With Hanover Park set to take over the Barrington Road youth sports complex property, officials are discussing how to go about operating and improving it.
The village board this month approved a 39-year lease for the site effective Jan. 1 with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The water agency's commissioners are expected to follow suit later this month.
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The village hopes to build soccer fields on the site's unused area to the south, but won't move forward until pending test results from soil samples show the playing surface would be safe. Hanover Park's Little League and Boys Football Association have both played there for several years.
Hanover Park officials, who said a bike path is a likely alternative use, admit the lease isn't ideal.
Village Manager Juliana Maller said they proposed a 10-year agreement with two additional 10-year options, which she considers a long enough term to have a decent chance at securing grant funding. But MWRD would only agree to a 10- or 39-year period.
There are questions about the financial terms, as well. The lease calls for 25 percent of profits or $5,000 -- whichever is greater -- to be paid to MWRD if profits are generated from the property. The village asked for clarifying language or a letter of understanding on how exactly to interpret that, but the water agency declined, citing a desire to keep all its leases consistent.
"They're very focused on keeping their agreements exactly the same," said Maller, who doesn't believe concession stand profits would be among any future payments to MWRD.
Some village board members also expressed concerns over maintenance costs such as mowing, but Trustee Rick Roberts said the sports organizations want to keep that responsibility in-house.
In upcoming budget discussions, Hanover Park officials will consider improvement projects for parts of the complex, such as landscaping along Barrington Road, signage and road repairs.
The village plans to direct all future video gambling revenue to the complex and other youth programs.
Currently, four Hanover Park establishments are seeking licenses to install gambling machines. According to the Illinois Gaming Board, Bungalow Joe's, Time Out West Sports Pub, Prairie Station Pub and County Trail Liquor and Pub each have pending applications.