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New Batavia park is for the birds -- and residents
By Nancy Gier | Daily Herald Staff

Emily Matson, 8 watches as Batavia Park District mascot Bruce takes a slide on playground equipment Saturday before dedication ceremonies at Hawk's Bluff Park in the Tanglewood subdivision.


Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

Brianne Rimmele, 7 gets a close look at Orion, an eastern screech owl, during a presentation by Northern Illinois Raptor Rehabilitation and Education Saturday.


Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

batraptor_3ne051708MN Photo0700580 Mary Beth Nolan photo Cindy Ridlbauer of Northern Illinois Raptor Rehabilitation and Education talks about a red-tailed hawk Saturday in the amphitheater in the newly dedicated Hawk's Bluff Park in the Tanglewood Subdivision in Batavia.


Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/18/2008 12:05 AM

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Batavia Park District celebrated the opening of its newest facility Saturday with a presentation on native birds of prey.

It was fitting for the new 30-acre park, which is named Hawk's Bluff.

"There are three hawks that nest in this area and we want to keep them here," said James Eby, director of planning and development for Batavia parks.

Hawk's Bluff is at 950 Twin Elms Lane, nestled far enough within the Tanglewood Hills subdivision to be free of traffic noise and offer a sense of being able to get away from it all for a while. The subdivision is just west of Randall Road and south of Main Street.

The park features a fishing deck, a large picnic shelter, a multi-level playground and a multi-court area with a basketball hoop and a tennis practice wall.

But its most unique quality is its natural beauty.

According to Eby, Hawk's Bluff is home to four eco-systems that include a prairie, stream, wetlands and oak savannah trees that may be 165 years old, according to an arborist.

"This is what it looked like in pre-settlement times," Eby said.

Birds were celebrated as Cindy and Steve Ridlbauer of Northern Illinois Raptor Rehabilitation and Education in Loves Park introduced the crowd -- mainly families with small children -- to a red-tailed hawk, two American kestrels, a barred owl and two screech owls. The presentation took place in the park's amphitheater in front of a field dotted with yellow mustard seed wildflowers.

"What I really love about this place is you can come and walk the trails and not feel like you're in the city," said Kari Miller, the park district's marketing and public relations manager. "It's very peaceful."

Randall and Sue Kowalewski of Batavia brought their twin 5-year-old grandsons to the raptor presentation and plan to bring them back to fish.

"We've been coming here since March to walk," Sue said. "There's a creek and a beautiful forest area."

Brandon Eisenberger and Dylan Workman of Batavia, both 14, were on hand with their skateboards.

Both declared that Hawk's Bluff is the best park in Batavia.

"I'll be coming here a lot," said Workman, who lives in the Tanglewood subdivision. "It's the only place that has a nice forest area."

Eisenberger intends to spend some evenings fishing off the park's deck.

The park district received the land as a donation and used a $300,000 matching grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to develop it. The district also used funds from its $4 million capital development project.

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