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ShoDeen developer says land swap officially dead

DeKALB – A land swap proposal between DeKalb School District 428 and ShoDeen Construction officially has been scrapped, the Geneva-based developer said.

ShoDeen President Dave Patzelt said his company no longer is considering trading 33 acres near DeKalb High School for the 41-acre Kiwanis Park park property that District 428 owns near Huntley Middle School. It also means the school district would have to begin paying the developer $42,000 a year starting later this year – a debt the district incurred when it bought land for DHS.

“We took a pause or rest several weeks ago at the request of the school district, where the school district wanted to have some discussion with [DeKalb Park District],” Patzelt said. “But ShoDeen and the school district have agreed to separate. ShoDeen will not be involved any longer.”

The announcement is a victory for residents opposed to Kiwanis Park being developed. A group of concerned citizens, led by former DeKalb Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos, have urged the park district to acquire Kiwanis Park, which is the site of 14 youth soccer fields that primarily serve the local AYSO league. The park district maintains the property.

School and park district leaders are negotiating an agreement. Chronopoulos anticipates details on the agreement being announced next month.

“We’re really quite happy with the way it’s developing,” Chronopoulos said. “It looks like it’s going the way it should be going for the community.”

Superintendent Jim Briscoe said the land by the high school, as well as the $42,000 interest payments, still are on the district’s radar, but they are focused on the agreement with the park district.

“We want to get that completed so the community knows that the property will remain the soccer fields and Kiwanis Park,” Briscoe said.

Patzelt said ShoDeen’s planned Irongate development – a subdivision it is proposing for land north of DeKalb High School – will continue without issue. The school district has made infrastructure improvements in the area, and Briscoe said ShoDeen will owe the school district land or money if the City Council agrees to annex the Irongate property.

The proposed land swap
Here is a break-down of who would have gotten what in the proposed land swap that affected Kiwanis Park.

• would get Kiwanis Park, which District 428 bought in 2002 when the district was thinking of expanding Huntley Middle Schools, which was the high school then.
• would pay District 428 $654,511 as reimbursements for public improvements that were made when DHS was built.

District 428
• would get 33.46 acres next to DeKalb High School
• would not have to pay $42,000 a year. When the district was buying land for the high school, it struck a deal with Macon Development to get the land at a lower rate in exchange for an impact credit fee. However, the two parties also agreed that if Macon does not develop there, the district has to pay 4 percent – or $42,000 – a year starting in 2013. ShoDeen inherited that arrangement when it acquired the property.

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