Channahon Park District buys land out of foreclosure to make new park
By Jeanne Millsap For The Herald-News October 17, 2012 8:06PM
Updated: November 19, 2012 2:59PM
CHANNAHON — Of the several residential properties in foreclosure due to the economy, one prime piece of real estate is destined to become a site of scenic and wooded recreation for area families.
Earlier this month, the Channahon Park District bought the Ravines of Channahon subdivision, just west of the DuPage River off U.S. 6. Surrounded by other park district property, the additional 12 acres will be used for recreational purposes, park district Executive Director Chuck Szoke said.
“The property is adjacent to a 60-acre park that winds through the rest of the ravines up to Bell Road,” Szoke said. “It will be a natural area with trails and nature and interpretive opportunities. The focus is on getting kids back to nature.”
Originally developed as a community of condominiums for those 55 and older, the subdivision had gone into foreclosure, Szoke aid, and the park district bought it from the bank. A landscape design firm is working on plans for the park.
“It is a very exciting project,” Szoke said, “and a unique property.”
There are two Channahon residents, however, who are not quite as happy about the deal.
Dan and Mary Kiedrow are the only two residents in the subdivision, and they say they don’t want to move.
“All the land around us belongs to the park district,” Mary Kiedrow told the Channahon Village Board this week. “And ... we have to get out.”
The Kiedrows said representatives from the district visited them and told them they would have to move, but Szoke said that just isn’t true. The park district is not kicking them out, he said.
“We did not acquire their property,” he said of the Kiedrows’ condo. “They still own it. We have met with them, and we want to continue to get their input. ... They own their property, and we will not take any action that would change that.”
Szoke said the park district will not seek eminent domain on the Kiedrows’ condo, either.
Channahon Park District board member Tom Lesniak said the park will be beautiful, and there is nothing for the residents to fear.
“We want to be good neighbors,” he said.
Channahon Director of Community Development Mike McMahon said village officials have met with Szoke to discuss the project and to go over various development issues.
Some trustees, however, said they were surprised to hear of the purchase when the residents came forward at Monday evening’s meeting.
Village President Joe Cook said he knew of the purchase, but was surprised to hear the residents say they felt like they were being pushed out.
Cook, Szoke and Lesniak said they would work with each other and the residents to make sure the transition goes smoothly.