Lawmaker Weighs In On White Pines Sale

BENSENVILLE, IL – A Democratic state lawmaker is calling for a referendum to let voters decide whether to sell part of the White Pines Golf Club in Bensenville.

On Tuesday, Rep. Kathleen Willis of Addison wrote a letter about the potential sale of nearly half of the 260-acre club, which is a few blocks north of the Elmhurst city limit.

Willis pushed for the legislation to give the Bensenville Park District the power to sell up to 125 acres of the club. Under the law, the district has that authority through mid-2024.

The park board has yet to make a decision on a sale, but residents have come out on both sides of the issue.

"Due to the number of rumors and speculations, I urge the Park District Board to show full transparency," Willis said in her statement. "I encourage the board to share the various development proposals."

Willis requested the board to share plans for the development of other parks and buildings in town. It should also discuss the financial advantages of a sale, she said.

She said the park district should hold a referendum to get the public’s feedback on the idea.

A couple of weeks ago, Bensenville Village President Frank DeSimone also urged the district to hold a referendum.

In an interview Wednesday, Joe Vallez, the park district’s executive director, said the district has not excluded the possibility of a referendum. But he said the park board wanted to make sure it was not held during a low turnout election.

"If any public body goes to a referendum and gets a low turnout, there would definitely be questions about the validity of the vote," Vallez said. "The park district is going to do a survey. Our goal is to get as many residents as possible to give their opinion. The board would take those comments and see what is the best direction, if any."

With the declining use of the club, the park district says the proceeds of a sale could help the district upgrade its other facilities.

Nearby residents, though, contend a sale could result in light industrial development that would worsen traffic, noise and flooding.

The park district says a sale could generate up to $150 million.

via Elmhurst, IL Patch

June 6, 2022 at 04:51PM

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