A lawsuit will be filed against North Riverside by Aug. 8, unless a land dispute regarding the U.S. Army Reserve property can be resolved, said Broadview Mayor Henry Vicenik.
Vicenik said North Riverside illegally annexed the 30-acre Army property last summer. He said the land used to belong to Broadview, and that his village still has claim to the property.
“According to the Army, annexation can only be allowed if the municipality surrounds the property,” Vicenik said. “We border the Army land by more than 100 feet on the west side of Ninth Avenue.”
Annexation gives a municipality the right to rezone the land if the government decides to sell, though there is no indication the Army wishes to sell this property. The Army Corps of Engineers policy is to allow annexation if a parcel is surrounded on all sides by a municipality, or if the bordering municipalities agree.
Vicenik said Broadview was not consulted about the North Riverside annexation. He said he tried to work out the matter with Richard Scheck, mayor of North Riverside, but did not reach a satisfactory answer. Attorneys for both villages are discussing the problem.
“We’re looking to file a motion in either circuit or federal court,” Vicenik said. “We have to file by Aug. 8 to comply with the year-long statute of limitations. We’re just trying to preserve the rights of the village.”
The Army parcel is between Roosevelt Road to the north, Ninth Avenue to the west, 1st Avenue to the east and W. Cermak
Road to the south. A 10-acre piece of the land on the northwest corner is owned and
used by the state for the Illinois National Guard.
North Riverside has always bordered the property to the south, and was able to purchase the land at the corner of First and Cermak to form a small border on the east.
The North Riverside mayor said Broadview does not border any part of the Army property. Scheck also disputes that the land was ever a part of Broadview, but refused to say why he believes this.
Vicenik said when Broadview was incorporated in 1914, the village included the Army property. He said he has the legal description to prove it.
“Then in 1930, we don’t know if the federal government either purchased the land or was given the land,” Vicenik said.
Vicenik said he has always asserted that Broadview would be interested in the Army property, and has formally objected in the past when North Riverside has talked about annexation. He said he believes North Riverside misled the Army Corps of Engineers into thinking that Broadview is not connected to the land.
“We even have infrastructure still there. We still provide water and sewer service to the property,” Vicenik said.
Staff at the Army Corps of Engineers could not be reached for this story.
As this dispute develops, the two villages are also considering a joint deal to annex the National Guard property, though the state has not expressed any interest in selling the land. Both mayors said it’s not likely a joint annexation will be arranged anytime soon.
At the time of the annexation last year, Scheck said the village purchased the neighbor corner, now a developer-owned strip mall, in order to arrange the deal with the Army.
“If and when the [Army] property is sold, the village will have 100 percent control of its future, making sure that we have the best interests of all North Riverside residents at heart,” Scheck said when the village signed the annexation deal.