PEORIA COUNTY - The Peoria Park District is asking citizens to vote in favor of selling a property it owns in Hollis Township.
The park district bought the 123-acre Racoon Lake property in 1965. People in the area used it for camping, fishing, and summer camps, until it closed to the public in 1992.
"We reached a point, though, where there needed to be upgrades," said Emily Cahill of the Peoria Park District. "And so, the county required us at one point to look at improving some roads and access and it was cost prohibitive at that time for us to do that."
Since 1992 the property has been vacant, with private groups renting it. Cahill estimates the property could sell for about $500,000. Representatives for the park district say there will be several benefits if the sale is approved.
"If that property is sold, it will go back on the tax rolls," Cahill said. "It will provide opportunities for recreation for others and we feel like it's better for our community in this situation for the park district to not own that land anymore."
The parcel is located relatively outside the PPD boundaries and is surrounded by residential neighborhoods on three sides. Historically, neighbors in the area have voiced opposition to public use of the site and the associated traffic that comes with that use.
Peoria County would require a new entrance if a public use was implemented. PPD said the parcel contains no significant ecological value and is not home to any known endangered species or plant types.
"With no identifiable public need for the parcel by the Peoria Park District, and based on the analysis of this parcel, staff asserts that it is unique in its characteristics and recommends that the process to sell the land by referendum commence," the PPD said.
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