How Naperville parks plans to pay for new maintenance facility

  • The Barn Recreation Center and an aging maintenance shop from the 1960s are set to be torn down next summer to make way for a new central maintenance facility for the Naperville Park District. Commissioners on Thursday approved the ability to borrow $10 million to finance the $7.8 million project.

      The Barn Recreation Center and an aging maintenance shop from the 1960s are set to be torn down next summer to make way for a new central maintenance facility for the Naperville Park District. Commissioners on Thursday approved the ability to borrow $10 million to finance the $7.8 million project. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted9/25/2015 5:40 AM

Naperville Park District took another step Thursday toward borrowing money to fund a new central maintenance facility.

The board conducted a hearing that ended with commissioners granting authority to borrow up to $10 million during the next three years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Executive Director Ray McGury said much of the money the district plans to borrow will finance a $7.8 million central maintenance facility on the site of the Barn Recreation Center on Martin Avenue, replacing both the barn and a 1960s-era maintenance shop on the same site. The district has been planning for a new maintenance facility since 2010, and the timing is right to begin building it next year once programs hosted at the barn can move to the future Fort Hill Activity Center.

"In order to take care of what we have, we need to issue some debt," McGury said. "The bulk of this, if not all of it, is going to go to the central maintenance facility."

Finance Director Sue Stanish said the district plans to borrow the $10 million all at once, potentially before the end of the year or by late February. Financial documents are being drawn up so the district can seek a 20-year loan that likely will cost an estimated $14.2 million total to pay off, including principal and interest.

Commissioner Bill Eagan said he would have preferred a different loan structure that would have cost about $13.5 million total to pay off.

But other commissioners supported the option with a higher cost of borrowing because it affords better ability to borrow other money if necessary, while still remaining under the cap of how much the district can tax to pay debt each year without needing to ask voter permission in a referendum question.

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Past financial flexibility allowed the district to buy the land that became Nike Sports Complex and to pay for the site where the Fort Hill Activity Center is being built, President Mike Reilly said. Others agreed flexibility is a good thing to have because the district gets the majority of its revenue from only two sources: property taxes and program fees.

"This gives us adequate flexibility and still helps us control the cost of borrowing," Commissioner Kirsten Young said about the loan structure the board chose to seek.

Stanish said the exact cost of borrowing is still to be determined as the district works through the process of issuing the debt.

Plans for the maintenance facility, meanwhile, are moving forward. Eric Shutes, director of planning, said the board is set to consider during its Oct. 8 meeting a $25,725 contract with Williams Architects for interior design and storage at the future building.

Construction of the central maintenance facility in Knoch Park is expected to begin by next summer and conclude by summer 2017.

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