Park Board Makes No Decision On Referendum
The park board took no action Thursday re: asking residents for more tax revenue via a referendum question on November's ballot. The district may want to buy about 7 acres of the Youth Campus site.
The fate of the Park Ridge Youth Campus is undecided after the Park Ridge Park District board's Thursday meeting.
Board members spent more than 90 minutes privately discussing whether to acquire part of the 11-acre property, only to say they would not make a decision yet.
After convening the meeting Thursday, the board asked members of the public to step out of the board room for a private discussion about purchasing the campus property at 735 N. Propect Ave.
To acquire the property, the board would have to put a referendum question on the ballot, asking residents whether they'd support a property tax increase in order to buy it.
Park district officials want to turn part of the Youth Campus, a former alternative education and residential facility for youth, into a parks facility. The ideas proposed for the park include an open sports field for lacrosse or football, a performing arts pavilion, a “splash pad” water play area, platform tennis or pickleball courts, a playground, a picnic shelter and parking.
When the board finally convened the public portion of Thursday's meeting, Board Presdent Rick Biagi said the board will take "no action at this time."
So far, the park district proposal has been met publicly with mixed results. At a July park district meeting about 100 people showed up, with some for it and others against it.
Thursday's meeting was far more subdued with less than a dozen people attending. Only one person spoke about Youth Campus before the board went into a closed session to discuss it.
"I wish to state that I am against this," said Park Ridge resident Charles Austin. "My property taxes are already $6,000 per year and I don't want my taxes to increase."
The park district – which includes parts of Niles – hasn't put a price on how much it would cost to acquire about 7 acres of the total 11-acre parcel. They also haven't discussed how much property taxes may go up for residents if they did.
If the board doesn't go through with putting a referendum question on the ballot or residents vote down a tax increase, the entire 11-acre site will be sold to developer Marc Elliott, park district officials said.
If residents vote for a tax increase, Elliott plans on buying about 4 acres of the property on the south part of the site, park district officials said.
Elliott would likely build single family homes on the property.