Let's change that to, it was the best of restorations, it was the worst of restorations for A Tale of Two Gravel Pits in Richfield.
- 10 year project VS 2 year project
- All new fill from outside Richfield VS fill from within Richfield (except for a small amount that was removed)
- Most residents do not support the project VS most residents did support the project
- Trucks arriving/leaving daily VS trucks arrive and stay till subdivision was complete
- Adding trucks to Richfield roads VS Removing trucks from Richfield roads
- Jeff Gonyo supports restoration of this pit VS Jeff Gonyo was against restoration of this pit.
Now you have to decide which pit matches these points.
In the past few days most Richfield residents received a black and white flyer in their newspaper boxes. The flyer has an image of a recent mailer from the Citizens Supporting Richfield PAC but primarily focused on gravel pits. While some of the information on the flyer provides correct information, such as Jacklin Pit was considered POSITIVE, the flyer does not provide enough information to new residents on why the Jacklin Pit restoration was positive to most Richfield residents, especially those residents who lived around that pit. That property eventually was developed into the Timber Stone subdivision rather than have the gravel, which lies below the ground, mined.
To know why the village board voted to stop the Scenic Pit project you need to know the history of both pits. One benefited surrounding residents while the other will more than likely be detrimental to surrounding residents.
At the time this property was being mined there were very few residential properties within the entire Town of Richfield, much less adjacent to the pit. The closest home to the pit was and still is the home of the property owner. That home is now owned by Danah Zoulek. Over the following 30-40 years, subdivisions were developed throughout Richfield. Most notably are the homes that were developed to the west and north of the Scenic pit. The pit had grown over and was just a wooded area with mature trees, nothing detrimental to the development of the new homes. Now Danah Zoulek, as stated publicly, wants to bring truck loads of dirt into Richfield to fill the pit which today looks more like a kettle ground feature.
One scenario is to fill in the pit area, which is probably 60-70 feet high, to make it more level with the surrounding area. So how many 10-yard truck loads are needed to fill the 60-70 foot deep pit? One could project that 200,000-300,000 truck loads might fill the pit. What is most important about those truck loads is the magnitude of the financial gain at the expense of surrounding residential neighbors not to mention the impact it has on all Richfield residents. There is no way to restrict these trucks to just the roads in the southern portion of Richfield, all residents in Richfield could be impacted by these trucks. What are the chances the fill, coming from outside Richfield, could contaminate our water supply? No one can say for sure.
Danah Zoulek's husband spoke at a 2015 village meeting and said revenue could be between $35.00 - $50.00 per truck. If you project 300,000 truck loads, Zoulek's revenue could be close to $10-15 Million dollars. The time frame to complete this project is expected to take at least 10 years. Private enterprise is a good thing but not to the determent of other residents, their safety and home values. Residents who now live around the pit are not happy with the possibility of living with multiple trucks per hour per day for the next 10 years.
Jacklin Pit: The Jacklin Pit began sometime in the late 1920' or early 1930's. John Kohl remembers going there with his dad to get some gravel. The operation of the Jacklin pit was modest in the beginning, serving local farmers, and over time more gravel was extracted.
The recent flyer states, Restoration of the Jacklin Pit on Hubertus RD by Payne and Dolan Was Considered POSITIVE in Richfield.....Yes it was as it meant the pit would be closed and that made most residents who lived around the property quite happy. The Jacklin pit is located on Hubertus Road just west of St Gabriel Grade School. Owners of the Jacklin Pit excavated it to the very lot line edge.
Payne and Dolan owned land that extended from the southern and western edges of the Jacklin Pit. They owned land that extended from Hubertus Road south to Elmwood Road and the entrance to Timber Stone development is on Hubertus Road. This property was primarily farm land with some open and wooded areas. Payne and Dolan had owned this land for approximately 40 years. Over that time subdivisions were approved and build to the east and west of the property. Payne and Dolan knew as subdivisions were approved around other potential gravel pits that various town, village, or city officials were not willing to approve permits for new gravel pits based on location. In the late 1980's Payne and Dolan attempted to get a mining permit from the Town of Richfield but was rejected. Then in the early 2000's they chose to develop the land, between 2 existing residential areas, into additional residential property.
While there was an issue with some fill that was brought into the Jacklin pit, but removed, the fill used to restore the pit came from the construction of Timber Stone subdivision. As roads were built in the subdivision some of the hills had to be smoothed down and that ground was moved into the Jacklin Pit. The property value for residents around the Jacklin Pit increased as the pit looked much better than it had previously.
The property value for residents around the Scenic Pit, more than likely, will decrease with all the trucks, dust and noise over ten or more years.
There were a few people who were against restoration of the Jacklin Pit, namely Jeff Gonyo, Gil Frank along with a few more of Jeff Gonyo's compatriots. These same people now are in favor of bringing trucks to add fill to the Scenic Pit.
Why the difference, we might never know.
Remember: One pit restoration benefited residents living around the pit while the other has the potential to be detrimental to residents surrounding the pit.