Carol Stream library board votes to sell land

A For Sale sign could soon be going up at 480 N. Kuhn Road — a controversial 7½-acre vacant piece of land owned by the Carol Stream Public Library.

The library board voted 6-1 Monday to list the property with Wheaton-based Realty Executives, whose Realtors have previously estimated the land to be worth $1,897,000.

The land was purchased by the library in 2003 with intentions of building a new library facility there, but voters rejected those plans in three separate referendums.

The village, as the library’s corporate authority, has the first right to buy or lease the land before the library solicits offers from others.

Last week, Realty Executives was one of two real estate firms that provided the library board with an estimated value price for the land. The other, Re/Max Associates West in Bartlett, valued the land at about $1,167,000.

A May 2011 appraisal by North Aurora-based Krueger Appraisal Services estimated the land’s value at $580,000.

Library officials Monday said an official price would be announced once a listing agreement is complete.

Last year, library Trustees Mike Wade, Dominick Jeffrey and David DeRango — all longtime opponents of a new library — proposed the land be put up for sale, but were on the losing end of a 4-3 vote. Since then, there’s been a shift in the board majority after longtime Trustees Rob Douglas and Tom Arends stepped down and Jerry Clark and Susan Galle were appointed.

But Monday’s vote in favor of a sale also included a longtime supporter of a new library — Trustee Mary Hudspeath — who said she’s not against a sale, but isn’t optimistic it will take place anytime soon due to the state of the economy.

The lone vote against the sale was Trustee Jim Bailey.

The decision came after an earlier meeting Monday night in which library trustees and park district officials discussed a potential lease deal for the land to be used as park space.

Wade said there’s a consensus of library trustees who would still be interested in such an arrangement — even if the property is eventually sold.

“We don’t see this as a fast sale,” Wade said. “I look at this as long-term and a win-win for both of us.”

Park district Executive Director Arnie Biondo said there would be minimal costs involved in making the land parklike, which could include adding mulch, park benches and picnic tables.

“We’re in the business of preserving green space and making green space available to the community, so it’s right up our alley,” Biondo said.

Added park board President Brenda Gramman, “From the park district board’s and staff’s perspective, any green space is good space. A passive park is, I think, desirable to the community.”

The park board is expected to discuss the proposal Dec. 10.

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