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After at least six lawsuits and almost 10 years in court, a resolution may be approaching over whether a 400-acre horse farm in Barrington Hills will become forest preserve property.

The legal tug of war has led to bad blood between the prior purchasers of the property and officials from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, who will square off at trial at the end of February.

But with recent court rulings going against the prior owners, time may be running out on their fight against a public takeover. If the forest preserve district prevails, the site would be its largest new property in some 50 years.

The property in question, Horizon Farm, formerly known as Horizon Farms, contains rolling pastures, racetracks, numerous stables, and at least one house and a mansion, which have fallen into severe disrepair. Recently, a court appointed a receiver to maintain the property while its future is decided.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

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ar-181109055 South Barrington would become home to an extension of Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for military veterans under a federal agency’s proposal that’s drawn concern from the village’s mayor about periodic rifle volleys expected at the site.

Under what’s called an urban initiative, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants to acquire 15 acres near Mundhank and Freeman roads for the columbarium cemetery. Documents show federal officials are developing a master plan to start with 5,000 niches for cremated remains to be placed in a series of walls, growing to 50,000 over 100 years.

Officials from the VA’s National Cemetery Administration will host a public presentation on the plan from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Hilton Garden Inn, 2425 Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates. Those who attend may provide feedback to the federal representatives.

If built, the South Barrington cemetery would provide a more convenient Chicago-area military burial option for eligible veterans and their families as part of the push to have such facilities closer to a city core, according to the VA. Lincoln National in Elwood is 57 miles from downtown Chicago.

Ceremonies would occur at the proposed South Barrington cemetery, including rifle volleys honoring the veterans before they are laid to rest. The rifle fire is expected three to five times per weekday when there are burials.

“Our veterans earned VA burial benefits and are recognized with a memorial honor guard,” agency spokesman Rick Fox said. “Rifle volleys that are part of this recognition would occur between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. The site would be designed in a manner to direct the associated rifle volley noise away from the existing residences.

But South Barrington Mayor Paula McCombie, who stressed she supports veterans, said the “misguided” proposal would not fit in an area that includes the Barrington Homestead Estates and The Preserve of South Barrington residential subdivisions. Cook County’s Paul Douglas Forest Preserve is just west of the VA’s proposed project.

“We would love to have them in South Barrington, but at that location, considering they’re going to be firing guns off three to five times a day in a residential district and disturbing the peace of the residents that back up to the facility, we have to wait to hear from our residents to see what their opinion is of this,” McCombie said.

Under the VA’s tentative proposal, a main entrance wall and gate would be built with U.S. flags leading into the cemetery. There also would be natural and ornamental landscaping, a funeral cortège parking area, 30-foot-by-30-foot committal service shelter, a memorial marker wall and a roughly 1,300-square-foot public information and restroom building where visitors could use an electronic gravesite locator.

The full Daily Herald article can be read here.

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The 48th Annual Horse Trials will be held at the Barrington Hills Park District’s
Riding Center.

This nationally recognized event is the ultimate test of horse and rider.  One event, three disciplines: Dressage, Cross Country and Stadium Jumping. Novice through intermediate preliminary.

Admission is free to spectators!  Food truck and vendors on site.

The weekend begins with Dressage on Friday, June 22nd starting at 9:00am.  Horses and riders perform a prescribed set of exercises at the Barrington Hills Park District Riding Center located at 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills, IL.

Saturday, June 23th, is the exciting Cross Country phase where horses will gallop through the Forest Preserve over fixed obstacles, down banks and through water.  Cross Country rides will begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue until about 6 p.m. You will need to plan one half hour upon arrival at the Riding Center to get to the Cross Country course.

On Sunday, June 24th – Show Jumping competition and awards ceremonies will conclude the weekend.  Our fabulous Sponsor’s Brunch, starting at 9:00 will be served in a tent with views of both the grass jump field and the sand jumping arena. The many special trophies will be awarded at the conclusion of their divisions.  This final phase will be held at the Riding Center starting at approximately 9:00 a.m. continuing until mid-afternoon.

