Guest Column: Roscoe Township slow to address traffic concerns at SportsCore III

September 26, 2012

By Jackie Russell, Sally Wallace, Sue Duhigg
Hononegah Country Estates residents

Another strange Roscoe Township meeting has folded with a seemingly stacked deck, and concerns about water, an alternate entrance and traffic safety effectively ignored and kept out of play. Will all the cards at the next meeting be on the table?

The Roscoe Trustees shared some information at the Sept. 12 meeting, yet there are still many unsuited areas, especially regarding our safety concerns with the complex and entrance. For the past three months, we have been requesting information from Roscoe Township. The Illinois EPA has even tried to get information from them, and their calls have been unanswered. Neighbors have called continuously, and they have not received responses. The township is also ignoring the Catholic Diocese’s offer of an easement.

Mary Lewis, president of the Roscoe Rockton Lions and vice president of the Rockton Hononegah School Board, spoke in support of the Township. In my opinion, it appeared she had been misinformed by someone on all the issues being raised by Roscoe Field. She even brought coaches and young players who seemed to have been given misinformation. Are these youngsters being manipulated and being misinformed? What about traffic safety, entrance safety, and safety for everyone’s children? She needs to get her facts straight.

What about Dave Kurlinkus, Hononegah School Board president and deputy state’s attorney for Winnebago County? Why was Mr. Kurlinkus there directing traffic for the Township and attending the meeting? In what capacity was he there? Was he supporting the Township? He certainly was not there to support the citizens who are asking for an alternate entrance and traffic safety. What about the safety for our neighborhood and a proper entrance? Do we matter at all?

That leads us to question why other Hononegah athletic staff were at the meeting? Were they there for the safety of the kids and a proper entrance?

Where have these folks been at the other meetings? Why wait and come to this one?

What are the Township and Tom Hawes doing? Why are they misinforming groups, organizations and citizens? Do they care about children’s safety and a proper entrance, or do they just want to make a name for themselves?

To further substantiate our claims, the Township had the architect for the project in attendance at the Sept. 12 meeting and notified all area sports teams as well. Why didn’t the Township inform the neighbors of the importance of the meeting? Many of them would have been there to ask questions and express their concerns.

In response to the letter mailed by the Township to the neighbors, dated Sept. 11, it seems Roscoe Field will have to agree to disagree with the Township about their claims.

Point 1: The park is on a superfund site, and pollutants and contaminants will be sprayed.

The bottom line is, our neighborhoods had polluted water, our wells were capped, lawsuits were fought, filters were needed, and North Park Public Water District water is connected to most homes.

Please visit the links below and read for yourself: www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/query/queryhtm/nplprop.htm#IL and www.epa.gov/region5/cleanup/.

The Evergreen Manor site is listed as a Superfund Alternative Site (SA).

The USEPA website says: “The Evergreen Manor Groundwater Contamination Site is approximately 1.5 miles northwest of Roscoe, Ill. The site was defined by the extent of groundwater contamination in the region. The investigations conducted at the site identified a plume of contaminated ground water extending from an area on Rockton Road just east of Highway 251, to Tresemer, Olde Farm, Evergreen Manor, and the Hononegah Heights Subdivisions. September 2012, EPA has ‘de-proposed’ the Evergreen Manor site from the National Priorities List. The site was proposed for listing on the NPL in 1998, but was later designated a Superfund Alternative Site.”

The SA approach can potentially save the time and resources associated with listing a site on the National Priorities List (NPL). Currently, sites with SA approach agreements are a small subset of all Superfund cleanup site agreements.The next Five-Year Review will be completed in 2013. Until the site is de-proposed, it is still an SA site.

Since the Township drilled their irrigation well, once it becomes operational, the worries begin all over again. Monitoring needs to continue to make sure the water remains safe.

We do not want history to repeat itself. Call the Township and ask them to test and monitor the water periodically and provide the results to the community: (815) 623-7323.

Point 2: The Roads: More misinformation from Mr. Hawes.

