Vernon Hills park district may pay $4 million for projects
The Vernon Hills Park District will construct a new 12,650 square-foot maintenance facility along the north end of Century Park starting this month. | Rendering courtesy of the Vernon Hills Park District
Updated: May 6, 2013 2:11AM
VERNON HILLS — Vernon Hills Park District commissioners might borrow roughly $4 million for a new maintenance facility and a rehab of the Lakeview Fitness Center, among other projects.
While the board has already approved spending roughly $2.5 million for the maintenance facility, several commissioners said during a meeting last week they are interested in undertaking more projects while interest rates are low.
No final spending decisions were made during the board’s Feb. 28 meeting.
The new, $2.5 million, 12,650 square-foot maintenance facility would be built on 2 acres of land along Century Park. Village officials offered the “unusable” land for $1 per year, indefinitely.
The current maintenance building along Phillips Road is roughly half that size and will eventually become a storage facility, Superintendent of Parks Mike Moorman said. Construction on the new building is set to begin in May.
But board members spent more meeting time debating potential projects at the Lakeview Fitness Center. The center was formerly Central Lake YMCA until the park district bought it in October with a $2 million loan from the village. The park district will pay the village $200,000 a year once its three-year grace period expires, Finance Director Marla Pineiro told commissioners.
Without that regular budget money, she said, the district would need to borrow money to cover its capital projects — including a rehab of Lakeview.
Roof repairs, primarily over the pool and steam room, and HVAC upgrades are expected to cost $400,000 to $500,000. More than $300,000 of interior work could also be done. Park staff said the building is poorly organized and should be renovated to create more room in the dance and aerobic rooms, fitness area and baby sitting room.
Plans also include a newly-designed foyer that is better lit and has the member services desk closer to the front door.
Commissioner Michael Meline was concerned about investing $300,000 without knowing how repairs would benefit the district financially.
Executive Director Jeff Fougerousse said the district has 650 overall fitness memberships, including retained YMCA customers. If the district could reach 1,000 memberships, he said the district would break even on Lakeview’s operation and debt expenses.
Meline remained uncertain, while the other four commissioners voiced support for both the Lakeview projects.An additional $500,000 was considered for general playground, park and facility upgrade needs throughout the park district. Commissioners also considered including repairs to the Sullivan Center.
The Park Board will make its decision on whether to borrow funds for these repairs later this year during its budget process.