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updated: 12/14/2010 5:43 PM

Piece of Lake Zurich's Paulus Park could be for sale

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A piece of a popular neighborhood gathering place in Lake Zurich could be sold.

That possibility would be set in motion Monday when the village board is scheduled to consider an ordinance declaring nearly 7 acres of Paulus Park as surplus property.

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The rectangle-shaped open portion of the 41-acre park faces busy Route 12 (Rand Road) but is unused, Village Administrator Bob Vitas said.

"This idea actually came up many, many years ago and was abandoned for some reason," Vitas said. The land is "nothing more than a grassy plain," he added.

Selling this section has been discussed during the past year, and village officials have determined there would be no restrictions on the land that would prevent a sale.

Vitas declined to say what the property is worth, as a possible sale is being negotiated.

"Anything on Rand Road is valuable," he said.

Declaring it as surplus with no further municipal purpose would allow the village to conclude the talks.

A summary of the upcoming vote said village staff has been exploring options to have this property be developed with a commercial use to generate "significant revenue" for the village and result in park improvements.

The village bought the land for a park in the 1970s. It is the site of many events and is the largest and most used in the village's 32-park system.

Of those parks, 22 are developed. The village recently hired Norris Design to update the village's open space master plan, approved in 2004, at a cost of $45,507.

"We need to re-examine the open space in the village," Vitas said.

The board voted 4 to 1 to proceed, with Trustee Jeff Halen dissenting. He said he was concerned about repetition because the open space plan approved in 2004 was supposed to cover a 12-year period.

Some of the village's property is not buildable. The plan update will include recommendations on which pieces to keep and which to sell.

Vitas said the proceeds of a Paulus sale would be applied only to general fund reserves. Lake Zurich, like other municipalities, has struggled in the last three years and abolished or not filled 24 positions in that time.

The open space update will take about four months to complete and will include potential improvements, plans for programming and staff, and a community survey, said Michael Perkins, director of the village's parks and recreation department.

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