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Downers Grove Park District to buy 14.8 acres for $4.5M

DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Park District has approved purchasing 14.8 acres of land for future development.

The district has agreed to pay $304,054 per acre for the property, located at the intersection of Ogden and Walnut avenues, directly north of the Walnut Avenue sports field, according to a district news release. A deal has been reached and the entire property will cost $4.5 million, although the sale has not yet closed.

The district will close on the property this summer, and will pay for the land by issuing bonds, according to district Board of Commissioners President Matt Cushing. The bonds will be repaid through district operating funds.

"We do not intend a tax raise to pay for this," Cushing said.

The board will have a public hearing at 7 p.m. May 21 at the village hall, 801 Burlington Ave., to discuss the funding of the project. The district published a notice of intent May 13 to issue the $4.5 million in limited tax park bonds.

The current owner of the property is the Alter Group, according to the release, and Alter will retain 3.33 acres of land on Ogden Avenue for future commercial development.

Cushing said the property, which the district hopes to eventually turn into sports fields, has been on its wish list for 20 years.

"That is one of the biggest needs we have right now," he said.

The land will remain undeveloped until a firm plan is established for it, according to Cushing.

Board Vice President Bob Gelwicks also felt it was important to take advantage of the land.

“We recognize that there is an increasing need for field space in Downers Grove and with land prices and interest rates at historical lows, this is the ideal time to purchase and add this property to our inventory,” he said in the release.

Commissioners unanimously approved authorizing the district to buy the property at its April 16 meeting.

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