Homer Glen mulls what to do with Woodbine property
By Michelle Mullins Correspondent June 9, 2014 10:48PM
The village of Homer Glen recently purchased the Woodbine Golf Course from which it will create a 100-acre community park. | Susan DeMar Lafferty/Sun Times Media
Updated: July 12, 2014 6:18AM
Homer Glen residents have a myriad of ideas for the more than 100 acres of land the village recently bought to turn into its first village hall and parks complex.
A swimming pool, a skate park, an amphitheater.
A skate rink, a stocked fishing pond, outdoor basketball courts.
Lacrosse, football and soccer fields, baseball diamonds and practice space.
Residents attended a special village board meeting on Monday to offer their input on how to best utilize the 103-acre Woodbine banquet hall, golf course and land the village bought in December for $3.3 million.
The first project, according to village officials, is to transform the existing banquet hall into the village hall. The village board in May selected Itasca-based Williams Architects from 22 interested firms to design the new village hall.
Next, would be to transform the land into a community park for both passive and active recreation, village officials said. Woodbine plans to stay open throughout 2014, and no plans have been determined for the property.
Several neighbors to the Woodbine Golf Course said they are concerned about increased flooding from an area that is already prone to flood.
Bob Bennett, whose home backs up to the golf course, said the board needs to correct the flooding in the area before it alters the land.
“You can’t walk in with bulldozers and change the topography of the property,” Bennett said. “Please keep the surrounding residents in mind.”
Mayor Jim Daley said that now that the village owns the land, it can work with engineers to help solve the flooding issues.
“Drainage will definitely be addressed,” Daley said.
Other neighbors were concerned with increased noise, traffic and lighting, especially if ball fields are built on the land.
Brian Krockey, a representative of Friends of Homer Youth Sports, urged the board to use the land for the children who participate in football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball and other sports. Children don’t have adequate places to practice, and youth sports provides important life lessons to the children of the community, he said.
Krockey said the village can balance conservation and parks and use the land to create a sports complex along with walking trails, ponds and a community center.
Paul Hildebranski agreed that the sports programs “need help.”
“We have a wonderful opportunity to mold this piece of property,” he said. “Homer Glen is a family-based community. I think this park would be a great asset.”
Other residents said that the village should work to include children and families that are not sports-minded. Resident Veronica Staudt said the village should offer community groups, reading and chess clubs, theater classes and mom-and-tot classes within the village hall space.
JoAnn Sworan said that she pays for her family to swim in other towns’ community pools and thought the Woodbine property would be a nice location for a village pool. She also said the village needs to keep in mind both the elderly and special needs children.
Sworan also suggested using the land for summer camps, a skate park, walking trails, picnic shelters and opportunities to buy a brick paver or tree in honor or memory of a family.
Lisa Castaneda told the village board to remember its commitment to nature when transforming the golf course property.
“Most of us appreciate the beauty of nature,” she said. “When a tree falls, we plant another.”
Most residents in attendance cautioned the village board to go slow and notify the public before making any decisions.
Residents also cautioned that they don’t want new taxes to pay for the community parks and village hall projects.