APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DENIS
J. NORMOYLE, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE FULTON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This is an appeal by Lester J. Morand and Harold Engstrom, as trustees, seeking to review a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County authorizing appellee to take from the appellants certain premises located in the city of Chicago, on payment of judgments rendered in condemnation.
The Forest Preserve District filed its petition to condemn on October 13, 1950. Lester J. Morand and Harold Engstrom, the owners, as trustees, of premises designated as parcel No. 5, filed a traverse in the nature of an amended motion to dismiss. Gus Neubauer, the owner of parcel No. 8, also filed a traverse.
In their motion to dismiss Morand and Engstrom presented the following points:
(a) That their land is not a natural forest; does not connect such forests; could not become part of a unit area connecting such preserves with forested ways or links;
(b) It is not situated along a watercourse; could not be used for a forested way around such preserve;
(c) That the district already has more than sufficient land of an unforested nature for parking driveways and other improvements and facilities;
(d) That the taking of defendants' land would constitute an abuse of power by the Forest Preserve District.
The Forest Preserve District, hereinafter termed the "district," has in its statement suggested additional facts as follows:
The entire area referred to in the briefs is located on the southwest side in the city of Chicago; that part located south of Eighty-fifth Street is a wooded forest preserve of 162 acres, known as "Dan Ryan Woods," and has been owned by the district since the early 1920's. Hinkamp and Company's Forest Preserve Subdivision, in which appellant's property is located, was subdivided in 1926. It is and has always been vacant and unimproved, and is not forested except for some scattered trees. The whole subdivision adjoins Dan Ryan Woods on the north and extends from Eighty-fifth Street to Eighty-second Street.
Prior to the filing of the instant suit, petitioner had acquired and owned:
(a) All of the area between Eighty-third and Eighty-fifth streets (40 acres);
(b) Seventy-two lots (out of a total of 114); the remaining 42 lots being those involved in the original petition in this case between Eighty-second and Eighty-third streets;
(c) An unsubdivided tract of a little over three acres between Eighty-second Street and the B. ...