Open Space Preservation Creates Rift Between Local, County Officials
"The Lake County Board voted Tuesday to buy about 75 acres to add to the Pine Dunes Forest Preserve, a move that prompted objections from two neighboring towns who argue it's a waste of prime real estate," reports Frank S. Alberholden.
Officials from Wadsworth and Newport Township consider a portion of that land—2,000 feet of frontage along Route 41—the last parcel in the area large enough for commercial development. The same officials promised that developers were interested in the property as the potential site of a fueling center of truck stop. In addition to the loss of potential property tax revenue from a commercial property, local officials expressed dismay at the loss of the property's current tax generating status.
Despite the dissent of local officials, the Lake County Board voted to spend $2.4 million to purchase the land and add it to the forest preserve. The Pine Dunes Forest Preserve, which will grow to 868 acres, is part of a larger system that includes more than 7,000 acres of preserved land.