Hanover Park Park District referendum seeks $8 million to replace Community Center roofs

The Hanover Park Park District will ask voters on March 19 to approve a tax hike for the first time in its 60-year history to replace the original 48-year-old fabric roofs over two wings of its Community Center.

If voters allow it, the district would sell $8 million in bonds to pay for the work. Over the 25-year life of the bonds, Cook County homeowners about $40 more annually for every $100,000 of property value. DuPage homeowners would about $45 more a year, officials say.

Longtime park district Commissioner Mark Elkins said there was no strong temptation to add other projects to the referendum because the need for success on this one is so pressing.

“Every director for the past 25 years has been worried about the roofs,” he said. “If a hole were to develop, we’d lose use of the building.”

The Community Center at 1919 Walnut Ave. in Hanover Park is home to tennis and many other programs that generate revenue for park district operations — such as the swimming pool, Elkins added.

“We’d only have enough money to mow the lawn,” he said of the prospect of voters rejecting the request.

  The Hanover Park Park District Community Center at 1919 Walnut Ave. in Hanover Park is in need of replacements for the nearly 50-year-old fabric roofs over its southeast and southwest wings, for which the district will ask voters for $8 million on March 19. Brian Hill/

“Catastrophic” is the word Interim Director Stephen Bessette uses to describe the operational impact.

But success would allow the aging fabric roofs covering 65,600 square feet over the southeast and southwest wings of the Community Center to undergo a replacement process that would begin later this year and end next year, he said. The material used would not only be new, but also better than that which the building opened with in 1976.

The proposed project doesn’t involve the large inflatable structure at the front of the complex, Bessette said.

“Our motto is just being very transparent,” he said of the referendum campaign, which includes a fact sheet on the park district’s website. “It’s a very serious matter. We want our constituents to understand it.”

That includes clarifying that the park district comprises just about 5% of a homeowner’s total property tax bill.

Elkins said he hasn’t heard of any organized opposition to the park district’s message.

“Particularly for the low cost of this, I think people will understand,” he said. “The park district supports your home value.”

  The proposed replacement of the 48-year-old fabric roofs over the southeast and southwest wings (upper right) of the Hanover Park Park District Community Center at 1919 Walnut Ave. is the subject of an $8 million tax-hike request that will be made to voters on March 19. Brian Hill/
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