Blackberry Township may join park partnership with Elburn and Shodeen to develop new park

Costs would be reduced for all three entities if township approves

ELBURN – Blackberry Township may join Elburn and the Shodeen Group in paying for a park in Elburn Station, cutting the costs for both the village and the developer by one-third.

The agreement still needs the approval of the Township Board, but according to Elburn Village Administrator John Nevenhoven, Township Supervisor Esther Steel is on board.

Efforts to reach Steel for confirmation were not successful by press time.

The village and the Shodeen Group were successful in applying for a grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) Program to help pay for the park. The grant is for $400,000, a 50 percent match for phase one of the park, an $800,000 project.

The village and Shodeen were to be responsible for half of the remaining $400,000 or $200,000 apiece. If Blackberry Township commissioners approve the partnership, that amount will be reduced to $133,000 for each of the three entities.

The 20-acre parcel, although it is located within the Elburn Station subdivision, would be a community park available for use by residents in Elburn and the surrounding community, including Blackberry Township.

“That could be a good partnership for the village,” said Park Commission Chair Dan Kolzow at the commission’s June 20 meeting.

According to the concept plan, phase one of the park includes a tennis court, three pickle ball courts, two half-court basketball courts, a playground, shelter and parking lot.

Blackberry Township, until recently, had hoped to help develop a sports complex on 62 acres west of Route 47 on Bateman Road through an intergovernmental agreement with the Kane County Forest Preserve District. The township was to assist in developing the property into sports fields, in cooperation with local youth sport groups – soccer, football, baseball and softball, and lacrosse, and each sport group was to be responsible for raising the money and development of their own designated spaces. The necessary funding never materialized.

The village is also considering applying for a second grant from OSLAD to develop a smaller, 5-acre park, also within the Elburn Station subdivision, to the east of the 20-acre community park. This proposal still needs village board approval. If approved, the park commission will be looking for feedback during a public hearing at its July 16 meeting on ideas for what kinds of amenities residents would like to see in that park.

Grant applications are due on Aug. 19., so the timing is tight, said Nevenhoven.