A long-running public battle between supporters of a cherished public golf course and a developer finally came to a head on Thursday, as a ruling was made on the controversial project.
At a public meeting of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago on Thursday, an approval was granted for a project that would build a road through the 10th fairway of Canal Shores Golf Course, a publicly-owned course that is operated by the Wilmette Park District.
During the long-running debate over the project, opponents had argued that the road would destroy a community park, damage wetlands, and cause flooding in the area.
“Please don’t let this community gem be raped for the benefit of a few well-connected people,” resident Wendy Vasquez said at a public hearing Thursday.
The developer, Keefe Development Corporation, was trying to get approval for a road access to four potential home sites that are landlocked by the golf course.
“We’re asking for what virtually every other homeowner in Wilmette has: access to their home,” Joe Keefe said.
In the end, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District voted 5-4 in favor of granting the easement to the developers, but that victory isn’t necessarily the end of the line, as the project still needs to be approved by village trustees and the Cook County Board.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Wilmette Park District has already threatened legal action against the project after the ruling, and other groups, including the Friends of the Chicago River, also voiced opposition to the project.
“I think there’s certainly some fishy politics at play, and I hope as this moves through the municipal approvals, that it gets stopped,” John Quail, Director of Watershed Planning, said.