Park Board buys YMCA property, minor formalities remain
After receiving a $2 million interest-free loan from the village on Nov. 13, the Vernon Hills Park Board unanimously approved a purchase agreement with Lake Family YMCA on Nov. 15.
Once the loan was approved, village officials established the park district as property owner, with only financial compensation linking the two organizations. A $100,000 earnest payment on the Central Lake YMCA property has been made, and management will change on Jan. 1.
According to Park Board President David Doerhoefer, the sales agreement could be voided as late as Dec. 3 if final reports on the facility are unsatisfactory.
“We have the initial summaries from the inspections and that information looks good,” Doerhoefer said. “We’re waiting for that information to be formally supplied in writing for recordkeeping.”
Before the public vote, Vice President James Ballowe addressed the board.
“I want to express my concern that this will be a financial challenge, but I will support the board on this,” Ballowe said. “Just know that I’m scared to death of this. I hope we’re ready to take this on.”
Both Doerhoefer and Commissioner Michael Meline gave their vote of confidence to Executive Director Jeff Fougerousse.
After the meeting, Ballowe said he was uncertain throughout the three-week ordeal, but didn’t oppose the project at any point because he wanted to see how all the details meshed together.
The park district will have 10 years to repay the village-issued loan, and can wait up to three years before making payments.
“The village knows we can’t just take this over and make money,” Doerhoefer said Nov. 13. “It’s been a declining operation for several years. We’re confident in our plans though.”
Even though membership has declined since Lake Family YMCA announced its imminent closure, Doerhoefer said the figures still look promising.
Earlier in the meeting, resident Steve Limer approached the board with a concern that park officials might raise current park district fitness memberships to rehab the new facility and its accompanying programs.
Doerhoefer said that commonly distributed YMCA financial information includes deficit from the Waukegan facility, and assured him the operational expenses at Central Lake were not unmanageable.
Doerhoefer said that repairs will be needed, and the building also will require funding to meet Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
The decision to wait until Jan. 1 to change management stems from timelines needed to get daycare licenses and to meet other regulations.
Doerhoefer said members of the YMCA are now members of the Vernon Hills Park District at or below their current membership rate.
Interest in purchasing the YMCA property was first made public during Oct. 16.~.