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Lions Club donates $10,000 to help pay for new city park

Funds donated to city for Deer Ridge Park

The Morris Lions Club gave the Morris City Council a $10,000 check to use toward building a new park.

Current club president Don Lutes and incoming president Lori Linn presented the check to Mayor Richard Kopczick at Monday's regular council meeting.

Lutes said the club wanted to share the money it has raised in the community with the city.

"We're donating a check for $10,000 to Deer Ridge Park, a new park the city plans on building," Lutes said.

In November, Deer Ridge subdivision developers came before the Parks and Annexation Committee requesting a park be developed on the land it dedicated to the city when the subdivision was originally platted.

The subdivision, located off of U.S. 6 and Ashton Road, now has about 75 families living in it and has about 175 empty lots. There is currently not a park within walking or riding distance for kids or families. At one time, there was no road access to the land designated for the park, so the city could not construct anything, but there is now.

The developers, Don Hudzik and Debbie Donato, came before the committee at that time with some proposed ideas and costs for the park. Park equipment estimates they provided were between $60,000 and $80,000. They also requested a field and shelter for the area. With that and other affiliated costs, such as landscaping and parking, the total estimated then was at about $250,000.

The city had already planned to designate money in the next fiscal year budget that will be used for the park. The Lions Club donation will be used in addition to the city's portion.

"The parks committee made a recommendation to the budget officer to have $25,000 designated for Deer Ridge this summer to start to get equipment out there," Kopczick said after the council meeting. "The $10,000 will be added to that."

There are no specifics planned right now, but the city will look at the dollars available and try to get the most for their dollar, the mayor said.


In other business, the council approved the city's first light manufacturing zoning.

The property at 585 Gore Road, where the AT&T building is located, was unanimously approved to be annexed into the city. The property is about 4.744 acres and is owned by the Gleason Family Trust.

AT&T has leased the building since 1971, but the property has not been annexed into the city. The owners have requested water and sewer now, so the Gleasons went for annexation to get city services, their attorney Dan Adler said to the Planning Commission last week.

The commission also approved their zoning change request unanimously to go before the council with a positive recommendation.

All new annexations come into the city as residential. Properties then have to be rezoned for other uses, such as light manufacturing .

The light manufacturing zoning was created in 2010 and allows for lot sizes between one and five acres. Uses include offices, greenhouses, self-storage facilities, welding shops, auto repair shops, recreation centers and hotels.

It creates an option for the city to use as a buffer between residential and commercial or industrial land uses. The council also approved the zoning change unanimously.

"This is probably the perfect use for it and it would be the first of its kind in Morris," said Bill Cheshareck, building and zoning officer.

A public hearing on the new annexation was held prior to the council meeting, but no one from the public spoke.

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