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updated: 3/21/2014 1:09 PM

Concerns surface about possible Lake Zurich park sale

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  • A picnic table stands alone at Kuechmann Park in Lake Zurich. A Lake Zurich advisory panel recommends selling the park on Old Rand Road to make way for home construction.

       A picnic table stands alone at Kuechmann Park in Lake Zurich. A Lake Zurich advisory panel recommends selling the park on Old Rand Road to make way for home construction.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • A Lake Zurich advisory panel recommends selling Kuechmann Park on Old Rand Road to make way for home construction.

       A Lake Zurich advisory panel recommends selling Kuechmann Park on Old Rand Road to make way for home construction.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

Some Lake Zurich residents are voicing concern about an advisory panel's recommendation to sell a downtown park so homes could be built there.

At issue is the future of Kuechmann Park, which covers about 8 acres off Old Rand Road near the village's namesake lake. The park is named for Alton M. Kuechmann, who was Lake Zurich's mayor from 1953 to 1957 and founder of the plan commission.

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By a 6-1 vote last month, the village's park and recreation advisory board favored selling Kuechmann as a site for single-family home construction on the downtown property.

Village board members will get the final say on the recommendation, which also calls for 50 percent of the land sale proceeds to go into Lake Zurich's park improvement fund.

While the village board has yet to address the possibility of selling Kuechmann, two residents spoke out against the idea during public comment time at a meeting this week.

Tree commission member Mary Kozub, a longtime environmental and conservation educator, said elected officials should recognize the importance of green space and that Kuechmann Park is one of the few areas of public access to the lake.

"Kuechmann Park always has been a soft spot for me," Kozub said.

Resident Tom Griffith questioned how much Lake Zurich's bottom line would be boosted through a sale of Kuechmann. He lives on Old Rand near the park.

"That would be a shame and it would be unprecedented for the village to be in the business of buying and selling beautiful properties like that," Griffith said.

Kuechmann Park's lack of use, deteriorating playground equipment and other problems were cited in Recreation Manager Dave Peterson's recommendation to sell the roughly 8 acres. It was estimated 3 percent of Lake Zurich households visit Kuechmann Park in a typical year, according to a 2011 village report.

Dawn Brazier, the lone dissenter in the park and recreation advisory board's 6-1 vote in favor of selling Kuechmann, said she views the land as a place to offer nature events and special recreation programs.

Officials said plans call for Kuechmann Park's playground equipment to be dismantled and given to the nonprofit Kids Around the World. The organization makes needed repairs to the equipment and donates it to Third World countries.

Village research shows the property was purchased for $572,500 from John and Martha Metropulos in December 1989. The most recent appraisal from December 2012 pegged the land at $900,000.

Kuechmann's name was placed on the park in April 1991. A dedication ceremony was held six months later.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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