Forest preserve district wants Elburn business site

The Kane County Forest Preserve District wants to use the former Patten Rental business in Elburn as its new natural resources work facility, but village officials are not entirely thrilled by the idea.

The village board is due to discuss the matter, for a second time, at its committee of the whole meeting Monday night. That follows the regular meeting, which is at 6:45 p.m. at village hall, 301 E. North St.

The business has been vacant for several years, according to the forest preserve district. It consists of two 9.14-acre parcels. The northern parcel, with buildings, is in the incorporated limits of Elburn, which is why the forest preserve district needs the village's permission to buy it.

The district would house its six full-time natural resources workers there, as well as 10 seasonal workers. It would also train volunteers there.

Its natural resources staff currently works out of a house and farmstead in Aurora. The district wants to centralize and expand the operation.

At a June 1 meeting, Elburn officials said they would prefer that a property tax paying, potentially sales tax-generating business be on the property, according to the minutes. The village receives $1,300 in property taxes from the property. They asked forest preserve district officials to return with an answer as to what Elburn would get out of the deal, if it approved the purchase. Trustee William Grabarek suggested, for example, that the forest preserve district consider building a pedestrian bridge at Johnson Mound Forest Preserve, which is near Elburn.

In a June 9 letter to the village, district Executive Director Monica Meyers pointed out that the staff and volunteers would likely patronize Elburn businesses, buying lunch, gasoline and other items. The district is also amenable to selling the southern portion of the land, if a buyer can be found, she wrote.

The district prefers to adapt an existing building rather than building a new one, Meyers said. The forest preserve district had been working on plans to build a facility on Silver Glen Road.

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