Schaumburg to clean up site for future development

Posted3/23/2010 12:01 AM

Schaumburg is planning to pay $75,000 for the environmental cleanup of a 54-acre former farm being set aside for future development.

The move is the next and hoped-for final step in a long process with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to ready the site for a more productive future.


The land lies in the far southwest corner of the village, south and west of St. John Lutheran Church at Irving Park and Rodenburg roads.

Though the only prior use of the property was agricultural, the IEPA once tagged the site as a landfill - village officials believe unfairly - because it had once been seen as an ideal place for illegal dumping in the 1970s.

The village acquired the Murzyn-Anderson property for $7.8 million in three purchases between 2003 and 2007. But officials then spent two years working just to get the landfill classification removed from the IEPA's books, Village Manager Ken Fritz said.

He admits that some level of environmental cleanup is necessary, simply for the spillage of oil and other materials from the farm vehicles that were once used there. But the landfill classification would have required a whole different level of cleanup than the site's farming background truly deserves, Fritz said.

The upcoming cleanup will win the village a certificate freeing any future buyer from having to undertake such an effort again.

"It's just going to make the land more valuable in the future," Fritz said.

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Officials' interest in the property comes from its being the last undeveloped site of significant size in Schaumburg - the last place any new major project of the kind the village is known for to go.

The Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, for example, occupies only 45 acres with enough room left for a potential 2,400-seat performing arts theater.

The village hopes to one day sell this site to a private developer with a plan for the entire property, but so far has not heard from one, Fritz said.

Trustees Tuesday night will vote on a contract for Christopher B. Burke Engineering of Rosemont to do the cleanup.

The village is also planning to apply for a zero-interest loan from the IEPA that would pay up to 80 percent of the cleanup costs and not require repayment for 17 years.

Under the conditions of the loan, repayment would be waived altogether if the site is still not generating revenue after 17 years. But every effort must be made to market the site for its best use or sell it at fair market value before repayment would be waived.