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Article posted: 4/11/2013 12:01 AM

Elgin council OKs plan to split land between agencies

By Elena Ferrarin

In just over a month or so, the former Fox River Country Day School property is expected to be divvied up among the city of Elgin, the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation and the Kane County Forest Preserve District.

The Elgin City Council on Wednesday night approved intergovernmental agreements with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and the forest preserve district, and a real estate sales agreement with the wildlife foundation, which is adjacent to the former school campus at 1600 Dundee Ave., just north of I-90. The school closed in 2011.

Council members discussed the matter in executive session and approved the agreements without discussion in open session.

The wildlife foundation, which is adjacent to the former school campus, will pay $600,000, while the tollway will put up about $2.6 million, Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal said.

The foundation will keep just under 7 acres, while the rest will be approximately split between the city of Elgin and the forest preserve district, Kozal said.

The agreement will help restore and preserve native fen wetlands on the grounds of the former school, thereby allowing the tollway to meet its obligation to compensate for the environmental impact of widening I-90 between Elgin and I-39 in Rockford.

"Everybody sees this as a win-win," Mayor David Kaptain said after the meeting.

Elgin doesn't have any plans for property yet, Kaptain said.

The city might pay for the demolition of buildings and structures on the site, if they are deemed no longer "economically practicable to maintain," Kozal said.

Elgin will be fronting the money because the bank wants to close the sale on Monday, Kozal said.

The tollway already approved the agreement, while the forest preserve district is expected to do so on May 14, he said. Elgin will be reimbursed by the tollway when all agreements are formally in place, he said.

Last month, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation CEO Charles Potter said the foundation plans to use its new land for outdoor education programming.

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