Neighbors endorse, praise Metamora Fields project

DeWayne Bartels
Cory Hill, seen here in the driveway of his grandparent’s home, across the street from Metamora Fields is anxious to try the new golf course next year. Hill is also hopeful he can get a job at the golf course.

A recent survey of several property owners on Progress Street whose property looks out onto Metamora Fields did not find one property owner who objects to the project.

Several, however, did express some concerns about rising property taxes because they anticipate their property values will rise.

Jesse Ward, 718 Progress, stopped work on his roof momentarily to look over at ongoing work on the 20,000-square-foot clubhouse across the street from his home.

“I think it’s good. I’d rather see this than more houses. It’s good for the neighborhood,” Ward said, wiping his brow. “It sure isn’t hurting it. It’s no more dusty than a corn field.”

Suzanne Faler, 830 Progress, moved into the neighborhood in April from the Chicago area.

“It’s been interesting to watch it develop. When we got here it was just a big open field,” Faler said.

“I think our property taxes will go up, but the taxes too. Our cars are filthy from the dust, but that’s no big deal. It will be done soon. This is going to be a good addition to a nice quiet little town.”

Eleanor Lockhart, 1120 Progress, has lived in her home since 1985.

“I think it’s great. I think it will probably raise property values. It is noisy and there’s more traffic. But, I really don’t have any issues with it,” Lockhart said.

Her grandson, Cory Hill, also of Metamora, said he cannot wait to see the project done.

Hill said he is an avid golfer and plays now primarily in Washburn, East Peoria and Washington. He said having a course in town across the street from his grandparent’s house would be ideal.

Hill, however, has hopes other than playing at the course.   

“I think it’s going to be awesome, especially if I can get a job there and play for free,” Hill said. “I would do anything to work there.”

As the golf course and clubhouse at Metamora field take shape, Jason Payne, development partner for the project with Turf Solutions, looks at the project with pride.

He is happy with the reaction from neighbors.

The 245 acre project — which will increase the size of Metamora by 20 percent — is being built on what was county land before being annexed into Metamora so city water and sewage was available. Payne did not want to disclose the name or names of the owners.

“It was the dream of a local family to bring a beautiful championship golf course and clubhouse to Metamora,” Payne said. “They have been generous benefactors to Metamora and Germantown Hills.”

The project, under construction for more than a year, has had challenges.

“When we started there were two trees on the property. We’ll have close to 1,000 trees planted by the end of the year.”

The rolling features of the project seen now were created by truckloads of dirt brought in over the last year-and-a-half.

“It was also tough to find 250 acres of land close enough to town,” Payne said.

The clubhouse is scheduled to open in November. The golf course is slated for opening next summer.

The project will also have 102 residential lots. There will be 74 lots in the south section and 28 in the north section. The lots are priced from $60,000 to $100,000. The lots range in size from a quarter-acre to half-acre.

“More than half the lots will have great golf course views,” Payne said.

Interest in the lots is on the increase.

“We’ve had nearly 100 inquiries this summer alone. That’s a good sign. We’ve sold a few lots,” Payne said. “We’ve seen a real increase in interest in the past two or three weeks.”

Payne said the golf course and residential development is expected to pay economic dividends for Metamora.

“Hopefully it’s a commercial and residential growth igniter. We think it will certainly have an economic impact for existing business and future businesses,” Payne said.

“Maybe Metamora will even get its first hotel.”