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Local

Washington Park headed for possible sale

DIXON – The fate of Washington Park will be determined next month.

The Dixon school board will vote Nov. 20 whether to sell the property via sealed bid.

Washington Park, as it is unofficially known, is bound by Assembly Place, Academy Street and Institute Boulevard. It has two ball diamonds, and the rest is greenspace.

It’s maintained by the school district, which mows about 3 acres of grass and cleans up trash from two ball diamonds. Selling it would save the district about $5,000 a year in maintenance costs, and Superintendent Margo Empen told the board in August that the park has outlived its usefulness.

The minimum price of the property is being determined, Empen said.

The property is zoned R-1 for single-family residential units. Business Manager David Blackburn said in August that if it were to be developed into a cul-de-sac-type residential addition, it could increase the district’s assessed value.

The board considered this month whether to proceed with the sale using a sealed bid or auction process. The district utilized auction services for the sale of its former Grand Detour school in 2015, and used a sealed bid procedure when it sold Lincoln School the year before.

Board member Rachel Cocar asked Blackburn at Wednesday’s board meeting how much money one process would cost over the other. Commission and advertising costs for the Grand Detour sale amounted to $5,307.18, Blackburn said. Cocar and the other three board members in attendance, Kelly Flanagan, Melissa Gates and President Linda Wegner, all agreed to a sealed bid.

“It’s simple, and it’s such a small parcel,” Wegner said.

The River Bandits baseball club has asked to use one of the diamonds for next season. Empen said that a diamond is available at Jefferson School, if the club wants it.

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