The Examiner U-46 News Feed
U-46 Board elects to put land parcel up for sale
By Seth Hancock
The Board of Education in School District U-46 voted to allow the district to put up for public sale about 12.16 acres of land called the Jacaranda Property in Bartlett at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 16.
Jeff King, chief Operations officer, said it was “excess property around Hawk Hollow Elementary” and the board approved the sale by a 6-0-1 vote, Jeanette Ward voting present.
The proposal was presented at the Nov. 2 meeting, and Bartlett resident Art Pierscionek said during public comments that since then he’s spoken to residents near the property who “think it’s pretty useful so they were surprised that it’s being sold.” He wanted to know more details.
Ward questioned the proposal, but her ultimate decision on the vote rested on the district’s plan on how to use the proceeds of the sale which have been earmarked for going towards the implementation of full-day kindergarten if that is approved later by the board.
Ward said she was “on the fence… because it’s being used to defray the cost of full-day kindergarten which I don’t support. On the other hand, I don’t think that a public body should hold onto land that it doesn’t need.”
During the discussion, Ward asked if the property would be sold even without full-day kindergarten, which King said it would, “but the revenue from it is to be used to defray the initial investment, correct?” King confirmed that.
The appraisal of the property was $1.5 million, but Ward noted that in the district’s original proposal for full-day kindergarten the administration’s expectation was markedly less at $900,000 being expected.
King said he provided “the estimate before we had the appraisal finished” and used a “previous offer” as his basis for the $900,000 total.
The district “did attempt to sell the property in 2001, 2002” according to King, and Ward asked why it was not sold at the time. King said it “fell through due to issues with DuPage County over the wetlands.”
Ward learned from constituents that a Bartlett youth football team has used the property for practice as well as physical education teachers at the elementary school for instructions and she said some constituents fear parking and safety issues with 17-plus lots being rumored to be built there.
“So the Bartlett Hawks have used several of our properties in the past, so I’m sure that we could work with them to find an alternative location,” King said. “As far as the school use, there is several acres of property on the other side of the school which the school predominantly uses.”
On the safety and parking concerns, King said: “This school in particular has probably more parking than our average school, so I don’t necessarily see that as an issue. As far as any safety concerns, we can address them with the village or any parties that are concerned regarding traffic flow.”
Ward said she heard there could be some concerns raised by property owners near the Jacaranda Property based on what is constructed, but U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said he’s “not ever had citizens raise concerns around construction in the surrounding areas of a school.”
Both Phil Costello and Cody Holt voted in favor of the sale but did have some questions. During the presentation before the board’s discussion, King said the district is trying to finalize the sale with “a developer that would eventually develop the property and build homes in that location.”
Costello asked if others could still present a bid to purchase the property, specifically the Village of Bartlett if it were deemed useful for public use.
King said it would go out for public bid and Costello said: “For that reason, that’s why I would say if we don’t need it we should not have it and we should do everything we can to sell it.”
Holt asked if the district believes “this is the best time to sell the property,” or is the district just selling it to fund the full-day kindergarten plan. Holt earlier in the meeting said he was unsure of how he plans to vote on full-day kindergarten when the proposal comes to the board.
“Well, I’m not in the business of trying to time the market for property,” said King who added the reserve price was previously lower leading him to believe this was a good time to sell.
“I do support this,” Holt said. “I do support government bodies, when they own portions of land we’re not using, selling” the excess property.