Interested in owning a park in Libertyville? How about having your company's name in lights on the signature Sports Complex? Both are possibilities as the village tries to maximize resources and generate revenue.
In separate but related actions, village officials recently decided to shed an underutilized facility and directed staff to seek takers for naming rights on what could become the biggest "billboard" in town. Both reflect a long-standing and continuing push on the village's part to squeeze what it can from its recreational offerings.
"It all comes down to what's the best use of village dollars, particularly the Bolander building," said village Trustee Drew Cullum, who chairs the board's parks and recreation committee.
At the Sports Complex, the directive is to find a corporate entity willing to do more than sponsor events or pay for banners inside.
"My job will be to go out and start pursuing those companies big and small that might be interested," said Connie Kowal, director of the village's recreation department and Sports Complex.
Naming rights for the Sports Complex add a deeper dimension to Kowal's roster of potential advertising offerings.
"That's a big, big bit of inventory versus, `I just want to sponsor the daddy-daughter dance,'" he said.
In the first move, the village board declared the 5-plus acre Bolander Park and the parks department headquarters building at 625 W. Winchester Road as surplus property and determined that selling it would be in the best interest of the village.
Only four staff members work there and the building, a sprawling ranch-style former office of the Bolander construction company, will need $300,000 in repairs over the next few years.
The village intends to hire a real estate professional to market the property. It is zoned for institutional use but is considered best suited for a multifamily residential development, because of its location within walking distance of the Metra commuter station and the downtown area.
"There's a pretty significant demand in the community for those multifamily uses," said Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator. "We have some smaller ones in the works but there's definitely a need for more."
The property has been appraised at $1.725 million or $7.50 per square foot. One of the conditions is that it not be sold for less than 80 percent of that value, or $1.38 million. The village bought the property in 1997 for $1.4 million.
About three miles north and west at Route 45 and Peterson Road, the Libertyville Sports Complex recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Revenue covers overhead but not the debt due on bonds used to build it. Debt payments are set to increase from about $1 million per year to $1.8 million annually. So the village has been looking for options.
Though not actively marketed recently, the golf learning center, which includes a heated driving range, has been for sale for years. So has a 27-hole mini-golf course that was closed several years ago. This year, it was leased to a businessman who renovated and reopened the facility.
The main attraction, however, always has been the cavernous indoor sports complex. "I think we feel there is a pretty good value. If you've ever noticed, it's an unmarked building," Cullum said. "There's just an enormous amount of car traffic that goes by there."