No 'Neglect' at McKee House

This Letter to the Editor was published in the Daily Herald on July 31, 2016.

Dear Editor:

In your July 17, 2016, edition, a letter inaccurately described the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s decision to delay replacing the McKee House roof as “neglect” and a tactic to rationalize the structure’s demolition. Quite the contrary. Our Board of Commissioners has given a considerable amount of attention to this structure and to reaching a decision to advance our organizational purpose while best serving DuPage County’s citizens over the past 10 years.

In order to clear the record, the District retained a historic-preservation architect to evaluate the McKee House’s condition in 2013. This study not only determined the cost to stabilize the building but also to make improvements required for occupancy to further the District’s programming. We’ve also explored options for working with community partners to use the property, fund refurbishments and operate it long-term. No partner has yet been identified.

We’ve benefited from successful long-term partnerships at the Graue Mill and Museum in Oak Brook and the Danada House in Wheaton, which have helped us operate and maintain those sites. These relations serve as exemplary models whereby committed citizen groups assist to fund and operate significant historic and cultural sites in DuPage forest preserves.

As this board — including Commissioners M. Murphy, Redick, Painter, Whelan, A. Murphy — and I look ahead, DuPage County’s citizens can be assured about our state-mandated mission to protect and preserve the county’s flora, fauna and scenic beauty and commitment to upholding sound financial and operational practices. While the McKee House certainly represents an important chapter in our agency’s past, its value must be based on its significance in furthering the District’s operations in a financially prudent manner.

Sincerely,

President Joseph F. Cantore, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County 
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