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Vernon Hills OKs $2M loan to purchase YMCA

Updated: January 14, 2013 4:49PM

VERNON HILLS — Village officials approved a $2 million, interest-free loan to the Park District late Tuesday night, funding that will be used to purchase the Central Lake YMCA property.

Today, Nov. 15, the park board is expected to vote on the sales agreement with Lake Family YMCA. Park Board President David Doerhoefer said the YMCA accepted the $2 million offer and the price will not change.

If the deal goes through, Central Lake YMCA would become a village-owned fitness center operated by the district for up to 13 years while the loan is repaid.

Still up in the air is the future of the Northern Lake County YMCA facility in Waukegan. Officials are meeting weekly and working with community members to keep the Waukegan Y open into next year.

The village and district originally agreed to offer $1.4 million for the facility. The YMCA rejected that proposal indicating a second buyer made an offer closer to the $2.25 million property assessment.

If the park board approves the sales agreement on Thursday, Doerhoefer said a $100,000 earnest payment will be made and district officials will have until Dec. 31 to finish inspecting the building and financial data.

While the district still can back out of the deal after its inspection, Doerhoefer said things are looking good, adding, “This is most of the way to being a done deal.”

The loan, part of an intergovernmental agreement, was approved unanimously by both boards during a joint meeting Tuesday night. Village Trustee Cindy Hebda was not present. She recused herself due to her employment at the park district.

“What we did tonight with the village is a prime example of what government should do in working together to provide the best value for their mutual constituents,” Doerhoefer said.

Village President Roger Byrne echoed that sentiment.

“You know in your heart of hearts when something is a good thing to do,” Byrne said. “We’re proud to help the park district in this endeavor.”

According to Doerhoefer, the park district will have 10 years to repay the 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. “It’s been a declining operation for several years. We’re confident in our plans though.”

Doerhoefer said YMCA officials are reporting a steady membership after a principal agreement was announced on Oct. 29.

Park management immediately declared all members of Central Lake YMCA had become members of the Vernon Hills Park District.

Village and park officials were worried about damages to the roof of the YMCA, and have said many repairs will begin as soon as a deal is finalized.

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