Burr Ridge Agency To 'Squeeze Every Little Thing' For Land: Official

BURR RIDGE, IL – The Burr Ridge Park District has released its 16-minute recording of a meeting that the attorney general determined was illegally closed.

The focus of the July meeting was selling land related to a planned commercial development on the CNH Industrial property, which is next to Harvester Park.

Under state law, the board could have discussed setting the price for its land in a closed session. But other issues discussed in the meeting should have been addressed in public, including drainage, the park’s bird habitat and state grants.

Find out what's happening in Burr Ridgewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

At the time, Burr Ridge was keeping Bridge Industrial’s plan – including a proposed Costco – secret from the public.

It was such a secret that Village Administrator Evan Walter told Patch a year ago that he was unaware of the possibility of a Costco coming to town.

Find out what's happening in Burr Ridgewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Yet he had been emailing for months about the proposed Costco, even telling its representative that a Costco was a must in the development.

The village wanted the park board to keep the issue under wraps.

But the village later blamed a park board member for leaking the development’s concept to neighbors, who were upset about being left out of the loop. As a result of the frustration, the village revealed to the public what was going on in early August.

In the closed session recording, Jim Pacanowski, the park district’s director, was the only one who could be heard. The board members were barely audible.

It was unclear what land the park district would sell and to whom.

“Let’s see what kind of reaction we get to $2 million, and then you know it’s a negotiation,” Pacanowski said. “We’ll be tenacious and squeeze every little thing we can for this property. This opportunity won’t knock on the door again.”

He also talked about how the bird population was declining, while invasive plants were on the increase. South of the ball field, he said, no birds are seen.

“There’s nothing to perch on. There’s nothing to feed on,” Pacanowski said. “It’s all garbage habitat.”

Changing that situation, he said, would prove costly, so the district would need a state grant.

Pacanowski also praised the village for looping in the park district about the development. He said the village was putting a lot of faith and trust in the district.

“You don’t see that type of relationship between park districts and villages,” Pacanowski said.

Last month, Bridge Industrial submitted its application to the village for the development. It does not include a Costco.

In February, the attorney general issued its determination in response to complaints filed by watchdog Edgar Pal and resident Lisa Turano. This was after Patch ran a story questioning the legality of the closed meeting.

Pacanowski could not be immediately reached for comment.

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