The District 207 Board of Education has entered into an agreement to purchase the approximately three acres of land located at 711 S. Hamlin, Park Ridge which is referred to as the Cline Farm.
The intent is for the land to be used by the district in multiple ways including as an offsite outdoor/indoor classroom for students interested in rapidly expanding fields related to the environment and sustainability, including agriculture. In addition, the District will explore a partnership with the Park Ridge Park District to find mutually beneficial ways to use the space for students, as well as the community, in order to maximize the usage of the land to benefit the entire community.
“This generation of students is far more environmentally conscious than its predecessors,” said Superintendent Dr. Ken Wallace. “We have major issues to tackle related to the environment but that also means that there are many viable career options available that not only provide great jobs, but also do so while improving our air, water and climate, something essential to us all.”
Maine South has the largest enrollment of the three schools in the district but the least amount of green space, making opportunities to add green space limited. This is one of the reasons why the district has entered into the agreement to purchase the property.
The cost to purchase the land is $3.2 million and was approved at a special meeting of the Board of Education on July 6. With the agreement in place, the district will utilize the next sixty days to further evaluate the property and determine the additional costs to utilize the property as educational space and work through details of a potential lease agreement with the park district.
The district already owns an access path between the Maine South property and Hamlin Road, which is near the school’s fieldhouse. That path would be utilized for students moving between the school and the plot of land. In addition, that access area would make it easier to connect the property to any electrical and or internet connections.
The land is currently owned by Violet Koenig and has been in her family for more than 100 years.