College of Lake County trustees have approved spending $2.2 million for land adjacent to the flagship Grayslake campus that recently attracted interest from an entrepreneur who wanted to build a sports dome there.
Trustees at a meeting Tuesday evening voted 5-1 in favor of purchasing the 10 acres from the Glunz family. CLC Trustee Richard Anderson said the family has agreed to the deal, and it should be final within two months.
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Anderson said some of the 10 acres near CLC's Washington Street entrance could be used to grow vegetables and fruit for the school's local food program. He said the property would be suitable for sports fields and other uses.
Trustee Barbara Oilschlager was the lone dissenter. She said the $2.2 million was too high for a school that's likely to have declining enrollment.
In June, the Grayslake village board held an informal discussion on a concept plan from Power Alleys Sports Dome for the same 10 acres on the south side of Washington Street that will belong to CLC. The proposal was for a 180,000-square-foot, air-supported dome.
Grayslake's six trustees raised some questions but agreed they liked the concept enough that it should continue in the approval process and go before the advisory zoning board of appeals.
Anderson said CLC's interest in the land accelerated after the sports dome proposal surfaced in June and the Glunz family's price dropped from where it was when the school initially made an inquiry more than a year ago, only to have negotiations break down. He said CLC's $2.2 million purchase will allow the school to control what's built on its doorstep.
"I had a conversation with my fellow board members," Anderson said. "I said, 'Look, if we're going to do this, we have to strike now.'"
CLC President Jerry Weber said the original listing for the site was $3.8 million.
Before the CLC officials voted to buy the land, Trustee Lynda Paul said she thought the process was moving too fast and asked her colleagues to sign a "self disclosure" about any financial interest in the site.
CLC Chairman Amanda Howland said no one on the board had a stake in the deal. If that were the case, added Anderson, an elected official would have to recuse from voting.
"I find that offensive," Anderson said of Paul's suggestion.
Brothers Kevin and Gregory Belcher, along with former Major League Baseball player Von Hayes, were behind the Power Alleys proposal for Grayslake. Hayes played from 1981 to 1992, mostly as a Philadelphia Phillies outfielder.
Kevin Belcher had told the Grayslake village board that softball and baseball would be the facility's focus. He also pitched the concept of Power Alleys having a restaurant and a bar with wine and beer service, along with a fitness facility.
Grayslake officials approved a Glunz family proposal for a winery on the 10 acres in 2010, but the idea eventually was dropped.
Land: Site originally listed for $3.8 million