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Natural Resources

Aikman buys Rockome Gardens, will open wildlife park on property

Arthur Graphic-Clarion of Arthur, Illinois

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Aikman Wildlife Adventure has a new home.

James Aikman plans to open the wildlife refuge and drive-through park at Rockome Gardens. Aikman has purchased the property in rural Douglas County south of Chesterville and has started evaluating changes that will be made.

He was at the site on Monday going through the inventories remaining in the various shops.

"We're getting a handle on the things that are here," he said. "Some we can use, others we can't. We may have an auction to clear out the buildings."

The park will have drive-through and walk-through areas. Fence posts soon will be put in around the drive-through area.

After some of the buildings are removed, work will begin on the walk-through area.

Aikman plans to have the park open in September 2016.

Original plans called for the refuge and drive-through park to be located south and west of Arthur along the Cadwell Road.

Aikman applied to Moultrie County Zoning Board for a special use permit that would have allowed the park to be located there.

However, he withdrew the request after neighboring landowners filed objections.

Douglas County has no rural zoning, so he did not have to seek a special use permit.

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Original Publication Date: September 9, 2015

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