Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Many of us enjoy the hot summer days of July.  We enjoy going on picnics, fishing, biking along the many miles of bike trials or just taking a long walk in the cool forest preserves. 

Hoffman Estates has close to 4,000 acres of forest preserve land within the village.  It’s one of the great assets the residents of Hoffman Estates enjoy.  It wasn’t always looked at as an asset by village government.

In 1967 and 1968 a tug of war was going on for what is now the forest preserve land west of Barrington Road.  Rossmoor Corporation had purchase 3,700 acres of land that the village annexed in 1965.  There were plans to develop “Leisure World”.  The project would include residential housing for seniors along with a large shopping center.  But in 1967 Rossmoor Corporation was having financial difficulties and delayed the start of the “Leisure World” project.

In June of 1967,  the Cook County Board announced that they would like to purchase the land for a forest preserve.  Learning that the land was available the Metropolitan Sanitary District also wanted to purchase the land. The Metropolitan Sanitary District wanted to use some of the land for a sludge farm.  With so much development in the northwest suburbs they needed a facility like this. In Dec., 1967 they approved a resolution to purchase the property.

Hoffman Estates had plans for an industrial park and needed only 500 acres more from the 3,700 acre failed Rossmoor project..  The loss of such a large parcel  of land left Hoffman Estates with no industrial development for a tax base.  Working out a compromise with the forest preserve district and the Metropolitan Sanitary District went no where. The forest preserve district wanted the entire block of land bounded by I-90 on the north, Sutton Rd (Route 59) on the west, Bode Rd. on the south and Barrington Rd. on the east.  They felt that it was important to acquire the land before it was lost to new develpoment.

In April of 1968 the forest preserve distrtict began condemnation proceedings.  Neither the Metropolitan Sanitary District nor the Village of Hoffman Estates would win the battle for needed land.

What we gained was open land that will always provide recreation, fishing, biking and hiking for our residents.  Forests, fields and meadows that we’ve come to enjoy with our families.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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