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Greenbelt System and Natural Areas

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The nearly 500-acre greenbelt system exists to provide areas for surface water runoff, and to provide habitat for a diversity of plants and animals. We recognize the need to provide buffer areas of native plants such as prairie remnants for their scenic beauty and diversity in our otherwise urban environment. This open green space is left in a natural state and may be used for some recreational activities. The greenbelts are managed by the Parks, Engineering, Operations and wastewater utility Departments for various functions. City Code allows property owners adjoining greenbelts to mow 20 feet beyond their property line into them. Under a permit system, the Parks Division allows property owners to plant trees and shrubbery in greenbelts. Please contact the Parks Division before planting. Other significant natural areas include the Robert O. Cook Memorial Arboretum, Spring Brook watershed and the Rock River Parkway.

An informative brochure is available that answers many of the common questions asked about the city public spaces known as greenbelts. The brochure discusses common management practices, allowable practices on public lands, weed management, and donation or adoption opportunities.  If you would like a copy of the brochure it is available here, at the Parks Division, City Hall or by contacting the Parks Division.

More information about stormwater and greenbelt management may be found here.

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