BENSENVILLE, Ill. — A group of Bensenville residents is fighting to prevent the park district from selling off a massive piece of the White Pines Golf Club.
Bensenville Park District owns the course and is considering selling up to 125 acres of the land.
The park district says it’s received multiple unsolicited offers over the past couple of years. While there’s no done deal on the table, the sale is something commissioners are exploring because it could bring in as much as $150 million.
The park district says the sale of the property could fund a new sports complex for Bensenville.
But that sale would impact the community of 56 homes that sit on the golf course. Some neighbors, many of whom have lived there for decades, say the park district is moving forward without their input. Worse, residents fear the green space behind their homes could turn into industrial development.
“We’ve enjoyed living here all these years and we’d hate to see it change now,” said Ed Dubois, who, along with his wife Pat, has lived in Bensenville since 1987.
“They have lost money in the past, but in the last two years, they’ve had million-dollar increases in sales,” neighbor and White Pines employee Bill Hibner said. “More people are working from their homes, so there’s more leisure time.”
Wednesday night, neighbors had the opportunity to raise their concerns at the commissioner’s meeting. Before the meeting, some protesters spoke out.
“We’re hopeful that they’re going to listen and hear our voices,” said Jannell Taraska. “You know the residents definitely do not want this. We have about 600 signatures on the petition so far, and we’re hoping to take this to referendum and have the residents decide what happens.”
The Bensenville Park District Board President responded, saying the park district needs to make improvements to the aging facilities and a sale could fund those projects without a tax increase.
“We listen to you, we listen to our neighbors, and we will do what we will do what’s in the best interest of the full park district,” Richard Johnson said.
The park district says officials will not decide on a sale at Wednesday’s meeting. Still, the commissioners could approve a feasibility study for the entire village, covering potential development.