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updated: 10/2/2012 10:25 PM

Sugar Grove Twp. looks to buy land for park, storage

Village board receptive to park on Municipal Drive — but not so sure about storage

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Sugar Grove Township and the Sugar Grove Township Road District are interested in buying land on Municipal Drive for a park and outdoor storage of road-repair materials.

But before they expend much more effort on the idea, officials wanted to know whether the village board had strong feelings on the matter.

Village trustees on Tuesday seemed generally OK with the idea of a park -- but less willing to allow the outdoor storage area.

Township Supervisor Dan Nagel presented the proposal to the board. It would encompass about 30 acres on the east side of Municipal Drive, south of Snow Street. The site originally was zoned for commercial/industrial use, then rezoned for housing. A developer had planned to build 48 age-restricted townhouses and 32 detached houses on it, but the land is now owned by a bank.

The road district would store materials such as gravel, sand and road shavings. The rest of the site could be developed with baseball and soccer fields, a picnic shelter and a concession stand, Nagel said. The township would likely contract with the Sugar Grove Park District to manage the park.

Nagel believes it would be a good place to have the annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil, and Trustee Kevin Geary said the fireworks technician for the Corn Boil's show told him a ground display could be added if the festival were held there.

Trustee Mari Johnson was the first to voice a concern.

"I do not have a problem with the park," Johnson said. "I do have a problem with the outdoor storage. They do not belong in a residential area."

She also thought lighted ball fields could disturb neighbors. Trustees Robert Bohler and Rick Montalto also questioned the lights, but Montalto pointed out that lights could be set to turn off at a certain time.

Johnson suggested that the road district look for land near its current site. She also suggested that the township ask voters for approval for the plan, in an April referendum. Nagel said the township intends to discuss the plan with residents of the adjacent neighborhood.

Montalto suggested the district consider putting the materials in a building, similar to the salt domes the state tollway and transportation departments use.

"The plan is great and I'm a big proponent of open space, but can you afford to develop it (the park)?" Village President Sean Michels asked, noting several other projects the park district is developing.

Nagel said the park amenities likely wouldn't be developed for at least five years after the land is purchased, but the township would level a mound on the site and mow the property. The township is also considering purchasing just 18 acres for a park.

If the township and road district decide to move ahead with the plan, they would have to get a special-use permit from the village. More detailed drawings would have to be submitted in that request.

No date was set for further discussion.

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