Fearing the Itasca Country Club property could be developed, a group of residents is trying to get the village and DuPage County Forest Preserve District involved in an effort to protect the site.
Members of Conserve Itasca Open Space started contacting elected officials after the country club's mortgage was sold to an individual whose identity has not been made public. They're concerned the mortgage holder might gain ownership of the site at 400 East Orchard St. and then seek to develop it.
Itasca resident Mariann Krewenka wrote in a July 31 email to forest preserve commissioners that the country club, founded in 1926, "is being threatened by development."
"Aside from losing this 125-acre natural habitat along with its recreational amenities," Krewenka wrote, "we are extremely concerned about the enormous impact any development will have on our already existing flooding issues throughout the surrounding areas."
Krewenka said she fears the development is planned to take place "in the very near future."
Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn, however, said the mortgage holder has assured the village the golf course will remain as it is "for some period of time."
"He expressed to the village that he's got no plans to develop the property at this point," Pruyn said Monday. "No development plans have been presented to the village."
That hasn't stopped the residents from trying to persuade the village to take action.
In her email to the forest preserve district, Krewenka said residents would like to see the golf course get a conservation easement to preserve and protect the site as open space.
Whether the forest preserve district will get involved is unclear. District officials are planning to meet Tuesday with representatives from the village and Itasca Park District.
"I have no idea what they're going to propose or what the purpose of the meeting is," Pruyn said.
In the meantime, Pruyn said, there's very little the village can do if the mortgage holder acquires the golf course and decides to develop it.
Even if Itasca condemned the property, it doesn't have enough money to buy the land, Pruyn said.
"I don't really know what the village could do at this point," he said.
Pruyn said the land is zoned for residential use and would need to be subdivided before it could be developed.
"The village hasn't had much discussion about what we would do if development (is proposed)," he said. "It's something we'll probably discuss in the next six months or so. But I don't think it's anything that will happen quick."
Phone and email messages to a representative for the country club weren't returned on Monday.