By TIMOTHY COX
ROCKFORD — Village officials plan to take a hands-off
approach on whether the local American Legion post can acquire
a small parcel of land to build a new facility.
The land along Bridge Street, known as Hedges Park, includes
an American Legion monument and a former cemetery that may or
may not still contain human remains. Rockford officials at their
Tuesday night meeting said the parcel is not theirs, although
county real estate tax records show otherwise.
Village officials believe the land is a virtual no-man’s
land. The village takes care of it, while the American Legion
is the only user of the site, staging Memorial Day services
there. But neither the town nor the Legion claim ownership of
the land. Council members, therefore, want to step back from
“There is no record of any village ownership of that land,”
Village Administrator Jeff Long said.
Long said Solicitor Judy Koesters and attorney Tom Lammers,
a former village solicitor, each could provide no evidence the
village owns the parcel.
Legion officials had approached council members a month ago
asking about the availability of the land, which is adjacent
to the existing Legion post. American Legion officials are looking
to build new quarters because of repeated flood damage to the
basement of the existing facility.
Tom Beahrs, a village utility worker and Legion member, said
American Legion officials might pursue ownership of the property
Council member Randy Gutierrez wondered why the town maintains
the land. “What the hell’s up with that?”
Long said the village probably would continue to mow grass at
The Daily Standard this morning checked into the property at
the Mercer County Tax Map office. Records there indicate the
2-acre property, called Hedges Cemetery on officials documents,
is indeed owned by the village. It lists Clerk-Treasurer Amy
Lyons as the contact person. Because the land is a cemetery,
no property taxes are paid on it.
No one could be reached at the village office this morning for
Also during Tuesday’s regular council meeting, Long and
police Chief Paul May announced the town will begin cracking
down on the storage of junk vehicles, high weeds and grass and
the storage of junk and rubbish around a property.
“We’re getting a lot of complaints ... It’s
a mounting problem,” Long said.
May said the problem is not widespread but that there are a
handful of six or eight regular violators.
“We’ve tried to work with people ... but they took
advantage,” May said. “It’s a continuous thing.”
May and Long said village officials will now adopt a “zero
tolerance” attitude toward violation of the three village
ordinances that cover the offenses. The ordinances grant time
for violators to clean up their act and avoid penalties but
allow local officials to cite violators who do not cooperate
In other business, council members:
• Appointed Pat Williams and Marlene Roebuck to three-year
terms of the Tax Incentive Review Committee.
• Agreed to stay with Peoples Bank Co. for a two-year
• Approved final reading of an annexation agreement between
the town and Dublin Township regarding the annexation of about
40 acres of land owned by Parkway Local Schools. Because the
school is tax exempt, the annexation agreement has no financial
terms for the sharing of tax revenue.