Letter: Support the Land Preservation and Preserve Improvement Referendum

By on March 17, 2011

I urge your readers to support the Forest Preserve District of Kane County’s Land Preservation and Preserve Improvement Referendum, which will be on the April 5 election ballot.

At first glance, it is surprising that with the present economy the Forest Preserve would propose a land acquisition referendum. A second look, however, will tell you that it makes good fiscal sense. After the last referendum, when the Forest Preserve was identifying high-quality land to buy, they found that developers were willing to pay much higher prices for the land than the Forest Preserve could afford. A number of very fine potential preserves were lost to preservation in this way. With today’s depressed land values, some of those developers are approaching the Forest Preserve District and offering their land for significantly reduced prices—less than what the Forest Preserve District offered the first time.

The Forest Preserve anticipates that $30 million now will buy much more land than it would have five years ago. This window of opportunity will close as land prices rise again.
The average home in Kane County is worth approximately $265,000; the cost of this referendum would be around $1 a month. That’s 3 to 4 cents per day, or about $12 a year.

Remember, preserved land adds value to a community, provides spaces for wildlife to live, cleans the air we breathe and the water we use, infiltrates rain and runoff, reducing the impact of flooding, and provides places for people to recreate and renew their spirits. All this without demanding municipal services or putting one more child in the local school.

For further information on the Forest Preserve’s plans or information about the referendum, please visit www.kaneopenspace.org or www.kaneforest.com.

Mary Ochsenschlager
Sugar Grove