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Letter: No to D-428's land swap plan

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Dear Editor:

I was shocked and dismayed to read your Oct. 3 front page article describing the DeKalb School District 428 plan to destroy the beautiful soccer complex located at 4th and Fairview on the south side of DeKalb.

Board President Matya may feel that this well-kept and highly-utilized property “has no value to us,” but as a taxpaying citizen and resident in the area, I feel losing this resource would not only lower nearby residential property values but deny all members of the DeKalb community a recreational treasure.

Superintendent Briscoe claims that the new high school has no room to expand in the future. He states that the 1,800 students currently attending could swell to 2,500 students triggering a need for expansion. Perhaps he should read the School Board’s press release, as reported in the Northern Star on June 21, 2009, stating that the new building “will increase the capacity to 2,500 students.”

There is no need to spend more taxpayer dollars because the school has already been built to hold this amount of students.

There also seems to be a fair amount of speculation going on by both the school board and developer Shodeen. The story mentions Shodeen not having to pay impact fees until “the district gets 600 students from the developer’s Fairview or Irongate communities ...” I was aware of the Irongate project as shown on the City of DeKalb 2011 Planned Projects map, but this is the first I’ve heard of a Fairview development site being proposed.

I would hate to see those open fields that are used almost year-round by not only the AYSO, but NIU summer camps, private soccer clubs, and area residents who just like to enjoy the open space be replaced by an unneeded and unwanted housing development.

The school board should not sacrifice – and give away – an already developed and beneficial asset to the entire community on the south side of DeKalb because it wants to purchase, on speculation, land on the north side for an undisclosed “lower rate” from Shodeen.

There must be a better way to accommodate future school expansion than eliminating such a wonderful community gathering place that benefits the entire community and raises the quality of life on the south side.

Art Erdmann

DeKalb

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