[Eric Schelkopf - email@example.com]
The Park District purchased Graf Park in 1972 from William and Bernice Graf for $145,500, he said.
"Our legal review of the related purchase documents in our possession identifies no covenants or restrictions of record on the transaction with the Grafs," Benard said.
He said he is still researching whether a state grant that was used to help cover the costs of the park purchase dictates how the land should be used. Benard said he expects to make a formal and final recommendation to the Park District Board of Commissioners in the next two weeks about the proposed land swap.
In response, the Save Graf Park group wrote a letter to Benard and the Park District board.
"This particular proposal does not yield significant benefits to the school district nor is it necessary for the school district, while it greatly reduces the value and usability of a cherished regional park," the group stated in the Oct. 2 letter. "Graf is significantly more used than the fields behind Jefferson. It draws people from a great distance around it, not just the immediate neighborhood. ... Right now Graf is a regional park, but if it is split into two, it would become two smaller neighborhood parks each hidden behind other buildings out of view from Manchester Road, lowering the value of each."
The group also took issue with Benard's contention that about two acres of the 4.5 acres would be left as green space.
"The remaining land that would still be lawn is not usable in the same manner that a park is and is no where close to being equivalent," the group stated in its letter.