Elk Grove Park District may be interested in buying Dist. 59 site

 
 
Posted10/29/2015 5:40 AM
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  • The Elk Grove Park District maintains four soccer fields on District 59 property behind the Pavilion, and park officials say they may be interested in buying the land if District 59 is selling.

      The Elk Grove Park District maintains four soccer fields on District 59 property behind the Pavilion, and park officials say they may be interested in buying the land if District 59 is selling. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

The Elk Grove Park District may be interested in purchasing the old Lively Junior High School site if Elk Grove Township District 59 decides to sell the space, the park board's president said Wednesday.

District 59 officials revealed this week they're considering whether to sell or build on properties the district owns, including the eight-acre Lively site, located directly south of the park district Pavilion and east of Leicester Road. A 2001 intergovernmental agreement allows the park district to use the open fields where the school once stood for free, as long as it cuts the grass.

Preserving the land as open space is the park district's preference, said park board President Bill O'Malley.

"Elk Grove is landlocked, no matter where you go. There is no open space," O'Malley said. "We would love to continue to keep open space (there). It's at a premium."

District 59 Superintendent Art Fessler said if the school board decides to sell the Lively property, he assumes there would be discussion with the park district about a possible purchase.

Earlier in the week, Fessler announced that the school board is considering a sale of its administration center building at 2123 S. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights and the former Wellington restaurant site it owns next door. The district could use proceeds from a sale to build a new administration center at the Lively site.

Another option is to make renovations to the current administration building that would improve training space for teachers and staff, and install a new parking lot where the Wellington was torn down.

Officials say they plan to have community forums and conduct an online survey to gauge the public's feedback on whether to sell or build on any of those properties.

Fessler said school officials want to make a decision soon because the real estate market is good.

Currently, the park district maintains four soccer fields at the Lively site, and hosts other programming such as summer camps and the annual Elk Grove Challenge Triathlon.

If the park district has to relocate that programming elsewhere, it would be an "inconvenience," O'Malley said, though he added the district does have enough capacity at other locations.

O'Malley said if school district officials decide to put the property up for sale, he's hopeful they'll talk with the park board. So far, park district commissioners haven't had any formal discussion on the topic, but O'Malley anticipates they may, in order to do their "due diligence."

The Lively site, like other school properties in Elk Grove, is zoned for residential use. If an administration center is built there and any village approvals are needed, Fessler said initial conversations with village officials indicated it wouldn't be a problem.

"District 59 has an excellent working relationship with Elk Grove Village," Fessler said. "While there are some jurisdictional boundaries with respect to zoning, construction and stormwater management, we have always mutually respected and worked together through these issues."

Mayor Craig Johnson said the village looks forward to working with District 59 officials regarding the Lively property.

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