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posted: 5/29/2010 12:01 AM

Winfield fights to change farm's address

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  • Kline Creek Farm staffers Rebekah Carlton and Sara Ivetic work in the garden at the DuPage County Forest Preserve's living-history farm in West Chicago. Winfield officials want to have the farm's address changed.

       Kline Creek Farm staffers Rebekah Carlton and Sara Ivetic work in the garden at the DuPage County Forest Preserve's living-history farm in West Chicago. Winfield officials want to have the farm's address changed.
    Randi Stella | Staff Photographer

 
 

This is a border war 120 years in the making.

Winfield officials are petitioning the DuPage County Forest Preserve Commission to change Kline Creek Farm's address from West Chicago to their fair village.

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Winfield Village President Deborah Birutis said having the property recognized as a Winfield landmark would be a boon to the town's profile and tourism. She contends since the farm is bordered on three sides by her village, it deserves to have a Winfield address. And she's got the condiment to back her up.

"I was just out there today and bought some jam that says it was made at Kline Creek Farm in Winfield, Illinois," Birutis said.

West Chicago Mayor Michael Kwasman, however, is not letting go of the farm without a fight. He wrote a letter to the forest preserve asking it to keep the address the same. And Kwasman appears to have history on his side.

When the property was an actual working farm in the late 1800s, it had a Turner Junction address. Turner Junction was the previous name of West Chicago before city leaders changed it in an attempt to lure industrial plants to the area.

"What reason would they have to change the address?" Kwasman asked. "Is it because Winfield has nothing? I don't know? It's a very strange request."

The problem seems to be that since the property was opened to the public in 1984 as an 1890s-style living-history farm, even forest preserve officials haven't been consistent identifying its location. While the forest preserve currently lists the farm's address as 1N600 County Farm Road in West Chicago for postal and historic purposes, some brochures that are just a few years old refer to the property as being in Winfield.

"It's a matter of civic pride, I guess," said forest preserve Commissioner Roger Kotecki, who represents the district where the property is located. "Historically, it's had a West Chicago address, but West Chicago is a considerable distance away and Winfield is right across the street."

But Kotecki said there's another reason to use the West Chicago address.

"If you type in the address and use Winfield as the city in MapQuest, it gives you a parking lot at Central DuPage Hospital," he said.

While it's true most direction-finding websites require the inclusion of "West Chicago" in order to pinpoint the farm on a map, a Google search of Kline Creek Farm indicates including Winfield in the search is a more popular choice than West Chicago.

"Kline Creek Farm is a wonderful asset and I truly believe it belongs in the village," Birutis said.

Even West Chicago's own proposed boundary agreement with Winfield that is used for development and planning purposes indicates the farm property would be in Winfield's planning area if in the extremely unlikely event the property ever became privately owned again, Birutis said.

But what if the forest preserve began referring to it as "Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago and Winfield?"

"I'd be fine with that because it's a win-win for both communities," Birutis said.

Forest preserve commissioners discussed Winfield's request Tuesday, but tabled the issue. It's unclear when it will be discussed again.

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