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Edgerton resident offers city six acres

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Neil Johnson
August 8, 2012

— An Edgerton landowner has offered to donate six acres of wooded property to the city if the city agrees to keep it as open "green space."

Edgerton resident Judy Scharfenberg this week pitched an offer to give the city a parcel she owns at the east end of Henderson and Blanchard streets, north of Edgerton Towne Country Club.

Scharfenberg said the land is adjacent to her residential property. It's belonged to her family for decades and was part of a larger tract of adjacent land developed in the 1940s and 1950s.

She said she and a couple other family members own the property and aren't interested in holding onto it anymore.

"We would like to just give it to the city. We just thought we'd come first and ask if you'd want it," Scharfenberg told officials at a meeting this week.

The land, which is mostly wooded and on a steep hillside, was never developed. Scharfenberg indicated she wants the property to stay as open space and said she plans to consult with an attorney over options for land use if the city wants to accept the parcel.

City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said Scharfenberg's offer is unusual. Normally, municipalities either purchase acreage suitable for parks, or park areas are left open as part of an agreement when subdivisions are built.

Flanigan said similar land locally has sold for $7,000 to $9,500 an acre in recent years, but she's not sure about the current market value of Scharfenberg's parcel.

The city's comprehensive plan designates a northern portion of Scharfenberg's parcel as "developable," land with easy access to city services, but the southern half of the tract, which has a ravine and a steep hillside, is designated in the comprehensive plan to remain as open space.

This week, Flanigan recommended that if the council wanted to move on Scharfenberg's land offer, it could require Scharfenberg to agree that the land could eventually have some park improvements, "whether it be trails or whatever a future parks committee may wish."

Scharfenberg said that she's not sure she'd want to see the property paved with walkways.

Scharfenberg told The Gazette she was not prepared to give details, but she noted she'd always envisioned the parcel being kept in its current, wooded state, more as a nature preserve than a city park.

"We have a lot of deer up where we live, wild animals and varmints," Scharfenberg. "We just think we'd like to give it to the city to use as a buffer or green space."

It's not clear when she could donate the land or what the final conditions would be.



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