Forest preserve buildings could be razed near Glendale Heights

  • The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County could ask the village of Glendale Heights to raze a former guard house and barn at the East Branch Forest Preserve. The village had been leasing the structures since 2000.

    The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County could ask the village of Glendale Heights to raze a former guard house and barn at the East Branch Forest Preserve. The village had been leasing the structures since 2000. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/12/2017 7:30 PM

A former guard house at the East Branch Forest Preserve that Glendale Heights officials once planned to transform into a senior center could be demolished by the village.

Seventeen years ago, Glendale Heights decided to rent the vacant house on roughly 3 acres along Glen Ellyn Road. As part of the lease, the village agreed to pay the Forest Preserve of DuPage County, which owns the property, $1 a year through 2040.

 

At the time the lease was signed, the village was planning to turn the one-story house into a recreation facility for seniors. The property's barn and garage were going to be used by the village for storage.

But Glendale Heights never developed the senior center at the East Branch Forest Preserve. The village instead spent $3 million to build its Center for Senior Citizens at 260 Civic Center Plaza. That facility opened in 2010.

The barn no longer is being used for storage, and the garage was destroyed in a fire, forest preserve officials said.

"Basically, they (Glendale Heights officials) acknowledge that their plans didn't work out," said Ed Stevenson, the district's acting executive director. "They acknowledge they weren't going to do anything with those structures."

So forest preserve commissioners on Tuesday are going to talk about whether they want Glendale Heights to demolish the remaining structures. The discussion will take place during a planning session meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. at the district headquarters, 3S580 Naperville Road, Wheaton.

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Holly Beth Wood, Glendale Heights' administrative services manager, said the village is prepared to remove the buildings. But it needs permission from the forest preserve to do it.

"We've come to the determination that it's costly to attempt to maintain them," said Wood, adding that there's been some vandalism. "So we're working with the forest preserve to obtain permission to go ahead and demolish those facilities."

Under the lease agreement, the deal can be terminated if the village isn't using the property.

Once the lease is terminated, the document says, the district can decide to have Glendale Heights demolish and remove the structures and restore the property to "a natural area acceptable to the district." All costs associated with the demolition and restoration work "shall be paid by the village." according to the lease.

Forest preserve officials say the house never was improved.

"These buildings have continued to be on the landscape," Stevenson said. "They're in disrepair."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Stevenson said it "just makes sense" for the district to have the village raze the buildings and create additional open space at the East Branch Forest Preserve.

It hasn't yet been determined how much the demolition project would cost, village officials said.

If forest preserve commissioners decide to pursue the demolition, a resolution needs to be drafted. A final vote would be taken on June 20.

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