Libertyville parks office move paves way for townhouse plan

  • Connie Kowal, Libertyville parks chief, settles into his new office at the Libertyville Sports Complex.

      Connie Kowal, Libertyville parks chief, settles into his new office at the Libertyville Sports Complex. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • A sign on the door at the Bolander building tells patrons the parks department has moved to the Libertyville Sports Complex.

      A sign on the door at the Bolander building tells patrons the parks department has moved to the Libertyville Sports Complex. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Park officials have moved out of the Bolander building and into the Libertyville Sports Complex. The village is in the process of selling the property for a townhouse project.

      Park officials have moved out of the Bolander building and into the Libertyville Sports Complex. The village is in the process of selling the property for a townhouse project. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted8/29/2015 7:30 AM

The Libertyville parks department has consolidated administrative offices after leaving its longtime home at Bolander Park, which is being sold for development.

Parks chief Connie Kowal said the former construction company office and grounds are a unique setting.

 

A closing on the 5.3-acre site, at 625 Winchester Road, is expected in September, and the rambling ranch-style office and other structures will be cleared for 56 townhouses.

Village officials in late 2013 approved a contract to sell the property to Swanson Development LLC, a Lake Forest-based builder for $2.05 million. The closing has been delayed for various reasons, including the need to investigate and remediate contaminated soil.

With the exit of parks staff, a transition appears imminent. Scads of desks, filing cabinets, tables, furniture, equipment and other remnants of the operation still need to be moved, stored or declared surplus and sold.

But Kowal and the remaining three employees on Wednesday officially set up shop in new offices at the Libertyville Sports Complex, Route 45 and Peterson Road.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The switch has involved moving operations and programs and two construction projects at the Sports Complex to create or reconfigure space for new offices, a dance studio, preschool area and other improvements. Kowal estimated the cost at about $260,000.

Work began on the second floor in mid-June and on the first floor July 20, leaving a tight window before Labor Day to finish.

"This has not been a simple task," Kowal said. "This has been a major undertaking."

The village bought the former Bolander construction company property in 1998, just a few years before the Sports Complex was built and opened. The small park was used for sports practice and featured an outdoor, all-season hockey rink. Three years ago, village officials decided to sell the property because the facilities were underutilized and would be too expensive to repair.

"It would cost us a fortune to fix it up," Mayor Terry Weppler said.

The dance ensemble program and dance studio, which had been at Bolander, will open in its new space Sept. 14.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

There will be no ice hockey this year, but Kowal said there are plans for the hockey rink. Butler Lake Park has been chosen as the preferred site, but the village is awaiting approvals from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Lake County Stormwater Management Commission before the design and other work can begin. The rink will be dismantled in coming weeks and stored.

The property was rezoned from institutional to residential use and the village will reimburse Swanson more than $221,000 to cover a portion of its environmental costs. The village plan commission this week recommended approval of the project with some conditions.

The site is about a quarter mile from downtown and the Metra train station. Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator, expected a high demand for the Craftsman-style townhouses.

Preliminary information showed the village likely will net about $1.7 million from the sale. The proceeds are likely to be used to fund parks improvements, pay off the remaining Bolander purchase debt and for the work at the Sports Complex.

@dhmickzawislak

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.