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updated: 2/11/2014 6:15 PM

Libertyville hosts second meeting on Brainerd proposal

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Voters in Libertyville will get another opportunity Wednesday to learn about a proposal that could potentially hike taxes to revive a local landmark.

The second of three town hall meetings regarding the proposed conversion of the former Libertyville High School to a community center, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Libertyville Civic Center, 135 W. Church St.

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Based on the first session Feb. 3, supporters will have their hands full. Dozens in the crowd of about 150 questioned various aspects of the proposal, including the projected revenues and possible need for the village to make up any shortfalls.

"I think a lot of people at the first meeting had already decided and were there to advocate their position," Mayor Terry Weppler said. The sessions begin with a presentation by Weppler followed by questions and answers and audience comment.

"The (village) board is saying, 'We want you to give us your opinion'." he said.

Voters on March 18 will decide whether to authorize the village to issue up to $11.5 million in bonds -- $350,000 for the first three years rent -- to convert what is known as the Brainerd building to a space for community theater, banquets, wedding receptions and other uses.

The project hinges, in part, on relocating the village-owned Civic Center as an anchor of the new community center. That move has been opposed by the governing board and many seniors.

Based on the 2012 tax rate, the owner of a home valued at $300,000 would pay an additional $136.30 for each of the next 10 years if the measure is approved and the village board opts to issue the bonds.

The village put the measure on the ballot on behalf of Brainerd Community Center Inc., but is not taking a position. The not-for-profit group has been pursuing its mission for seven years and acknowledge that a thumbs-down from voters will mean the demolition of the nearly century-old school at Brainerd Avenue and Route 176.

The school and the adjoining Jackson Gym, which will be torn down in any scenario, are owned by Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 and leased to the village, which subleases them to the Brainerd group.

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