Village of Poplar Grove proposes neighborhood park to Belvidere Park District

Local News

All residents in Poplar Grove pay taxes, but not all of that money stays in the village as some goes to the Belvidere Park District. Now, village president Owen Costanza is calling on the park district to build a neighborhood park for those tax payers.

The Village of Poplar Grove proposes a piece of land at 211-217 Saratoga Lane in the Prairie Green Subdivision be home to that park by 2021.

Costanza says a difference in philosophies has created come challenges between the agencies.

“We all grew up in neighborhood parks,” said Village President Owen Costanza. “It’s the backbone of the neighborhood.”

“Had point blank looked at me and said ‘You’re not getting anything you’re asking for. You’re not getting a park because we don’t believe in neighborhood parks’.”

“We’re trying to find some solution that will help benefit the residents,” said Belvidere Park District Executive Director Mark Pentecost. “As we always do, we just try to make sure we’re finding some solution that would help provide the services that they’re wanting.”

The Village has offered to pay for the two acres of land and to maintain the mowing on the property but wants the park district to develop it with amenities and equipment.

“If they really are at the position of just doing a land donation, you know, fee simple to us,” said Pentecost. “Then allowing us to develop it as we are able and we sit fit, then yes, that’s a very reasonable approach to this.”

In 2018, BPD collected $375,869.36 in taxes from Poplar Grove residents due to an omission of tax collection by the Boone County Clerk’s Office. But typically, the park district collects about $188,000 in taxes each year. There are 566 homes, 35 vacant lots, 9 commercial parcels and 3 farmlands that make up 7.9% of Belvidere Park District’s tax base.

“We kind of did some work after I spoke to Owen the last time,” said Pentecost. “We did identify that we had over 1,000 households in Poplar Grove that are in our database for registering for programs.”

Costanza says a new park would make Poplar Grove more appealing to potential residents.

“They’re looking at their neighbors and they’re looking for a park. Looking at schools, looking for all of those amenities that come with raising a family.”

The Belvidere Park District says it already has four other projects waiting for development.

“Hopefully they’ll take a couple board meetings and ask a lot of questions,” said Costanza. “[Hopefully] they’ll put it in their budget for 2021 to build a park, build some park benches, swings and a half basketball court.”

The park district says it plans on discussing the proposal at it’s next board meeting. Costanza says the village will pursue building it’s own park if it isn’t budgeted by the park district next year .

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