Oak Brook Park District Open Space Project

Open Space Project Updates

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 –  Oak Brook Park District Finalizes Purchase of McDonald's Fields

On Wed., Feb. 6, Oak Brook Park District closed on a $15.8 million purchase of the 34-acre property located at Jorie Boulevard and Kensington Road.

The property, which is currently being referred to as “Central Park North,” is now owned by the Oak Brook Park District and available for the public to use and enjoy from dawn to dusk. The park district plans to begin making improvements to the property this spring.

Oak Brook Park District Executive Director Laure Kosey says the park district is going to rely on the community to determine the official name of the park, prioritize projects, and amenities. Residents should be on the lookout for focus group invitations and surveys regarding the property. “We are excited to engage our residents to make sure we are best serving the needs of the community,” says Kosey.  

Voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum that allowed the park district to issue $17.9 in bonds to purchase and improve the property at the Nov. 6, 2018 election. The measure passed with 68% voter support.
Once voters ok’d the referendum, park officials sought a bond rating in order to obtain the lowest interest rates possible when issuing the voter approved bonds. On Wed., Dec. 26 the Oak Brook Park District received official notice that Moody's Investor's Service assigned the park district an Aaa rating with a stable outlook, the highest rating available. $17.9 million in bonds were issued through a competitive sale. The park district will use the remaining $2.1 million in bond proceeds to make improvements to the property over the next three years.

According to Oak Brook Park District Park Board President, Sharon Knitter, the board and staff are looking forward to working with the community to develop creative plans for the property. “We were thrilled to receive such strong direction from our residents and we are happy to preserve and improve this open recreational space in ways that align with their vision for Oak Brook,” says Knitter.

Check back frequently for project updates.

Election Results

November 7, 2018 Oak Brook Park District Open Space Referendum Passes

While the results are preliminary, it appears that the referendum to acquire the McDonald’s Fields has passed. The referendum’s success enables the Park District to advance in its mission to provide the very best in park and recreational opportunities and open lands for our community.

The Park District would like first to express its gratitude to the voters for supporting this important referendum on open space. We would also like to extend a special thank-you to each of those committed community members who took an active role in supporting the referendum, and to the many residents who attended our open houses to learn more. The vote demonstrates our residents’ continuing commitment to meet the essential recreational needs of our community, and to maintain Oak Brook’s exceptional quality of life for generations to come.

The Park District plans to begin its efforts to acquire the McDonald’s Fields immediately. Please look for project updates here, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Referendum Information

The relocation of McDonald’s corporate offices to Chicago presents the Oak Brook Park District with an opportunity to secure more open space and park land for the community. In July 2018, the Oak Brook Park District Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to request a $17.9 million bond over a 20-year period to cover the cost of purchasing the 34-acre property at Jorie Boulevard and Kensington Road commonly known as the "McDonald's Soccer Fields". This bond request will be a referendum question on the Nov. 6, 2018, election ballot. 

The proposed bonds would be repaid over a 20-year period. The referendum question will be on the Nov. 6, 2018, ballot and all residents of the Oak Brook Park District will have the opportunity to vote on the measure.

Official Question

Below is the official language of the referendum on the ballot:
Shall the Oak Brook Park District, DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, purchase and improve the approximately 34 acres commonly known as the “McDonald’s Soccer Fields,” located north of said Park District’s Central Park and between Kingery Highway (Route 83), Kensington Road and Jorie Boulevard, and issue its bonds to the amount of $17,900,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What would the money be used for?

A: The funds raised from the bond issue could only be used to purchase and improve the approximately 34-acre parcel commonly known as the “McDonald’s Soccer Fields,” which is currently owned by McDonald’s Corporation. The Park District is asking voters to consider the measure because its surveys show that the community views the open space preservation of this specific parcel as a high priority, and the Park District does not have funds available to purchase the property without the voter-approved bonds.

The Oak Brook Park District outperforms national and local averages in every recreational facility and parkland category, with the exception of residents per park site. The Oak Brook Park District has more residents per park than other similarly sized communities. By acquiring this land, Oak Brook would improve the community’s resident per park site ratio and keep pace with national trends in this “quality of life” category.

Q. Why is the Park District asking residents to vote on this referendum?

A.  Earlier this year, in addition to reviewing community-wide interest surveys, Oak Brook Park District met with focus groups to listen to what the community wanted. The clear answer from residents was that you wanted the Park District to try to acquire this 34-acres of land next to Central Park -- one of the last remaining parcels of open space in Oak Brook. If the referendum passes, the Park District would be able to acquire this land.

Potential commercial or residential development on this site is probable if the referendum does not pass.

The Oak Brook community values a high quality of life, which is often reflected in having open space accessible to all. Highly-desirable communities offer public open space for activities that correlate to wellness.

Q: What is the tax impact if voters approve the referendum?

A: Passage of the referendum would affect a tax increase for Oak Brook Park District property owners. The approximate cost to the owner of a $1 million home would be $266 per year. If your home value is less, the tax would be less, and if it is more, the tax would be more. The bond issue would be repaid over a customary period of 20 years.

Q: What would you do with the land?

A: If the measure is approved, the Park District would promptly issue the bonds to purchase the land. Once acquired, the land would be maintained as open recreational space.

Following the purchase, the Park District would execute the improvements necessary to ensure that recreational use residents have indicated is a priority can safely resume on the property:

  • Inspect and resume maintenance of the walking paths
  • Inspect and resume maintenance of the existing athletic fields
  • Reopen recreational opportunities at the existing athletic fields

After completing the maintenance and improvements needed to ensure safe recreational use, the Park District would rely on community input to determine, prioritize, and budget any future improvements to the land.

Ongoing maintenance, including mowing, turf care, field striping, waste removal, etc., would be supported by the Oak Brook Park District’s current operating budget.

Q. How can I find out more?

A. Check back frequently. If you’re on social media, you can also follow OBPARKS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay updated on the latest developments. If you have specific questions, please contact Executive Director, Laure Kosey, at lkosey@obparks.org.  

How To Vote

Residents will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to purchase the McDonald’s Fields property during the Nov. 6, 2018 election.