New Carol Stream library board may sell land
A vacant 7.5-acre property owned by the Carol Stream Public Library could soon be going on the market.
The land at 480 N. Kuhn Road was purchased by the library in 2003 with intentions of using it for a new library facility, but voters rejected those plans in three separate referendums.
Last year, the library board voted 4-3 to hold onto the property, but now, a new board that could have the votes to overturn that decision is revisiting the issue.
"Right now that land is nothing but a cost to us and a cost to the taxpayers," library board member Jerry Clark said Monday during a meeting of the board's facilities committee. "They have told us three times no. If a boss tells you three times no, you better be listening or you better be looking for a new job."
Board president Mike Wade, a longtime opponent of a new library on Kuhn Road, said the library would have to seek approval from the village to hire a Realtor to begin the sales process. That's because the village -- not the library -- is a home rule authority.
The authorization allowing the library to use the village's home rule authority would come in the form of an intergovernmental agreement subject to the approval of both the village and library boards.
Along with Wade and Clark, library board members David DeRango and Dominick Jeffrey have previously expressed preference for selling the land.
Wade said the library could use proceeds from the sale to "hold taxes down" and increase services to patrons through the purchase of e-readers or smartboards, for example.
"There are a number of things this library could use that money for to improve its service to the community," Wade said.
Board member Mary Hudspeath, a longtime supporter of plans for a new library, said it would be to the "financial detriment" of the library to sell the property.
"Unloading this property in the worst real estate market in our lifetime is not being good financial stewards," Hudspeath said. "There's been no plan for a new library, and you can say 'three times' as often as you like, but that's been no point of active discussion for four years. It's one of your excuses for unloading a library asset."
Wade said the board could accept or decline purchase offers, and he predicted it could take up to 10 years to sell the property.
"I don't see this as a discussion about whether or not to have a new library," Wade said. "But the discussion is after nine years, should we have some other use of that land?"
One of the options, Wade said, would be to sell it.
Library board members Monday agreed to postpone a decision on seeking the agreement with the village until getting more definitive answers from representatives of another governmental agency -- the park district -- who have expressed interest in a multiyear lease agreement for trails or other recreational uses on the library's land.
That could allow the property to be tax-exempt, parks officials say.
But the park district has proposed only paying the library a "nominal" fee, and library board members indicated they might not be interested if the park district's offer isn't particularly large.
Park District Executive Director Arnie Biondo said late Monday leases the park district has with other governmental agencies are typically for a $1 a year.