Libertyville considers getting out of sports complex business
After 20 years, Libertyville officials appear ready to exit the sports complex business by leasing the main component of the operation at Route 45 and Peterson Road.
Village officials on Tuesday will vote on a two-year lease agreement with Canlan Sports USA Corp. to operate the cavernous indoor portion of the Libertyville Sports Complex and assume the risk for any profit or loss.
The meeting will be held virtually at 8 p.m. Visit the agendas and minutes section at https://www.libertyville.com/.
According to the village, Canlan operates sports complexes and ice rinks across Illinois and Canada, including the Lake Barrington Sportsplex, Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee and a large ice sports facility in Romeoville.
As proposed, the lease calls for Canlan to pay the village monthly rent of $20,000 and gives the company an option to buy the facility within two years for $3.75 million.
Pending approval, Canlan plans a "soft opening" July 1 with full operations resuming by the fall, according to the village. Libertyville would retain control of the preschool and dance wing under a sublease and would be given preferential scheduling for in-house programs.
The 169,000-square-foot indoor sports facility has two full-sized indoor soccer fields, multiple indoor courts, a climbing wall, a fitness area and other features.
It has been closed since March 13, 2020, although the Greater Libertyville Soccer Association used a portion of the building privately from Jan. 1 through this past March 31 for winter youth soccer.
The indoor facility is one of three components that made up the Libertyville Sports Complex, which opened on 48 acres in 2002. The village borrowed $25 million in two bond issues to buy the land and build the facility.
However, fees have not covered expenses and the complex has operated at a loss of more than $1 million per year. General funds, which includes sales tax revenue to pay for day-to-day village expenses, have been diverted to subsidize the debt payments.
The village has tried for several years to sell the driving range and mini-golf operations, which have been closed. Sales are pending for an industrial park on the former site and commercial area on the northeast corner of Route 45 and Peterson Road.
The indoor facility had not been for sale, but the enduring pandemic has resulted in various scenarios to be considered during the past year.
Village officials say they want to provide recreational services but be able to temper the high cost of operating the building, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19 capacity restrictions.
Mayor Terry Weppler has said selling the property would allow the village to stop subsidizing the Sports Complex and allow the funds to be used for roads or other capital needs.