Guest Column: Sportscore III in Roscoe?

By Sally Wallace, Jackie Russell and Sue Duhigg
Hononegah County Estates residents

As concerned homeowners/citizens, we want to bring information about the proposed sports complex being built in Roscoe to the attention of the Roscoe community.

Inquiries to the Roscoe Township about the complex have been met with limited to no responses. The sports complex is being built in phases, and the information is being severely limited. We have received little to no communication from the Roscoe Township as this project has developed over the past several years.

We would like for Roscoe Township to complete this project the right way, the first time. This includes not using subdivision streets and access points for entrance and exit to the sports complex, building a sufficient number of parking spaces, and monitoring the safety of the water being used to irrigate land (if a well is permitted by the EPA).

The Roscoe Township is developing an approximate 40-acre piece of property within our subdivision, for a sports complex.

The question has been raised as to how the township has been allowed to purchase 40 acres of land for a park, because under Illinois statute (60 ILCS 1/120-5), they are only allowed to purchase 25 acres. After a conversation with the Illinois State’s Attorney’s office, it was revealed that the township purchased 24.9 acres of land from Hononegah High School for $400,000, and the rest, 16.2 acres, was donated by the high school to the township. The 40 acres of property is owned by the township, and will possibly be accepted into Roscoe Village by the village zoning board after water issues are resolved.

This sports complex is being developed on a superfund site. It’s located in the Hononegah Country Estates/Evergreen Manor subdivisions.

The property is landlocked by the subdivisions. In phase one, the plans call for two sand volleyball courts, two football fields, four baseball/softball diamonds, a playground, four soccer fields and a shelter.

There is no existing city water or sewer going to this property. They plan to dig a well on the property solely for irrigation purposes (if the water contains benzene/TCE/PCE or other contaminates, won’t that make this airborne and a health hazard?). They also plan to only have portable toilets on site for bathroom facilities because there is no sewer. Lights will be added during phase two. Township officials have said that the park will be open 24 hours a day.

The petition to drill the well for irrigation purposes is on hold pending approval by the USEPA. Annexation of the property by Roscoe Village is on hold pending a water supply. The property lies between two Superfund sites — Warner Electric (Hononegah Country Estates) and Evergreen Manor. Remediation in the form of public water has been effected in both subdivisions. The question about water on the sports complex remains. No wells have been drilled on that property, so whether or not the water is contaminated with TCE/PCE is unknown. The question has been raised as to whether drilling the well will draw water from the contaminated plumes into the plume being used. Using the water from the well for irrigation purposes will draw approximately 30 times (150 gallons per minute vs. 5 gallons per minute) the amount of water per minute that a house would use. At 150 gallons per minute and running the sprinklers for 12 hours a day, the well would draw 108,000 gallons per day. An average house would use approximately 450 gallons in a day. The township is concerned because the FEMA grant they obtained requires certain work to be accomplished on the property by June 30.

A meeting was reportedly held June 19 by the IEPA, Roscoe Township officials and attorneys and the Illinois Health Department. It was noted that if a well was sunk on that property, contaminates could be drawn from neighboring plumes that are officially designated superfund sites. When that water becomes airborne, such as in watering the grass, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the Superfund plume would become airborne.

Furthermore, the township plans for the people coming to the sports complex to travel on existing subdivision roads. The current plan is for Rollingsford Lane to be connected in the middle, and parking will be accessed by entering the neighborhood either by Straw Lane or by Cedarbrook and then turning onto Rollingsford on an easement drive to reach the proposed 96-car parking lot, which we believe to be inadequate for the size of the complex. A future 80 parking spaces will be added sometime at a later date. A rough estimate of the number of cars entering the neighborhood for a “game weekend,” which could include soccer and football games, is approximately 1,200 cars. This does not include the vehicle traffic entering the neighborhood for practices during the week or for volleyball on 2 courts, and baseball games on four fields. Besides the provided parking spaces, traffic will be lining both sides of subdivision streets and access points. Our streets and our subdivision were not built for this volume of traffic or this purpose.

The township supervisor, Renee McNitt, suggested we should have attended the meetings, but only one notice has ever gone out to the homeowners who border the property. A request for a photocopy of, the current plans was met with a reply of we don’t have any.” A phone call to the engineer has not resulted in any e-mail of the plans. As of June 18, the township has begun to hand out a map of the property. The gentleman working on the property, grading it for development, said the township would be widening streets and taking 8 feet on both sides. The township officials denied that, but they have not been completely forthcoming in any of their dealings, so we’re not sure we believe them.

We are taxpayers. We didn’t mind having a park with swings, green space, picnic tables and shelter houses, but we are concerned about a sports complex of this size, and mind having our subdivision streets turned into speedways and parking spots for parents and spectators rushing in and out of the park. We believe if we were a more affluent neighborhood, this wouldn’t be happening at all. We are concerned about the noise, the trash, the traffic, the disruptive lighting, the loudspeakers, the after-hours illegal activities by teens and/or other individuals, and who will be policing this property. The noise of the heavy equipment grading the property is just a foretaste of the noise to come.

We are appealing to you for assistance since we don’t seem to be getting adequate information from our local authorities. Having the roads in the subdivision used like a speedway and loud sports activities directly in front and back of our houses, we believe our houses will have no value because no one will buy them. Certainly not families with children because of the busy street and certainly no older individuals who won’t want to put up with the noise.

Currently, a petition is being circulated urging our leaders to act now to build a separate entrance and exit outside of the current subdivision streets and access points for the proposed Sports Complex (Park) and permanently close off any and all current access points to the Sports Complex (Park), thereby creating a separate and self-contained Sports Complex (Park).

Presently, we have more than 130 signatures.

There is a 15 acre tract of land connected to the proposed sports complex, which could help make this park self-contained. When researching this parcel, we seem to hit a brick wall.

A Facebook page, Roscoe Field, has been started as an attempt to reach neighbors and concerned citizens. Please contact us via this page.

We feel this whole park situation has not been accomplished in an above-board manner. Is there any assistance you can offer? We appreciate your time.

From the June 20-26, 2012, issue

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