are grateful to Jane for her role in safeguarding Lyman Woods as a publicly-owned Forest Preserve, a beautiful and high-quality natural area in Downers Grove.  The Lyman Woods Preserve today serves as a recreational and nature-education destination for the entire region.  Please click here to read Jane's obituary.

We also gratefully remember several other past champions of our community's natural heritage.

Betty Cheever 1928-2021
Nan Newlon 1959-2021
John Banaszak 1941-2020
Wally Brown 1928-2019
Al Rouffa 1919-2017
Bill Runyon 1929-2009
Rita Martin 1927-2007

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Please consider a charitable donation to support educational activities of Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance.