Ela Soccer Club plans to build new fields on publicly owned property deemed of no use to the village of Long Grove.
Long Grove village board members this week voted 6-0 in favor of leasing 11 acres to the youth soccer organization. Ela Soccer Club submitted what village officials considered to be the best bid for the land east of a Menards store at Lake-Cook and Hicks roads.
"We're really happy to be able to make these fields available to (the club)," Village President Angie Underwood said.
No money will exchange hands under the 12-year lease. Instead, Lake Zurich-based Ela Soccer Club must improve and maintain the property.
Club President Doug Anderson said Long Grove Soccer Park will feature 2½ full-sized fields. He said significant development will begin soon, with play scheduled to start in fall 2015.
Anderson said improvements on the site will include parking lot paving and leveling, top dressing, seeding and fertilizing of the fields. An irrigation system will be needed to water the three playing areas that'll be created.
"We have been looking for additional fields for some time now," Anderson told the Daily Herald. "A few years ago, we started talking with the village of Long Grove about this parcel of land. The fields have pretty much already been excavated and the base parking lot completed, which will make the final development a lot easier."
Anderson said the main entrance will be on Hicks just north of Menards, near where Route 53 ends at Lake-Cook. Another access point will be at Old Hicks and Checker roads.
In addition to routine maintenance, the nonprofit soccer club must pay the costs of all utility bills and garbage collection, Long Grove's lease states.
Meanwhile, Anderson said the soccer organization has canceled a contract to purchase 10 acres near Hawthorn Woods to develop a field complex. Ela Soccer Club announced in October 2013 it had intended to buy the land.
If the club had gone through with the land purchase, it would have been required to seek a conditional-use permit from Lake County government and provide a traffic study to Hawthorn Woods. The club disputed the need to seek the special permit to build the soccer fields at Old McHenry and Rand roads.
Now at 2,500 registrations, Ela Soccer Club's growth continues, Anderson said. The club draws from Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Long Grove, Buffalo Grove, Palatine. Deer Park, Kildeer, North Barrington, Wauconda, Mundelein and other communities.