JOLIET – Officials have struck a deal they think will benefit all three parties involved.
The Joliet Park District Board approved Monday night an agreement with Tri-State Land Partners to sell 7.6 acres of park-owned land at the northwest corner of Caton Farm Road and Route 59 on the city’s far west side.
There are three key components to the deal.
One, the land will be the new site of the Hawk Auto Subaru dealership – currently located on Jefferson Street – allowing Hawk to meet Subaru corporate’s desires to have a new car lot on Route 59.
Two, the $4.5 million collected by the park district will go toward badly needed improvements at the district-owned Wedgewood Golf Course, right next to the corner lot.
And three, the city of Joliet keeps a car dealership in the city after it nearly escaped to Plainfield.
Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said he, Deputy City Manager Steve Jones and Joliet Park District Executive Director Tom Carstens have worked hard for the last month to get the deal done.
“I appreciate that we’re doing this,” O’Dekirk said after the park board unanimously approved the deal. “I think it’s good for the city, it’s good for the park district and we’re happy it finally got done.”
The park district will use the money for several upgrades, including a new irrigation system to replace the current one that was installed in 1970.
“We’re selling it, basically, to make sure we keep that course up to date with the new irrigation system, renovated clubhouse, new cart pass and upgraded bunkers,” Carstens said after the meeting.
The property has been for sale for eight years. Park Board President Sue Gulas wanted to make it clear that every penny from the sale will go toward the golf course improvements.
“People were thinking we were selling the entire golf course,” Gulas said. “Legally, we can’t do anything else with that money anyway. The state says we have to roll it back into that property.”
Carstens said the city wanted to keep Hawk Subaru in Joliet.
“The park district and the city have such a great relationship. We work well together on projects. This is a perfect example of that,” Carstens said.
Over the past few years, the district has had talks with a few potential buyers, Carstens said, but the plan remained the same – sell the land, and use the money to upgrade the golf course.
“It was just a matter of who bought it,” Gulas said.
“We’re really excited to move forward with this project,” Carstens said. “We’re struggling now to find parts to keep the irrigation system going. We’re really excited to get this course up to where it needs to be.”
Hawk had looked at other sites on Route 59, including two on Theodore Street that didn’t work out, and one in Plainfield on Fraser Road, near single-family homes.