Open Letter to the Downers Grove Village Council regarding Longfellow

Fri February 18, 2022

open letter to the downers grove village council regarding longfellow

Dated Feb. 17, 2022

Statement from Downers Grove Park District’s Board of Commissioners regarding the Longfellow School Property

Dated Dec. 1, 2021

In May of 2021, Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the resolution to sell the Longfellow School Property to the highest qualified bidder. As discussed at the Board of Education meeting in May, the sale of this property would help the School District to fund capital projects for summer 2022. On Sept. 27, the Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Board of Education voted to award a contract for the sale of the Longfellow Center to McNaughton Development for $4.155 million.

Several months ago, Downers Grove Park District staff met with District 58 to discuss the sale of Longfellow. District 58 stated that their goal was to maximize potential revenue from the Longfellow property to fund upcoming capital projects. Typically, government-to-government property transfers are well below market value and recognize taxpayer’s existing investment in the property, which was the case with the Park District’s purchase of Washington School in 1987.

Downers Grove Park District was not in the position to expend the resources required to meet District 58’s goal for the Longfellow property. A purchase of this magnitude would have required the Park District to postpone major capital projects such as the renovation of McCollum Park. Over many years, the Park District has been planning to develop new desired amenities for all ages at McCollum Park including a large sprayground, renovated tennis/pickleball courts with new energy-efficient LED lighting, a new concession plaza, picnic shelters, and resurfacing the perimeter pathway. Had the Park District chosen to purchase the Longfellow property, the McCollum project would have been postponed for up to six years.

Downers Grove Park District is proud to provide exceptional parks, facilities and services to the community while remaining fiscally responsible. Each year, capital funds are earmarked for projects that align with the strategic goals outlined in the District’s Master Plan. Guided by our mission and Master Plan, Downers Grove Park District will continue to explore and expand opportunities for individuals of all ages and interests to grow, play, imagine and explore.