Cary golf course plans spur drive of dissent
CARY – Residents against a proposed purchase of Chalet Hills Golf Course by the Cary Park District are circulating a petition in an effort to convince the park district board not to buy the bank-owned property.
Joanne Daubner, who has been a vocal critic of the proposed purchase, is leading the petition drive.
“We want to let the board know people are against this,” Daubner said.
The park district board still is evaluating whether to purchase the property, Executive Director Dan Jones has said.
Daubner said she had about 60 signatures so far, but hopes to get as many as possible.
The park district already owns Foxford Hills Golf Course.
“The park district’s ownership of a second golf course begs the question of competitive pricing in the market, as well as forcing privately owned golf courses in the area to compete with courses owned by a unit of government,” the petition said. “The purchase of an additional golf course is fiscally irresponsible in today’s economy.”
Opponents say the purchase would take the Chalet Hills Golf Course, which was foreclosed on, off of the property tax rolls and the burden would be spread among other property owners in the area.
This year the golf course owed almost $54,000 in property taxes and had a fair market value of about $1.7 million, according to McHenry County property tax bills.
Real estate broker Michael Rein, who lives in unincorporated McHenry County near Cary, also is helping collect signatures.
“The real concerns are a governmental entity purchasing a business opportunity that should be available to private investors, removing the property from the tax rolls resulting in said [taxes] being reallocated among the remaining real estate property owners, and the potential for losses that would result in property owners having to cover said losses,” Rein wrote in an email to the Northwest Herald.
“Certainly there are sufficient resources in the Chicagoland area for adults to pursue their recreational desires, be it golf, skydiving, scuba, equine, etc.,” he added. “In my opinion, park districts do not need to provide this level of recreation.”
In a phone interview, Rein said he would like to see an advisory referendum on the matter in April.
“I fail to see what the rush is,” Rein said.
Park district officials have said the Foxford Hills Golf Club has operated as an independent, self-supporting business. Since the park district purchase in 2004, the golf club has brought in $1.8 million. The club has helped offset $160,000 in other park district expenses.
Foxford also has provided $187,000 since 2004 for the park district’s capital projects fund, which recently paid for construction of the 1.8-mile Cary Community Trail adjacent to Cary-Grove Park and the Dog Park at Hoffman Park.
Daubner said she is looking for help to gather signatures.
“I think the board is a good board,” Daubner said. “I think they work hard. I just feel this is a misdirection in our economy today.”