Park property plans include improvements

Published 11/13 2012 09:05PM

Updated 11/27 2012 05:24PM

Update: 9:12 pm
DECATUR-- Two parks will be turned over to ADM. The district board approved the land swap Tuesday night. ADM will take Spencer and Brush College parks.

The company will use the land to expand its railyard. In return, the district will get about 20 acres of land near I-72 and US 51, plus $300,000 for amenities.


Original: 5:55 pm
DECATUR -- Leaders at the park district will vote on some big changes Tuesday night. A land exchange with ADM is on the table, but it would mean closing down two of its parks. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw finds out what the deal entails.

Spencer and Brush College parks could be demolished, but new parks would be built nearby. One neighbor says she'd still be sad to see them go. For Judy Huffaker, this park holds a lot of memories.

"They had free shows for the kids. Kids used to like it."

But, now the district says Brush College has been a target for vandals.

"We've had basketball rims torn down, signage for the park torn down, just severe vandalism on a regular basis."

It's one of the reasons the park district wants to make the trade. Spencer and Brush College will go to the Archer Daniels Midland Company.

In return, the park district gets nearly 20 acres near I-72 and U.S. 51, plus $300,000 for the amenities in the two parks. That money will be used for more green space.

"This is going to give us the opportunity to build two more park areas and revitalize another park area."

The two new pocket parks will have basketball courts and a small pavilion. They'll also be closer to schools and churches in the area.

"That puts eyes on the park, we hope will reduce vandalism."

While Huffaker will be sad to see it go, she says it's just another sign that times have changed.

"Progress, not so much great, but it's progress and I understand that."

If plans are approved, park district leaders hope to start construction in the spring.

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