Another visible and potentially valuable piece of Libertyville's park system will be offered for sale.
Village officials have agreed to put the department headquarters and adjoining Bolander Park at 625 W. Winchester Road on the market, saying it is underutilized and facing significant future repairs and other needs.
It would join the driving range and family entertainment components of the Libertyville Sports Complex at Route 45 and Peterson Road as recreation facilities for sale.
The future of the property, which features the ranch-style former main office of the Bolander construction company and includes an outdoor roller/hockey rink, maintenance building and open space, has been under study for about a year.
What would become of staff, programs and facilities has been analyzed and alternatives to most of those questions found, clearing the way for the village's eventual exit.
"Everything that comprised the Bolander property, we did a due diligence," said Connie Kowal, director of the recreation department and Sports Complex. "In the event it does sell, we have an exit strategy."
The village bought the building and more than 5 acres in August 1997 for nearly $1.4 million and owes about $405,000 on money it borrowed through a bond issue to make the purchase. That amount will drop to $340,000 at the end of the year.
The building has several ample-sized offices, two basements, a small dance studio and other features. It still is the recreation department headquarters but only Kowal and three other employees are based there.
About 20 percent of program registration is done in person at Bolander, with the rest online. Staff can be moved to the Libertyville Sports Complex, with registration available there and at village hall, the study determined.
Dance classes could be moved to the Sports Complex or space could be rented, the study found. Use of the roller/hockey rink, which was built with a $125,000 grant, is being monitored and whether that free facility will continue to be made available or relocated is to be determined.
Stored items can be moved to another location or private facility. A portion of the property is used for football and lacrosse practice but selling it will not create a problem for those organizations, the village determined.
"All the programming, we'll be able to find a new home," Kowal said. "If Bolander is sold, we're prepared on a variety of fronts."
The property is zoned for institutional uses but could be worth up to $2 million for multifamily residential development as it is near the Metra commuter rail line and the downtown area, according to the village.
Demand is expected to be high because open land in the center of town is rare and the village has a short supply of larger, modern apartments, according to Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator.
The village first must declare the property as surplus before it can be officially listed for sale, either by the village or through an agent, she added.
The Sports Complex properties have been for sale for several years as the village tries to cut its losses but no acceptable offers have been received. The 27-hole miniature golf course there recently reopened under a lease agreement with an independent operator.
While the main facility makes money, the complex as a whole has fallen short since it opened 10 years ago. Debt payments are expected to increase from about $1 million a year to $1.8 million annually and the village wants to cut its losses.