The Daily Journal
By Jon Krenek
The yellow zone …closing the north door … mobilization.
The phrases above made a meeting of about 300 Limestone Township residents Thursday sound more like a war than an attempt to incorporate a village. The strategically placed future Limestone village boundaries would literally serve as a wall blocking future annexations by the city of Kankakee.
“They’re taking us prisoner,” said Mark Anderson, a resident of Vaughndale Acres, who lives in the “buffer zone.”
The incorporation effort is aimed at defending existing Limestone Township homes from two recent annexations Kankakee made in their direction. The proposed village is a strip of subdivisions and homes formed in an arching “wall” from Illinois Route 17 to the Kankakee River blocking Kankakee’s advance.
The boundary includes 600 homes in the “yellow zone” whose owners will vote Nov. 7 to incorporate as the Village of Limestone.
“We had many different maps,” said Limestone resident Mark Mitsdarffer, who headed the Committee for Incorporation. “We wanted to close the north door.”
The odd configuration stirred some emotion because the Limestone Meadows, River Bend, Heil States, Fox Run and Vaughndale Acres Subdivisions are being left out in an area called the “buffer zone.” Those subdivisions rest within a mile and a half of Kankakee’s boundary and would require the city’s permission to incorporate, according to attorney Justin Fredin. Just filing a petition to incorporate Limestone will delay city annexation attempts until the Nov. 7 election is over.
The strategy is to incorporate Limestone in the yellow zone without possibility of a legal objection from Kankakee. The next move would be to annex buffer zone properties into the new village, according to Mitsdarffer. Several buffer zone residents left after hearing their subdivisions were not included in the new village boundaries.
Committee members pleaded with them to stay.
“This protects you. Anybody in the buffer zone can choose, by choice, who they want to be with,” said Sheri Gaunce, who served on the committee. “If we don’t have a village, we don’t have a right to get you back in.”
The committee said a mobilization effort will include a petition drive to place the question on the Nov. 7 ballot, fundraising to pay for needed surveys and legal fees, and a drive to get supporters registered to vote. Loud applause followed a speech from committee member Mike Whalen gauging support for the effort.
“I haven’t heard one person say they want to be a part of Kankakee,” said Whalen. “Something has to get done. There are not many other options.”