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Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007 01:01 am

Clear path

County Board approves permit for sanctuary

Untitled Document The Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary Trust and the sanctuary’s neighbors are looking ahead after the Sangamon County Board voted last week to approve the trust’s request for a conditional-use permit to establish a public park on 27.2 acres of the 120-acre Loami sanctuary, located at 9560 Withers Rd. The neighbors initially cited safety and security issues, postponing the County Board’s final vote twice since June [see Amanda Robert, “Prairie wildfire,” Sept. 6]. But JPMorgan, the administrator of the Nipper trust, has compromised by limiting public access to the sanctuary to three days a week, requiring groups to schedule appointments, and hiring an on-site tour guide. The neighbors, in turn, have agreed to form a support organization to arrange for volunteers to serve as custodians and guides for the sanctuary.
“This is something that has provided us with the opportunity to step back and say, ‘Here are a few things the neighbors want,’ and, to be honest, the bank was just really great,” says Craig Hall, who represents District 7 on the County Board. “Hopefully it’s an agreement that we can use as an example in the future.”
The Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1992 by the estate of Frank and Gladys Nipper, who stipulated that the property should be open for educational purposes and to naturalists and wildlife groups. Conservationists have since begun restoring native prairie, wetland areas, and bottomland forest and have reintroduced more than 150 species of flowers and plants.
Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com.
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