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updated: 4/13/2012 1:19 PM

Campton Hills plans 5th birthday celebration

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  • Campton Hills supporters Jim Kopec, Bill Beith, Neal Anderson and Jerome Johnson check poll results at the election night party held at Hopper's Bar-B-Que in Wasco. It was close but the voters chose not to dissolve the newly formed village in November 2008.

       Campton Hills supporters Jim Kopec, Bill Beith, Neal Anderson and Jerome Johnson check poll results at the election night party held at Hopper's Bar-B-Que in Wasco. It was close but the voters chose not to dissolve the newly formed village in November 2008.
    LAURA STOECKER | Staff Photographer

  • One big thank you sign hangs in a window of the new Campton Hills village hall the day after voters made the village of Campton Hills official in April 2007.

       One big thank you sign hangs in a window of the new Campton Hills village hall the day after voters made the village of Campton Hills official in April 2007.
    JEFF KNOX | Staff Photographer

  • Campton Hills Village President Patsy Smith

      Campton Hills Village President Patsy Smith

 
 

Nearly five years ago 2,253 people went to the polls and voted in favor of incorporating the village of Campton Hills.

The measure passed by 424 votes and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Campton Hills officials will host a potluck at 6 p.m. before their 7:30 p.m. village board meeting on Tuesday at the Campton Township Community Center, 5N082 Old La Fox Road, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the village's incorporation.

The fight to incorporate and thus gain greater control over development, especially the 900-plus home Stony Creek proposal coming from Elgin, was a bitter one.

Village President Patsy Smith said the last five years were about "survival and sustainability."

"Everything you do is an accomplishment because everything had to be done for the first time," she said. "I think being fiscally responsible is one of our main accomplishments. Planning the future (with the village's first comprehensive plan) is another."

A mere 367 votes in November 2008 also preserved the village.

A ballot question to dissolve the village failed with 3,744 favoring the village and 3,377 supporting its dissolution.

And the recession and housing market crash forced the Stony Creek developer to pull the plug on the project, which was the impetus for the village's formation in the first place.

For Tuesday's potluck, the village will provide meat, cake and beverages but wants folks to rsvp at rsvp@villageofcamptonhills.org.

But don't expect anyone next week to make a dish with crow in it.

"We just want to celebrate and thank all our volunteers," Smith said. "We felt this was a good way to bring everybody together."

Still not thrilled

While tensions have eased somewhat, dissent is still evident at the website opposecamptonhills.com.

No one responded to an email interview request sent to that website.

But many who opposed incorporation have accepted that the village is here to stay and have moved on with their lives.

One of those people is Bruce Aderman, who unsuccessfully fought to disconnect from the village.

He, like many others, felt more government was not only unnecessary but could result in more taxes.

"(The village) is not going anywhere. That's usually the case when government gets a foothold. I've accepted it," he said. "I'm not going to say it's a good thing. It is what it is."

Aderman did acknowledge he thought trustees were doing a "good job on holding the line" on spending, but he said there are no guarantees future leaders will do the same or preserve the area's rural character.

"That's why we all moved out here, because it was like that. You never know what the next administration will be. The next one can say, 'I don't have any promises to keep,' " he said Friday.

Five years ago, incorporation proponents said they could form Campton Hills without levying a village property tax. To this day, the village does not have its own property tax and leaders have honored that pledge, Smith pointed out.

While five years is the "wood" anniversary for marriages, one could think of the numerous volunteers as the village's rock during that time.

"I'm very proud of the accomplishments of the village in the last five years. It takes a lot of work to start a village," said Smith, crediting volunteers and concerned residents.

"Without their help, we wouldn't have had the successes we've had."

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