ELBURN – Elburn Youth Baseball no longer will be able to use McNair Field in Blackberry Township after negotiations broke down with the company that owns the land.
However, the township is working with the Kane County Forest Preserve District to develop sports fields on land near McNair Field. The township had leased the land on Bateman Road for $1 a year for the benefit of Elburn Youth Baseball. It was leased from a company that owns a cellphone tower on the land, and the lease had expired in 2013.
One of the hangups in the negotiations, Blackberry Township Supervisor Fred Dornback said, was the company wanted the township to pay for all of the attorney fees in the event the company had legal concerns about the use of the property.
“Our position was that if there was a disagreement, let a court of competent jurisdiction determine who is liable for the attorney’s fees,” Dornback said. “And they would not agree to that.”
Dornback said he is trying to get about $70,000 worth of items the league installed on the field, including backstops, returned to the league. In the meantime, the township also is working with the Kane County Forest Preserve District for the construction of sports fields on a portion of the 62.67-acre Westlake parcel, near McNair Field.
The Kane County Forest Preserve District last year bought the land for about $625,000. Funds for the purchase came from the district’s open space referendum, which was approved in 2011.
The township has hired a landscape architect to design the fields, Dornback said.
He said the fields probably wouldn’t be ready until 2017. The fields would serve other groups besides Elburn Youth Baseball, he said.
“The fields could serve more than 1,500 kids,” Dornback said. “It is a big deal for the community.”