Residents scold D41 leaders for plans to take Wheaton College land

“Dozens of residents blasted Glen Ellyn School District 41 school board members for the idea of using eminent domain to take Wheaton College property to build a new junior high school.

The forum on Wednesday night drew more than 100 people who wanted to weigh-in on the school district’s interest in the land. College officials have said they are not interested in selling and would fight efforts by the school district to take it. Eminent domain is a common way for government entities to buy land from unwilling property owners for the sake of public use.

“This would be vastly different if the property were abandoned or dilapidated,” said Glen Ellyn resident Douglas Carrington, who also works at the college. “Wheaton College has a long-standing history of careful planning and fundraising. The district has appeared to fail to adequately plan and has merely staged a land grab.”

Wheaton College bought the 15 acres at 1825 College Ave. for more than $4 million in 1997, as part of its long-term planning because it doesn’t have the government power to take land through eminent domain, officials said. The property is used for a faculty art studio, warehouse storage, and a number of non-profit Christian ministries, including World Relief.”

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Truong, Quan. Chicago Tribune 4 April 2013.