Executive Director Rogers stated that on February 16, 2016, the City Council approved the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the York Commons detention basin with a shut-off valve by a vote of 13:1. The City Council also approved an amendment to their resolution authorizing the IGA and clarifying that the shut-off valve was being approved to satisfy the District’s desires even though their expert engineer finds it an unnecessary component to the detention basin. The amended resolution does not impact the IGA. V3 Engineering emailed a draft peer review letter of the York Common plans, which the stormwater subcommittee will review and report back to the Board.
A draft of an IGA for Golden Meadows was discussed at the City’s Public Works Committee (Committee) meeting on February 22. The Committee anticipated presenting the IGA to the City Council on March 7, but had additional questions and proposed conducting due diligence. The Committee questioned whether compensation would be reduced should the site contain soil contamination, how much escrow is needed – the appraised value or the full 1.5 times the appraised value, and if the Park District was willing to approach the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) prior to reviewing the IGA to gauge IDNR’s response to an escrow account for a future land purchase for the conversion of Golden Meadows Park. The Committee will continue its discussions at its next meeting, after which the IGA will go to the City Council for review. The draft IGA for Golden Meadows has been posted on the City’s website, but it will not go to the Park District until the Council has had a chance to review.
Rogers stated that it is not advisable for the District to approach IDNR without an IGA. Board President Ubriaco added that IDNR was clear at its meeting held with Mayor Morley, her, subcommittee members, and City and Park District staff that IDNR cannot theorize possibilities but needs an agreement to make its decision.
Rogers stated that the District proposed the concept of renumeration for replacement property for up to 1.5 times the appraised value of the existing property. The Board agreed that with an IGA in hand, it will be evident to the IDNR of the seriousness of the negotiations where the City is prepared to place the appraised value of the existing property into escrow.
As a clarification, Commissioner Ubriaco stated that the Park District is requesting the City provide 1.5 times the appraised value for replacement land, not 1.5 times of replacement land because IDNR requires the District to replace parkland with like-size property and like value. At this point, the District may not have the luxury of replacing the land with like value, it may cost more. Should the replacement land cost twice the price of the appraisal, then the City would provide the 1.5 times appraised value of the park property being used and then the Park District would pay for anything over the compensated 1.5 times. Rogers added that IDNR must agree on the replacement property to ensure its comparable size, recreational usefulness, and value. The floor is appraised and the cap is the 1.5 of the appraised value. The Park Board is not looking to be compensated in any way other than replacing open space and providing comparable land with recreational usefulness to what was there.