Sileno Quarry park plans questioned
Brookfield officials frustrated expectations have changed
Lingering questions about the Sileno Quarry located south of Burleigh Road and east of Lilly Road surfaced during a public hearing about the effort to update Brookfield's park plans Tuesday.
The 85-acre site, which was a sand and gravel quarry from 1921 to 1978, now contains steep bluffs, adjoining wetlands and a clear-blue 23-acre lake that all hold promise for - and hurdles to - lucrative development.
The Quarry Group expressed interest in dedicating a substantial portion of the property to the city last fall.
The city contracted RA Smith National to study the site. That study found that a developer would pay up to $1.2 million for 8 acres along the north shore that can be developed into multifamily housing.
Those funds could then be used to develop a neighborhood park with a limited trail system, scenic vistas, picnic areas, play equipment and landscaping, the study concluded.
However, the Quarry Group later said it intended to develop multifamily housing on the 8 northern acres - and to potentially dedicate some undevelopable land to the city.
On Tuesday, George Erwin, an attorney representing the Quarry Group, raised questions about language in the city's pending park plans that call for dedication of 66 acres and grading of the site.
"We're very supportive of a plan that would implement a park in this area," he said. "But we do not want to be involved in a situation where you amend the master plan and put us in a box."
Erwin added that the Quarry Group "cannot deliver a completed park."
City Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Bill Kolstad said the 66-acre natural resources area would include the 23-acre lake, almost 15 acres of wetlands and shoreline easements.
Alderman Daniel Sutton expressed frustration that the city contracted RA Smith National at a cost of $17,000 last fall when the Quarry Group indicated the entire site could be dedicated.
"We didn't know you were spending (money)," Erwin replied. "We would have suggested to you that it was a little premature."
In 1993, city officials turned down a proposal to turn the quarry into a regional water recreation hub at a cost of $4 million. Plans for a neighborhood park to the south of the property remained.
No action was taken Tuesday. Community Development Director Dan Ertl said the Plan Commission will discuss pending updates to park plans Aug. 8.
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