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Guest Column: Roscoe sports park process stumbles, could run

July 11, 2012

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

We believe, as do more than 300 of our neighbors, that the Roscoe Sports Complex will be an asset to our community and will meet the recreational needs of many people. Traffic and parking problems were of grave concern to the majority of the more than 300 people who signed the petition. They agreed that a solution regarding the traffic and parking problems at the Roscoe Sports Complex needs to be reached that is mutually acceptable to all parties.

One suggestion is for the Roscoe Township to approach the Catholic Diocese and negotiate a long-term lease for an easement on the Evergreen Manor side of the 15 acres of land owned by the Catholic Diocese. An entrance could then be designed at the corner of Straw Lane and Hononegah Road and include a narrow strip of land leading to the Sports Complex parking lot. Alternately, an entrance directly off Hononegah Road would also be a viable solution. This would create an access road from a major thoroughfare like the entrances to the other major sports complexes located in northern Winnebago County.

Since our last guest column, the Roscoe Township has released more information about the sports complex and its use through multiple media outlets. This information could have easily been made available to us when we made our first visit to the township offices June 11. In a telephone conference with one of the trustees recently, the comment was made, “I guess we should have sent letters to all of the homeowners.”

Well, the Roscoe Village did that in February of 2012. They notified homeowners who live within 250 feet of the sports complex property that there would be a zoning meeting Feb. 15. This was subsequently cancelled and rescheduled for March 21. We then received another letter notifying us of the March 21, meeting. We attended that meeting and addressed the committee. It was at that time we were told by the village attorney that we were in the wrong venue and we needed to address the Roscoe Township about the sports complex. It wasn’t until after that meeting that any contact was made by us to Roscoe Township officials.

We were unaware of and not invited to a Roscoe Township meeting regarding the sports complex that took place March 14. It was recently brought to our attention that another resident of the subdivision had contacted Roscoe Township Trustee Tom Hawes about the sports complex prior to the March 21 meeting. As a result, “Wallace and company” (as Hawes “politely” refers to us) couldn’t have shown up at the March 14 meeting; but if we had known about it, we would have been there. Perhaps public relations on the part of the township should have been directed to the homeowners they had no problem contacting the sports teams. Certainly, a Roscoe Township website would be helpful in delivering timely information to area residents.

The Roscoe Township began grading the property prior to obtaining EPA approval to drill an irrigation well. The well has been approved and drilled, the grading continues, and the dust is still flying. Why isn’t the township making an effort to mitigate the blowing dirt? They were issued permits for a water tanker truck to control the dust on the road going into the park and access to a fire hydrant for irrigation purposes by the North Park Public Water District. Why weren’t these resources to control the blowing dirt used? We’ve been told that the blowing dirt was an act of God, and therefore, not under the township’s control. Is this lack of regard for homeowners’ concerns a foretaste of what’s to come?

We also believe that any water well for this complex must be tested periodically for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the area because of the proximity of Superfund sites.

As of Friday, July 6, we have obtained more than 300 signatures to our petition requesting an alternate entrance to the sports complex. Some of the people we have spoken with had a little information about the sports complex, but many knew nothing at all about it — a fact that township officials seem to find surprising. Information released by Roscoe Township recently through media outlets contains many conflicting statements. Sports field use, number of fields, number of parking spaces, and the projected opening date, as well as the cost of the project continue to be moving targets. The bottom line is, let’s complete this project in a way that will be mutually satisfactory to all involved.

We also invite you to two public meetings to Save Our Subdivisions.

If we are to reach a solution regarding the traffic and parking problems at the Roscoe Sports Complex that is mutually acceptable to all parties, the more people who show up, the better the result!

If you are really concerned about this issue, your attendance is necessary at:

Roscoe Township Board meeting, Town Hall 5792 Elevator Road, Wednesday, July 11, 7 p.m. The Public Comment Session has a 3-minute limit.

AND

Join us at the Winnebago County Board Meeting, Thursday, July 12, 6 p.m, County Board Room, eighth floor, Winnebago County Courthouse, 400 W. State St., Rockford.

If we stand together — we make change happen!

Need more information? See articles in The Rock River Times (June 20), Beloit Daily News (July 3), www.wrex.com (7/3/12), Register Star (July 6) or go to Facebook: Roscoe Field.

From the July 11-17, 2012, issue

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