For more information please click the link.

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The Forest Preserve District of Cook County cannot evict the former owners of Horizon Farm in Barrington Hills, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday, citing an appeals court order from August that essentially sent the sale of the 400-acre equestrian estate back to the legal drawing board.

The land, which features four miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists and horse riders, has occasionally been open to the public since 2015.

The August order voided the sale of the property, which leaves the district with no right to evict the former owners, the court ruled Tuesday.

Richard Kirk Cannon and Meryl Squires Cannon argue the county unlawfully acquired the property through a $14.5 million foreclosure sale with BMO Harris Bank back in 2013.

The court’s latest opinion reverses a previous circuit court decision to award the district possession of the property and puts the eviction issue on hold pending resolution of the foreclosure case.

“We hold that the reversal of the foreclosure judgment voids the sale of the property to the FPD,” the opinion says. “If the circuit court, following trial, again awards a foreclosure judgment in favor of FPD, the court will need to hold a new foreclosure sale, and the purchaser at that sale will acquire the property owner’s rights and duties under the lease with Royalty Farms (if Royalty Farms has a valid lease).”

The full text of the Daily Herald article can be accessed here.

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IDOT IL 62 Study As state transportation officials brainstorm ways to address a bottleneck along Route 62 in Barrington Hills, they’re inviting area residents to learn more about the issue during an upcoming open house.

The event comes as officials with the Illinois Department of Transportation begin a four-year study examining possible upgrades and widening options to Route 62, between routes 25 and 68 in Barrington Hills.

Currently, the four-mile stretch, also named Algonquin Road, narrows to one-lane in each direction, but the roadway expands to two lanes in both directions before and after routes 25 and 68, said Kimberly Murphy, who heads the consultant studies unit for IDOT.

Traffic along that stretch of Route 62 also is over capacity, she said.

“There’s a lack of continuity between 25 and 68,” Murphy said. “It’s sort of a bottleneck.”

The upcoming open house for residents lasts from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Barrington Park District, 235 Lions Drive, Barrington.

During the event, IDOT officials said representatives will introduce tentative roadwork plans, listen to public feedback and answer residents’ questions. IDOT also is taking applications for a new community advisory committee on the project that would feature Barrington-area residents, motorists and stakeholders, Murphy said.

To read the full Barrington Courier-Review article, including comments by Barrington Hills Village Administrator Robert Kosin, click here.

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 “NO TRESPASSING” signs have been posted at the entrances to the largest new forest preserve in Cook County.

“Forest Preserve of Cook County does not have possession & has no right to enter this property or permit others to do so,” the warning reads on a locked gate at Horizon Farm, a rolling, 400-acre horse farm in Barrington Hills.

The notice was posted by Rich and Meryl Squires Cannon, who assert they are the true owners of the land after they won an Illinois Appellate Court decision in a long-standing legal battle over the prized property.

The court ruled that there is a legitimate question as to whether the Cannons were fraudulently pressured into the mortgage that led to foreclosure of their property. As a result, a lower court must reconsider whether the Forest Preserve District can foreclose on the property.

The shutdown is the latest development in a yearslong feud between the couple and the district. It could be years more before the dispute and the fate of the land is resolved.

To read the full article in the Chicago Tribune, click here.

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AR-170529561Efforts to save a coyote pup whose six siblings were found dead in a burlap bag on Cook County Forest Preserve District property near Barrington Hills continue.  Forest district  spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis said the May 11 incident remains under investigation by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Lukidis said Tuesday it’s not known what occurred before a man fishing at Penny Road Pond reported seeing the animals in the burlap bag, which was in the water. The pond is by East Penny and Old Sutton roads near Barrington Hills.

She said a forest preserve officer found what later was confirmed to be seven coyote puppies, but only one was still alive. The officer brought the coyote to Golf Rose Animal Hospital in Schaumburg.

You can read the entire Daily Herald article here.

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