Maintenance facility still vexing for DuPage forest preserve candidates
Dewey Pierotti has made plenty of tough decisions during his 16 years as president of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.
But when it comes to a proposal to build a new maintenance garage in Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville, the incumbent Republican has no intention of casting a tiebreaking vote.
"I have already told the board it has to be a 4 to 2 vote, one way or the other, Pierotti said this week during a Daily Herald endorsement interview. "If it's 3 to 3, I am not going to vote.
If the board eventually votes to spend $7.5 million to put the facility in the preserve near the McKee Marsh off Mack Road, Pierotti said the issue shouldn't be decided by one person.
"When you have an expenditure of that much money, it should be decided by a supermajority, he said.
Meanwhile, the Democrat looking to replace Pierotti criticized forest preserve commissioners for not taking action sooner.
"It's been 13 months of silence from the board, said Dennis Clark, who is one of the residents who have been opposing the plan. "We think that's an adequate time to come up with a solution to where they're going to go.
"I think there's some problems with the board getting together to come up with a solution, he added.
Pierotti said the reason a final decision hasn't been made is because forest preserve officials are seeking alternate sites for the proposed 16-bay, 29,000-square-foot garage.
"We're doing our due diligence, he said.
Right now, half the district's vehicle maintenance work is done at an existing Blackwell facility and the rest is done at Churchill Woods Forest Preserve near Glen Ellyn.
District officials have said the Blackwell site was selected for the proposed garage, in part, because the land has been used for similar purposes for roughly 30 years and Blackwell is centrally located.
One alternative option the forest preserve district is considering is whether to buy a former car dealership for its maintenance needs.
Pierotti said moving the district's fleet operations into a former car dealership requires study because there are numerous factors that must be considered, including cost and concerns about traffic.
In addition, towns might object to seeing even a vacant property taken off the tax rolls.
"All these things have to be factored in, Pierotti said. "We're not working in a vacuum. We have to take into consideration what the affect is going to be on the total community.