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Search begins for new Blackberry Township supervisor

BLACKBERRY TOWNSHIP – Blackberry Township trustees are looking to appoint a new supervisor after the surprise resignation of Dennis Ryan last week.

In a short resignation letter he sent Feb. 5 by email, Ryan wrote, “Due to ongoing health concerns, I, Dennis C. Ryan, am resigning from the position of Blackberry Township Supervisor, effectively immediately.”

Ryan beat Frederick Dornback, 476-424, in the April 9 consolidated election last year, according to results posted on the Kane County Clerk’s website.

“It was sort of a shock to me that he would resign, because we had several correspondences about the McNair ballfield,” Trustee Harley Veldhuizen said. “We were trying to draft a letter to send to the owners, and then bingo, the next email I get, it was, ‘I quit.’ ”

Ryan would not discuss his resignation, saying only, “It’s better for my health and better for the township that I left.”

Veldhuizen said a couple of people have shown interest in serving as township supervisor. The board nominated senior Trustee James Feece to moderate the February meeting, and members expect to make a choice during the March meeting, he said.

The replacement supervisor has to have voted Republican in the last presidential primary. Veldhuizen said the supervisor position is part-time, about 25 hours a week, and pays $20,000 a year.

But first, the board has a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the township office, 43W390 Main Street Road, Blackberry Township, to write a budget for the next fiscal year.

Veldhuizen said trustees finally have gotten a response from the owners of the McNair ballfield, which more than 700 youth baseball and football players use for practice.

The lease with property owners Transmission Relay Corporation of Burr Ridge, charged the township $1 a year for the youths to use the five-acre property, but the lease agreement was allowed to lapse last April, officials said.

None of the rent checks were cashed, they said. The low rate for the lease was connected to a sales agreement from the property’s previous owner, whose children were involved in baseball.

The previous property owner wanted a portion reserved for athletic purposes, officials said. 

Trustee Timothy Norris said he was surprised by Ryan’s sudden resignation. Still, Norris said trustees were encouraged through their own efforts to speak with the property’s owners.

Trustee James Feece said he wished Ryan well with his health issues. 

“All of us have been trying to meet with the Elburn baseball group … and the board asked him [Ryan] to contact the owners of the property so we could negotiate a lease for at least another year,”  Feece said. “To my knowledge, he had not carried through with that.”

Time is of the essence, Feece said.

“We’re going to be having baseball kids signing up here pretty quick, and we had gotten behind in our negotiations with property,” Feece said.      

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