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Lovely Lemont

A ‘holistic’ approach to an historic village

Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 11:16 a.m. CDT

Settled in 1836 as a canal town, Lemont is now a village of 16,000 that embraces its historic past while keeping a watchful eye on the future.

The streets of downtown Lemont are home to limestone and wood frame buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while residential neighborhoods showcase the architecture of classic bungalows and charming Victorians.

Lemont also is home to Argonne National Laboratories, the Citgo Refinery and Cog Hill, a PGA-played golf course.

“We think that one of the things that is unique about Lemont is that it has grown organically,” said Planning and Economic Development Director Charity Jones. “There is nothing contrived about the community. We have a very real mix of our blue-collar industrial background with a white-collar service industry.”

Lemont’s proximity to I55 and I355, and its easy ride to Midway Airport, certainly fit the bill of of “location, location, location,” appealing to residents and businesses alike, creating a community served well by the eclectic mix of events and leisure opportunities offered throughout the year.

Lemont recreation options are numerous thanks to the actual topography of the village that’s the foundation of the 65 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Waterfall Glen is 9.5 miles of trails connecting to the extensive Southern DuPage County Regional Trail system. Centennial Trail is a link to other regional trails, including other portions of the I&M Canal Trail, which extends from Willow Springs to LaSalle.

Heritage Woodlands Sanctuary provides 59 acres of restored habitats, including prairie, savanna, wetlands, and woodlands.  Visitors can walk the trails and view over 100 species of native trees, wildflowers, and other plants.

The 100-acre Heritage Quarries Recreation Area is connected to downtown via the local portion of the I&M Canal Trail.  The trail follows the I&M Canal’s towpath and includes over six miles of crushed stone surface for hiking, biking, or dog walking.  Once inside the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area, the trail loops around the park’s former limestone quarries, which are now freshwater lakes. 

Lemont is also home to seven golf courses including Cog Hill.  Of the four courses at Cog Hill, Dubsdread #4 is considered one of America’s top 100 golf courses. Dubdread #4 was also home to the PGA Western Open and the BMW Championships.

“The same things that are attractive to someone looking for a home are often attractive to business owners,” said Jones.”While we went to attract more retail, white-collar service and science industries to town, we also want to bring in more arts, entertainment and recreation to the community. “It might be considered a more holistic approach [to planning a community].”

Upcoming events include:
Vintage Baseball
Sundays, June 29 and July 20.
The Lemont Historical Society sponsors the Lemont Quarrymen, a vintage baseball team complete uniforms, equipment and rules from 1858.  The experience includes hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack for spectators. Free admission. Pack up the family, some lawn chairs and show some “ginger” in support of the Quarrymen starting at 1 p.m. Covington Park, 127th Street and Covington Drive. Spectators will be coached in appropriate cheers. For more information and a complete schedule: (630) 257-2972 or www.lemonthistorical.org.

24th Annual Lemont Heritage Fest
Saturday, July 12
From 4 to 11 p.m.  the downtown district will be the site of music, food and family fun. Children’s activities are scheduled form 4 to 8 p.m. and include the Spider Climb and the Meltdown, a  Zip Line, the Windjammer, Pony Rides, a Petting Zoo, and more. Due to business sponsorships, almost all the events and activities are free.

“Giving Back to Lemont”
Concert Benefit Event
Saturday, July 26.
For great summer night out head toward Front Street Cantina for a free outdoor concert from 4 to 9 p.m. that benefits Lemont Open Pantries. Bring a non-perishable food item for the open pantries or make a monetary donation which will be divided between two local food pantries. The music will be provided by local talent donating their time.  In the event of inclement weather, a rain date has been set for August 2, 2014.

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