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Village, Park District Offering $1.4 Million to Purchase Central Lake YMCA

The Village of Vernon Hills would purchase the facility with reserve funds, and the Vernon Hills Park District would operate the facility.

The Village of Vernon Hills and the Vernon Hills Park District are drafting a joint letter of intent that includes an offer of $1.4 million for the Central Lake YMCA facility.

Hal Katz, interim CEO for the Lake County Family YMCA, said he will take the joint letter of intent to the YMCA board for consideration. Should the YMCA board find the offer acceptable, the offer will be presented to the bank the YMCA is working with for possible approval.

"The next couple of days are critical," said Katz. "It gets more critical as we get closer to Oct. 31."

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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."

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The village and park district boards met Tuesday night to discuss the matter. After spending about an hour discussing various maintenance-related issues concerning the facility, the boards entered into closed session for about an hour and 40 minutes to discuss the financial and land acquisition issues.

Upon returning from closed session, both boards voted unanimously to direct staff to draft the letter of intent in the amount of $1.4 million. Trustee Cindy Hebda had already recused herself from the discussion on the matter because she works for the park district as a preschool teacher. She did not cast a vote.

The boards' offer is contingent on certain conditions, including inspections and studies, that are typical of any real estate transaction, said Village Attorney Robert Kenny.

The boards both agreed to recess from the meeting and may meet again at 8 p.m. Oct. 25.

"It's done in good faith to try to keep this facility operating and a vibrant institution for people to use," Mayor Roger Byrne said of the joint letter of intent.

Maintenance Issues

Earlier in the meeting, Village Manager Mike Allison and Park District Executive Director Jeff Fougerousse discussed the results of meetings with YMCA staff and examinations of the building. Though a lot of the feedback was positive, some issues were identified, including the possible need for a new roof that could cost up to $200,000 and the need for a lift in the pool, which could cost $6,000 to $8,000. The latter would be an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvement.

Fougerousse said park district staff also found that in the facility's 4,000-square-foot fitness room, some machines were not compliant. Fougerousse said there needs to be a certain amount of space between equipment like treadmills, so that is something that will need to be addressed.

An electrical analysis and full ADA audit must still be performed, Fougerousse said.

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