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Park district buys foreclosed subdivision

Will turn The Ravines area into nature preserve

Published: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 5:00 a.m. CST

CHANNAHON – The Channahon Park District is not getting into the real estate business, but it has purchased a village subdivision.

CPD Executive Director Chuck Szoke confirmed that, earlier this month, the district purchased the approximately 12-acre site originally designed as a 55-and-older senior-living subdivision called The Ravines of Channahon.

The subdivision was one of several in town that went into foreclosure with the recession.

Szoke said plans are to use the area, surrounded by other park district property and adjacent to the DuPage River and the I & M Canal, to enhance the outdoor experience of residents and visitors to the community. It lies just north of U.S. 6.

“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.”

The site already has one duplex condo built on it, with half of the building now owned by the park district and the other half occupied by residents, Dan and Mary Kiedrow. They appeared at last week’s Channahon Village Board meeting asking for help from village trustees.

The couple said they love their home and don’t want to move.

“Help us however you can,” Mary Kiedrow told the board. “We’re not sure what to do about it.”

Szoke, however, said there must be a misunderstanding, because the Kiedrows have been told they do not have to leave their home.

“We did not acquire their property,” he said of the Kiedrow’s 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 condo and, is in fact, seeking renters for the other unit.

Channahon Park District board member Tom Lesniak said the current residents have nothing to fear, adding the park district will be very good neighbors to them. A landscape design firm is currently working on plans for the park, and Lesniak said it is going to be a beautiful addition to the village.

Some on the village board expressed surprise last week to learn of the land purchase, but Channahon Director of Community Development Mike McMahon said staff have met with Szoke to discuss the project and to go over various development issues.

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 with the residents to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

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