Park Board buys YMCA property, minor formalities remain
Updated: January 4, 2013 9:11AM
After receiving a $2 million interest-free loan from the village Tuesday, the Vernon Hills Park Board unanimously approved a purchase agreement with Lake Family YMCA late Thursday.
The $100,000 earnest payment on the Central Lake YMCA property will be made Friday or Monday, and management will change on Jan. 1.
According to Park Board President David Doerhoefer, the 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.”
The purchase agreement was scheduled during the “old business” portion of the regular meeting, but commissioners decided to meet in executive session for about an hour and review specific terms.
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 the first payment.
“The village knows we can’t just take this over and make money,” Doerhoefer said Tuesday night. “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 in order 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.
The roof of Centeral Lake YMCA has been a constant concern.
Doerhoefer confirmed on Thursday 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 will become members of the Vernon Hills Park District at their current membership rate or less.~.