WOODSTOCK – The 39-acre site once proposed for a ballpark will be in city hands if it passes inspection since the development plan fell through.
The development plan, approved in 2008, called for construction of a minor-league baseball stadium on the property near the intersection of Route 14 and Lake Shore Drive in Woodstock. When the economy collapsed, funding woes stalled the project, which hasn’t come to fruition.
Under conditions of the plan, the property was to be deeded to the city if the stadium – which could have housed the McHenry County K-Nines – wasn’t built by May 1, 2014. Woodstock will now take ownership of the land provided it passes a routine Phase I environmental inspection.
“We are in the process of having the Phase I completed and updated,” City Manager Roscoe Stelford said. “Assuming it comes back with no concerns, the city will begin taking other necessary steps to finish the transaction.”
The purpose of the environmental study is to limit liability. No plans for the property are in the works, but the city likely will use the parcel to attract another business developer, Stelford said.
“We need to sit down and talk to council to see what they envision,” he said. “There are definitely some options.”
Council member Mike Turner, who was on the council at the time of the original plan, said that while no one expected or wanted this outcome, it may not be for the worst.
“Things didn’t go as planned, mostly for external reasons,” he said. “But in the process, we end up with  acres off a U.S. highway, which is not a bad outcome in the long term for the city of Woodstock. … We actually end up with an asset.”