$1.5 Million Being Paid for Ridgefield Metra Site Half-Owned by McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler

Very, very shortly after I asked Metra Board Secretary Lisa Murphy to fax me what would be in the board packet for Friday’s meeting, my machine started to buzz.

The summary memo from Metra Executive Director Phillip Pagano revealed that $1,537,707 would be paid to Amcore Bank Trust 3582.

It is half owned by McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler and half by his former Flowerwood partner Gary Seigmeier’s estate. That “includes an $117,686 recapture fee for previously completed road improvements” (presumably for the 87 Lumber property between the station site and Downtown Ridgefield).

The price per acre for the 17.33 acres works out to be $81,789.

McHenry County College paid $67,000 an acre for 57 acres closer to Crystal Lake last year. (Click to enlarge the image. The proposed Metra site is northeast of this property. The train tracks are in the upper right hand corner of the picture.)

In arguing for the purchase, MCC President Walt Packard said that

“the property was perfectly sited to take advantage of a future Ridgefield Metra station maybe 20 years away.”

The Pagano memo points out that the station is about 5.1 miles from the Woodstock station and that Metra expects to annex it to Crystal Lake.

Pagano ends the memo with this justification:

“The subject property is a desirable location for a new station and enables Metra to locate the station north of the tracks allowing commuters to access morning trains to Chicago without crossing the tracks.

“Otherwise, the commuter facility south of the tracks would necessitate the procurement of additional property on the north side of the tracks in order to construct a depot with sufficient waiting area on the inbound side of the tracks and a Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department emergency access road from an existing public street to the depot site.”

I asked Murphy to ask Pagano if there would be a public hearing on the proposal.

Delores Ellison conveyed this answer from him:

“There will not be.”

No mention is made of the distance from the McHenry County College campus or that even that the college is in the vicinity.

McHenry County’s representative on the Metra board is former State Senator Jack Schaffer. He was appointed without dissent in 2006 by the county board chairmen of McHenry, Kane, Lake and Will County Boards.

Comments may be sent to Metra Board members here: metraboard@metrarr.com

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The land in question is just beyond the barbed wire fence surrounding the to-be new Alexander Lumber Company site. It is across Country Club Road and a bit to the northwest from the Google Map “A.”

Articles that might be of interest:

Alexander Lumber’s Move to Ridgefield, Proposed Metra Station Implications

Musings on the Proposed Ridgefield Metra Station

Ridgefield Businessman Takes on McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler over Proposed Metra Station

Metra Transparency Worse than McHenry County College’s

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