The number of attendees was a happy surprise. Seating was planned for about 50 people. Over 100 showed up! That's the old track they are on.
Dundee Township Highway Commissioner Larry Braasch explains to Ross Fosbender how volunteers have cleared this section of the old track, which had been totally overgrown and almost impenetrable.
This fat old goat (me) shared a bit of Meadowdale history with the crowd. Most of the younger residents had no idea how important Meadowdale was to the history of American racing.
Sunday, October 2 - Grand Re-Opening and Re-Dedication Photos by Jay Busse, Elgin, IL
A celebration of the new Huntley Road parking area and its new gate to the track. The new picnic and play areas, and freshly cleared and chipped hiking trails and equestrian facilities were presented. A short thunderstorm dampened the crowd, but not the enthusiasm for the improvements to the open space facility.
The ceremonial ribbon cutting. (L to R) Dundee Township Supervisor Sue Harney, Illinois State Representatives Ruth Munson and Tim Schmitz.
Dundee Township Supervisor Sue Harney explained the political struggles to preserve the Meadowdale site as open space and to get to this point in the project.
Saturday October 22 - National "Make a Difference Day" Photos by Ross Fosbender
About 40 volunteers braved a forecast of cold and showers to help clean up and improve the Raceway Woods, the home of Meadowdale Raceway. They were rewarded with a morning that included just a few sprinkles and enough work to keep everyone warm. Two major tasks were accomplished. Invasive brush and junk trees were cut down from a stretch of the course leading to Doane's Corner, and wood chips were spread along unpaved sections of the track and on footpaths across the infield. All were pleased with the progress achieved.
Jack and Donna Redmer live adjacent to the track property and are the volunteer stewards for the track. They are the ones who have made the Meadowdale race course clean-up happen. They have coordinated the volunteer efforts, put up the track history signs, and devoted a lot of their own time and resources to the restoration of the famous race track. We were there for one morning. Donna said they are working on the property 4-5 days almost every week of the year.
BEFORE: Volunteer Alden Wells, who raced at Meadowdale during its active years, poses in front of a stand of brush due to be cleared. After clearing the area will treated with weed killer and grass planted.
AFTER: One section of the area cleared October 22. About 20 volunteers cleared this in less than four hours. On the left is a portion of the track leading toward Doane's Corner.
Neighbors brought light and heavy equipment to aid in the clearing operation. Here two volunteers load rocks, broken paving and concrete blocks for transport to an area needing fill.
A reporter from a local paper interviews Donna Redmer about the efforts at Raceway Woods to restore Meadowdale Raceway.
Cut and load. Cut and load. Cut and load. Oh, my aching back!
The work morning completed, a few volunteers stayed to view videos of Meadowdale racing action. Then they boarded a hayrack for a lap around most of the 2.2 mile portion of the course, with stops to admire the work of the other groups involved in the "Make a Difference Day" effort.
The main straight surface has been cleared edge-to-edge. This view from about halfway down the straight, looking up-track toward the Monza Wall area, gives an idea of the size of the facility. NHRA drag races were held on this straight in 1968-69. None of the trees were here then.