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OAK PARK : Settlement May Benefit Library Plan

In a new twist, the settlement of a more than 20-year-old legal dispute with a developer is expected to net the county $650,000, money it plans to use to build Oak Park’s new library.

The County Board of Supervisors is expected to authorize the agreement with the developer during Tuesday’s board meeting.

In 1974, a judge ruled against the county, allowing Metropolitan Development Corp. to continue developing Oak Park. As part of the settlement, the developer agreed to convey a 1.5-acre commercial parcel in Oak Park to the county at no cost.

But Ron Stark, a senior administrative aide to Supervisor Frank Schillo, said the county has instead decided to ask the developer--now Oak Park Lot 22 Inc.--for nearly 42% of the land’s appraised value to help build a new library in Oak Park.

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"[The county] can’t use the land,” Stark said. “We have the land for the library. What we are short of is cash.”

Stark said Oak Park plans to raise about $3.5 million to pay for a new 8,000- to 10,000-square-foot facility near Oak Park High School. The library is now housed in a 4,300-square-foot room on the high school campus.

Once the deal is struck with the developer, Stark said library backers will have raised about $2.1 million for the new library, leaving them $1.4 million short of their goal.


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