The St. Charles Park District proposes to build an agriculture lab and indoor education center at Primrose Farm.
The St. Charles Park District proposes to build an agriculture lab and indoor education center at Primrose Farm.

ST. CHARLES – Surrounded by 100 acres of farm land and 200 public garden lots, Primrose Farm Park hosts hundreds of programs and drop-in activities.

The problem is that all those programs and activities have to be schedule between between April and October because there is no indoor or temperature controlled space on the St. Charles Park District property. To remedy that, the Park District proposes to build an agriculture lab and indoor education center at Primrose Farm.

The project is estimated to cost $1.5 million. To help fund the project, the district has applied for a $1 million grant, with the Park District picking up the rest of the cost.

The Illinois Park and Recreational Facility Construction Grant Program is administered through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Park District has already budgeted the funds as part of the district's long term master plan.

Residents who would like to know more about the project can attend a meeting/open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Ave., St. Charles. Those who can't attend can email their comments to scpd@stcparks.org up until Feb. 14.

"This is a facility that we are maintaining and operating year-round, but with no indoor, temperature-controlled space, we can't really do programs say from mid-October to late March," said Laura Rudow, the district's Superintendent of Parks and Planning.

The proposed facility would include an agriculture lab and multi-purpose space, a kitchen area for farm to table interpretation and experiments and curriculum planning areas.

A wind turbine would power the well for the facility and solar panels would be installed to produce green energy.

Primrose Farm is a popular park, Rudow said.

"It's really one of the only opportunities around here to go and have agriculture interpreted for you," she said. "The amount of curriculum that we are able to do out there is pretty significant. We do hands-on milking programs and there's a whole flock of chickens that we sell the eggs for."

She noted the facility is popular with both kids and adults. The facility just hosted a Kohlfahrt, which is a winter tradition in Northwest Germany where participants take a hike, play games and have drinks and snacks. The event ended at Riverlands Brewing Company with a German meal.

The event sold out, Rudow said.

"People absolutely loved it," she said. "They want to do it again next year and bring all their friends."

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