NEW LENOX – The Lincoln-Way School District 210 Board approved selling land the district owned for more than 20 years. The property was at one point intended for the now shuttered Lincoln-Way North High School.
The board approved in an unanimous vote Thursday to sell 71.9 acres at 191st Street and Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park to Woodman’s Food Market for $4.6 million, slightly more than the $4.5 million minimum bid the company previously had met.
Superintendent Scott Tingley said the higher amount will cover associated fees in the sale agreement.
Board President Joe Kirkeeng said Woodman’s Food Market is a middle-to-high-end grocery store. The company based in Janesville, Wisconsin, has 13 locations in Wisconsin and three locations in Illinois.
“It absolutely fits the market,” Kirkeeng said.
District officials bought the Tinley Park property for about $3 million in 1996 with the intention of making it a third high school at the time, according to the Chicago Tribune. In 2014, district officials tried to sell the property for $5.9 million.
When district officials considered building the Lincoln-Way North and Lincoln-Way West schools in the late 2000s, the Tinley Park property was intended to be the location for North, but the school was instead located at 19900 S. Harlem Ave. in Frankfort.
In 2015, the board approved closing North for the 2016-17 school year in response to what was then called the district’s dire financial condition, which it blamed on declining enrollment and lack of state funding.
This year, the board approved selling land that the financially struggling district has owned for years in order to replenish fund balances.
Tingley said the money from the sale will go toward the district’s operations and maintenance fund.
In March, the board approved the sale of about 78 acres at 13125 W. Smith Road, Manhattan Township, to the Manhattan Park District for $701,500 and the sale of 100 acres at 16460-16462 W. Manhattan Road, Manhattan, to Spiess Farms for $1.25 million.
The board bought acreage of the Manhattan Road property for $2.47 million in 2007, and for $2.5 million in 2008 from Priscilla Lantka, a trustee with the Stanley and Violet Cooper trusts, according to Will County real estate records.
The district bought the land for a potential fifth high school to meet growth in student population – growth that did not occur.