Sad to say, Russell Township is feeling the effects of Grendell Parks Commission appointees on our Township Park District. The Russell Township Park Commission has 2 new Grendell appointees who are blocking the purchase by the township park district of a 40+ acre portion of Modroo Farm on Hemlock Road. The former parks board had been working on this deal for a long time, but, so far, the new board members won’t vote for the purchase. The township park district has over $1,000,000 of land acquisition tax levy money to spend that cannot legally be spent on anything other than land acquisition. One of the new board members, Charlie Butters, wants to spend taxpayer money to hire a law firm to try to circumvent the levy language that limits the use of this money to land acquisition. As far as I’m concerned, the taxpayers spoke when we voted for the levy.
What happens if the levy money isn’t spent on land acquisition? There is one more year left of funding from that levy which, like GPD’s levy, could be suspended. Eventually, I’ve been told that the risk is that Russell taxpayer money already collected could be absorbed into the county General Fund if it is not spent on land acquisition.
The Modroo property would really make a wonderful park. It is mostly open meadow that could easily be made accessible to residents of every age and every physical ability. Much like Frohring Meadow, we could walk there and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. The farm itself is a historic property, one of the last working farms in Russell. It is unlikely that there will be other opportunities for our township park district to acquire a property of this size in Russell.
The next Russell Township Park Commission meeting is scheduled for May 9 at 7 pm at Russell Town Hall (corner of 306 and 87). Please come and let the township park commissioners know that we don’t want our public money spent on hiring attorneys to try to circumvent the vote of the citizenry, that we don’t want the levy we voted for to be suspended, that we don’t want the money we voted to spend on acquisition of park land to be lost to the county’s general fund, and that the vast majority of Russell residents want our land acquisition money to be used to purchase Modroo Farm.