Over the course of the last several Elmhurst Park District Board meetings, commissioners met in closed session with the Park District’s attorney to discuss a 17-foot-wide piece of property in the Pick Subdivision where the Salt Creek Greenway Trail sits. The property in question is currently open space that is surrounded by land owned by the City of Elmhurst and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. In addition to being the location of the Salt Creek Greenway Trail, it is currently the only green space available to residents of the Pick Subdivision, which became part of the Park District in 2015.
The Park District was not previously aware that the trail crossed private property, but recently we were contacted by a local developer who purchased the property in January after a tax sale. The developer requested the Park District remove the section of trail on the property or instead “swap” the parcel for other, more valuable Park District owned open space in the community.
In an effort to keep the trail intact, the Park District offered to buy the property from the developer for more than three times what the developer very recently paid for the lot. The developer declined and is now demanding that the Park District immediately remove the path.
Having to remove the existing path and realign it would necessitate closing it for months at considerable cost to tax paying residents. As a result, in closed session at its meeting on April 12, the Park Board reached consensus to pursue eminent domain against the property owner to acquire the property rather than having to remove and relocate the trail.
It is important that residents be informed about this issue as it has many potential impacts on the community. The goal of the Park District is to come to a reasonable resolution that will allow the Salt Creek Greenway Trail to remain intact and be enjoyed in its current location for generations to come.
More information will be made available on the Park District’s website in the coming weeks.