Oak Brook Park District hopes to buy vacant land

 
 
Updated 9/10/2018 9:24 PM
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  • Oak Brook Park District is seeking permission from voters to borrow $17.9 million to buy roughly 34 acres known as the McDonald's Soccer Fields.

    Oak Brook Park District is seeking permission from voters to borrow $17.9 million to buy roughly 34 acres known as the McDonald's Soccer Fields. Courtesy of the Oak Brook Park District

Oak Brook Park District is starting to educate residents about its proposal to acquire roughly 34 acres of open space for recreational activities.

Meanwhile, a new citizens group is asking voters to support a Nov. 6 ballot measure that would give the district permission to buy the land known as the McDonald's Soccer Fields. The vacant land is south of Kensington Road, between Route 83 and Jorie Boulevard.

Park officials say the relocation of McDonald's corporate offices to Chicago created an opportunity for the district to get additional open space and park land.

"We get requests all the time from the community for more space, more walking trails," Executive Director Laure Kosey said.

So commissioners decided to put a question on the November ballot asking if the district should borrow $17.9 million to purchase the land from McDonald's.

If voters approve, the district would increase property taxes to generate the money needed to repay the loan over 20 years. It would cost the owner of a $1 million home an estimated $266 more a year in property taxes to the district.

If it's able to get the land, the district's plan is to maintain it as open recreational space. The site has been used as soccer fields in the past.

A group working to get the ballot measure approved -- Supporters of the Oak Brook Park Referendum -- says the district would be able to improve the site with new amenities so it could be used for outdoor recreation and youth sports purposes.

If the measure fails, the group says it's "highly likely" that hundreds of multifamily units will be built on the property "thereby adding serious traffic, floodplain and other water problems to the area."

"We must act now to preserve these 34 acres in the heart of Oak Brook," Ray Cesca, one of the group's co-chairmen, said in a statement. "This is our last chance to preserve a large parcel of open space and protect it from becoming a massive development."

In the meantime, the district is inviting the public to a series of open houses about the proposal to preserve the 34-acre property.

Residents attending any of the three meetings can get information and provide feedback before the election.

The first open house is planned for 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Family Recreation Center, 1450 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. A second is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the recreation center. The third will be from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 5 at the recreation center.

For more information, visit obparks.org.

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