The Homewood Board of Trustees Tuesday unanimously approved the sale of a 2.63-acre parcel of the Izaak Walton Preserve to Waterloo Railway Company, a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway.
The property, adjacent to CN’s headquarters at 17641 Ashland Ave., will be purchased for $150,000.
Izaak Walton Preserve is 193 acres of land owned by the village and leased as a nature preserve.
The land is east of Ashland Avenue and north of Maple Road. Officials say, through village documents, that the land is only “marginally connected to Izaak Walton Preserve and has neither functional nor aesthetic value.”
Resident Gianni Sansone raised concerns about the sale with trustees. He said he knows CN is an important business for Homewood, but as an avid user of the preserve he was concerned the sale would interfere with the Walton trails.
“That particular area is a swamp. There’s no trails through that area,” Mayor Richard Hofeld told Sansone. “There are trails on the far north side of that area and they are protected under this agreement with a 30-foot buffer.”
Village Attorney Chris Cummings said the village is legally allowed to sell the property as long as it is sold for at least 80 percent of the market value. Cummings said the parcel was appraised at $50,000.
“They’re paying three times that,” Cummings noted.
The railroad company does have the right to condemn that property and has chosen not to do so.
“This seems to be the better alternative, to get three times the price for the land and be able to turn that money back to the preserve,” Cummings said.
In the resolution, the board instructed that the property assessment, by Appraisal Associates, be available for inspection through Village Manager Jim Marino’s office. If the parcel were rezoned as a limited manufacturing district, it would be appraised at $225,000.