Months after South Barrington parks commissioner quit, successor named

Four months after a South Barrington Park District board member resigned because of threatening and insulting emails she received from residents over a proposed land deal, the panel has chosen her successor.

Former Commissioner John Kazmier will fill the vacancy on the five-member board created when Shelby Elias quit in September.

Kazmier was on the board from 2005 to May 2023. He served as its president for several years.

The board selected Kazmier for the volunteer post during its meeting Thursday night. His swearing-in wasn’t immediately scheduled.

Kazmier was the best candidate for the job because he’s “very knowledgeable” about the issues facing the district, Executive Director Jay Morgan said.

Chief among those issues is the fate of district-owned land at Bartlett Road and Route 59, a site sometimes called “Area N.” Voters authorized an auction in April 2023, but dozens of residents protested once a Schaumburg-based religious group called Fourth Avenue Gospel Building Inc. was identified as the potential buyer.

Fourth Avenue is owned and operated by a suburban congregation of a relatively small organization called the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church. Fourth Avenue representatives said they wanted to build a house of worship and a school on the land, which was a privately owned tree nursery before the district acquired it in 2003.

The $1.7 million sale to Fourth Avenue was scrapped in September, on the same night Elias resigned. Elias cited angry emails she and other parks officials received from residents about the land deal as the reason she stepped down.

Kazmier will finish Elias’ term, set to expire in spring 2025. He doesn’t plan to run for a full, six-year term, Morgan said.

Kazmier couldn’t be reached for comment.

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