Geneva won't add to Prairie Green Preserve

Updated 10/27/2010 3:03 PM

Geneva is giving up the ability to add more land to its Prairie Green Preserve.

This week the city council agreed informally to waive the right of first refusal on five acres at 1N016 Peck Road, near the northwest corner of Peck and Keslinger roads. The official vote will be taken Nov. 1.


The owners, Clarence and Doreen Weber, have been offered $375,000 to sell it.

The city bought 80 acres of the Weber farm in 1998, and obtained the right of refusal on the 5-acre "homestead." It gives the city the right to buy the land, if it matches the price offered by another would-be buyer.

But the city doesn't have room in its budget to buy the land, City Administrator Mary McKittrick has told the council.

The city bought land for the 573-acre Prairie Green Preserve from 1998 to 2003, to preserve open space. It has established a wetland bank for water drainage management on part, is working with the Geneva Park District to create a community gardening area, and has plans for low-key recreation, such as picnicking, bird-watching, and walks through restored prairie. The amenities were to be paid for by the sale of wetland bank credits to developers of properties elsewhere in the Mill Creek Watershed. But such sales have not materialized.

The preserve touches the north and west sides of the Weber homestead; on the south is the Union Pacific Railroad.

If the sale to the Webers does not go through, the city gets its right of first refusal back.