As we have said repeatedly, this is not about fighting the sports complex. We believe the sports complex is a welcome addition to Roscoe. We are only asking for the Township to work with the Diocese to secure an entrance on the west side directly onto Hononegah Road. This is a safe traffic alternative. The number of cars entering and exiting will have a big impact and create a safety issue. As a result of a Freedom of Information Act request, we have discovered that no traffic impact study was completed, and repeated requests to have one completed have gone unanswered. Residents near Kelly Myers Park have been upset about Mud Volleyball and the incursion of traffic, and that is only once a year.

At the last meeting, a trustee told several neighbors that in two years, the Township hopes to acquire the property owned by the Catholic Diocese. If Winnebago County requires two access points into the park, then with the front 15 acres, safe access can be developed. If this is true, then why not slow down the progress of the park? Do not pave the gravel roads and get a plan in motion to raise money to make this happen. A Roscoe Rockton Lions coach spoke at the meeting stating there will be traffic concerns, and he encouraged the Township to make a new entrance. He even offered to make the $1,000 donation to the Roscoe Township Trustees for the development of the alternate entrance.

Call the Township and encourage them to buy the property and change the access roads. Make Roscoe Sports Complex a self-contained sports center. Call (815) 623-7323.

Points 3 & 4: Hours and Home Values: We hope the park hours will be clearly posted, and encourage you to communicate to the Township and the Winnebago County Sheriff about any after-hours activity.

As for our property values, Kelly Meyers is not a sports complex. The volume of activity there cannot be compared to the activity at our complex. This multi-million-dollar sports complex is being built on land-locked property within a subdivision using existing streets and access roads. This is poor planning for a facility of this size. Let’s get current data before making assumptions about home values.

Point 5: Parking: Because the Township is building this complex in phases and has not communicated to us what is being developed in each phase, the plans from the architect have been the source of our information. When complete, and we stress the term complete, this complex will have four ball diamonds, five to six soccer fields, one football field, two sand volleyball courts, a play area, walking paths, several port-a-johns, lights, sound, and a picnic shelter. If more than one sport is using the complex, then the car traffic increases drastically. The Lions football teams serve more than 380 youth not including cheerleaders. Recently, cars at Riverside Park were counted on a Saturday Lions’ game day. One hundred sixty-five cars were parked in lots and on the grass. More than 250 cars drove in and out of the park when there was a game transition. Facilities being compared by the Township have limited fields and did not include the transition traffic. A traffic impact study needs to be done. Traffic counts need to be completed.

Call the Township and ask for a traffic impact study. (815) 623-7323 Let’s do it right the first time.

Roscoe Township has done things for the community. But, what have they done for us?

No communication. No confidence. No trust.

We want to work together with the Township to make the sports complex something we all can be proud of. We have never been against the complex, only with the lack of regard to each and every one of us who live in and around the field. We want safety for our children, safety for the water, safety for our streets and a proper entrance.

We are only asking for a separate driveway from the corner of Straw Lane and Hononegah Road to make it a safe traffic situation. We asked for the water to be tested for VOCs to make sure the water is safe for the kids playing there. We support the Roscoe Rockton Lions, the Pony baseball league, and the soccer teams. Our own children grew up playing for these teams. But just as we would have wanted it safe for our children, we want it safe for your children and our grandchildren

With the Township’s continued lack of respect and communication to you, the homeowners and the citizens, there was no choice but to take a vote of no confidence with the township. This petition can be found on our Facebook page: Roscoe Field, and can be viewed at:

www.change.org/petitions/save-our-subdivisions-no-confidence-in-roscoetownship

Attend the next Roscoe Township meeting, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 10. Get answers to your questions and concerns and see if all cards really are on the table, or if we are just being played.

From the Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2012, issue

One Comment

  1. Concerned Citizen

    September 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    FYI, the “walking paths” all lead to sports fields. They don’t loop through the park so that someone could use them for an exercise routine.

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