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updated: 12/21/2010 5:51 PM

Bartlett parks could close next week on Villa Olivia

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The Bartlett Park District expects to close its deal on the Villa Olivia Country Club on Dec. 27.

Voters approved an $18 million bond issue in November so the park district could borrow money and purchase Villa Olivia at 1401 W. Lake St. and renovate the Bartlett Aquatic Center.

Park Board President Ken Woods said they are happy the market allowed them to lock in low interest rates.

"Things are progressing very well, we've been hitting our schedule," he said. "We've been very pleased with the bond sale. You never know where you going to hit with the rate."

Part of the schedule involves the Bartlett Village Board needing to reannex Villa Olivia so the park district can take ownership and operate the golf course and ski hill. That business appeared on Tuesday night's Bartlett planning and zoning committee agenda.

Covenants prohibit any development on the 138-acre Villa Olivia property, but those covenants expire in 2022. Villa Olivia's owners, the Corrado family, wanted to sell the property and allow the plot to be developed, but neighbors balked at the additional congestion, and a legal battle with the village ensued over potential construction on the land.

In an attempt to have the covenants lifted to allow development, the Corrados filed papers so Villa Olivia could disconnect from Bartlett, hoping Elgin would allow them to build. That didn't work and for the last 14 months the property was considered to be in unincorporated Cook County.

The park district swooped in to negotiate a sale when the chance to keep the property as open space arrived. The tax increase will provide $5.9 million to buy the land and $6.2 million for upgrades to the banquet hall, ski lift and other amenities.

Renovations on the aquatic center are expected to begin in fall 2011, as the 18-year-old facility will likely close at little earlier than usual next season to start construction. The center would reopen later, probably in June 2012, to allow workers to complete the project, Wood said.

"We're in the planning stages right now," he said.

The park district is consulting with Williams Architects of Carol Stream, who were the original architects for the aquatic center at 620 W. Stearns Road. The bond issue will provide for $6 million in renovations to the aquatic center.

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