Bolander Park in Libertyville could become the site of a residential community oriented to the nearby Metra commuter rail line under sales agreement inked by village officials.
Village officials Tuesday approved a deal to sell the 5.3-acre parcel at 625 W. Winchester Road to Swanson Development Group of Lake Forest for $2.05 million. The developer intends to use the property to develop a townhouse-style neighborhood, according to the village.
Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator, said there has been "strong interest" in the property as there are few sites available in town for such developments.
"We have a demand in our village for additional multifamily usage and we've seen a very good response to those that have been developed the last few years," she said.
The property also includes the village's parks department headquarters, a storage building and an outdoor hockey rink. Only four employees work in the ranch-style headquarters, and village officials in June 2012 agreed to sell the holdings after determining it was underutilized and faced significant costs for repairs and maintenance.
This past June, the village accepted a letter of intent to buy the property from Pathway Senior Living, LLC, but the company withdrew without comment before a real estate contract was crafted.
Under terms of the new agreement, Swanson has 75 days to submit applications to change the site's zoning and other aspects of the project necessary for village review. Closing on the property would occur after preliminary plans are approved.
"They basically have to come up with their concept plan," as well as preliminary engineering, landscaping and other details, said John Spoden, Libertyville's community development director.
Swanson had built residential developments in Gurnee, Lake Forest, Lindenhurst, Wadsworth and Mettawa, according its website. Company representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Besides office space, the building at Bolander Park also hosts the recreation department's dance ensemble program. During summer, a Safety Town program for children is set up outside and bikes are stored there as the starting point for the Teen Travelers program.
The open space is used for practice by football, lacrosse and soccer teams, but no games are played there, according to Connie Kowal, director of the recreation department and Libertyville Sports Complex.
While the employees and dance classes can be relocated to the Sports Complex, the future of the park's outdoor hockey rink is uncertain. The village has retained the rights to the lights and boards and is considering whether it can or should be relocated, although it is expected to remain in place this winter.
Several residents attended the board meeting Tuesday to support the rink, which is used by kids of all ages.
"It's a great community outlet and a healthy place to be. I just want it to be somewhere else," said Audrey Glenn.
Trustees said they welcomed suggestions and invited residents to the Dec. 3 meeting of the board's parks and recreation committee.
"We're just trying to figure out what our options are," said Trustee Drew Cullum, who chairs the committee. "Obviously we're wrestling with what's best for all the people."