The Village of Vernon Hills and the Vernon Hills Park District boards agreed late Thursday night to continue negotiating with the Lake County Family YMCA on the possible purchase of the organization's Vernon Hills facility.
After about two and a half hours of closed session discussions, the village and park district boards both voted unanimously to "collectively … continue to negotiate in good faith with the YMCA and their bank," said Mayor Roger Byrne.
Hal Katz, interim CEO for the Lake County Family YMCA, said he will now relay this latest information to his board and the bank in an attempt to reach an agreement.
"We know time is running short and we need to keep things moving at a quick pace," said Katz. "Time's getting so critical."
The Lake County Family YMCA, which operates facilities in Waukegan and Vernon Hills, announced Sept. 28 that it will permanently close the doors of both facilities at the end of this month.
The reason for the Oct. 31 closure, as stated in a press released on the Lake County Family YMCA website, is "due to insufficient financial resources to sustain operations on a long-term basis."
At a special meeting between the village and park district boards Oct. 23, the two parties agreed to draft a joint letter of intent that included an offer of $1.4 million for the Central Lake YMCA facility, located at 700 Lakeview Pkwy. in Vernon Hills. The boards' offer was contingent on certain conditions, including inspections and studies.
After the closed-session discussions Thursday night, Byrne provided an extensive statement about the continuing negotiations.
"We still feel very strongly that we want the facility to stay open—operating and operating as long as possible, or as long as there is the need," said Byrne. "Obviously, the daycare component is very important to the parents in this community. Hopefully we can get (the daycare) up to where the true capacity is and also continue some of the programs, if not all of them, that are available now.
"The park district … they've gone through a pretty extensive evaluation so far on the operating expenses and liabilities associated with taking this on, the revenue streams, and any expense of retaining the staff," he added.
"As a park district, we're looking forward to continuing negotiations with the YMCA," said Park Board President David Doerhoefer.
Katz said the planned Oct. 31 closure is contingent on those negotiations. If the village and park district don't buy the Central Lake YMCA, the building would be put up for sale.
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