DIXON – The Park Board plans to vote Wednesday to put a referendum on the March 20 ballot asking voters’ permission to sell the Plum Creek Arboretum.
The board approved a resolution last month that the land is “no longer needed or deemed necessary or useful for park purposes” and is looking to shed 50 acres of Plum Creek to bring in some money for infrastructure improvements and save on future maintenance costs.
With selling or transferring district land, property bigger than 3 acres needs voter approval by referendum, and a judge would decide how those smaller than 3 acres would be sold, District Executive Director Deb Carey said.
The arboretum would be sold through a public auction if a majority of voters give the district a nod to move forward with the sale.
The question on the ballot would read:
“Shall the Dixon Park District sell the following real estate: up to 50 acres of the western most portion and northeastern most portion of Plum Creek Natural Area or any subpart thereof, commonly known as 620 Palmyra Road, Dixon Illinois, permanent index numbers 07-02-31-100-030 and 07-02-31-251-005?”
The board has spent the past few months evaluating what properties in its 1,100-acre inventory it could do without, the goal being to cut maintenance costs and bring in more revenue. Selling land came out of talks to find solutions to sustaining operations without having to dip into reserves year after year.
Other properties the board has discussed selling include Grace Johnston, Chula Vista, and Bluff View parks along with the Third Street Boulevards, all smaller than 3 acres.
The board had a special meeting Nov. 21 to compile a list of priority projects the district could complete using money from selling Plum Creek and came up with seven options: hard-surfacing the soccer parking lot at Meadows Park, replacing the windows at Woodcote for energy savings, repairing the hairpin curve at Lowell Park, doing more curb and gutter work at Page Park, stabilizing the riverbank at Lowell Park, putting money toward community education and marketing of benefits provided by the district, and laying asphalt in Page Park along Page Drive as well as the Al Morrison parking area and the old basketball court.
An estimated price for the arboretum is still being determined, but the revenue wouldn’t be able to cover all of the projects, Carey said.
The Dixon Park Board next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the district office, 804 Palmyra St.
Go to dixonparkdistrict.com or the park district office, or call 815-284-3306 for an agenda or more information.