The Mann School land (owned by District 97), contiguous to Field park land, has been arrogated by the Park District of Oak Park to jointly produce soccer fields. Dept of Natural Resources has given permission, and Don Harmon has earmarked $400 thousand of state taxpayer money as a contribution. It was presented to Harmon as half the $800 thousand park district consultants estimated it would cost.

Lo and behold, the current estimated cost has escalated to $l.2 million, but the Harmon-sponsored amount remains at $400,000, not at half the cost. Lo and behold, there is a $400,000 gap – to be paid by taxpayers, who did not choose to cut down mature trees and did not claim to be able to successfully transplant other mature trees in the summertime. Consultant Altamanu of the park district claims it included “stakeholders” in previous year-long discussions (read soccer interests, not neighbors).

The purpose of this letter is to request that the “stakeholder” soccer enthusiasts raise money on their own for the $400 thousand gap–not the village, not the park district. (What about replacement of Ridgeland Common, and there goes their next referendum!) How about it, soccer people: You said at the meeting at Mann School that you really, really need more soccer fields. Pay up. You said you have thousands of soccer kids, thus thousands of soccer parents. Many of you wrote passionate letters in Wednesday Journal last week, so we know you care. It’s all for you. And if the actual cost just happens to increase beyond $1.2 million, you still do really, really need those soccer fields. So step up and volunteer, AYSO. Pay up.

Annabel Abraham
Oak Park

• Editor’s note: Also writing in support of preserving trees in Field park were:
Charlie Rossiter
Adam Piotrowski
Leslie Roberts
Jolie Pont (second-grader)
Les Golden

Also writing in support of the Field plan was:
Kary McIlwain

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