Editorial: Taxpayers also have stake in Boomers Stadium ownership change

  • Negotiations are under way to change the ownership of Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg.

      Negotiations are under way to change the ownership of Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 10/10/2019 11:10 AM

When baseball people talk about player trades, they say the best deals are those that give both sides something they want -- a win, win.

That's what the village of Schaumburg and the Schaumburg Park District want from negotiations to change the ownership of Boomers Stadium and dissolve a 20-year partnership.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The proposal on the table is for the park district to transfer its half-ownership in the stadium and adjacent parking lots to the village.

If approved, it would give the village the control it has sought to make stadium improvements and allow the park district to divert money it now spends on the stadium to other needs.

That would be a win, win for those governments.

But we stress any transaction involving the ownership change and future operation of Boomers Stadium must also be a good deal for taxpayers, one that is financially prudent, accountable, and makes efficient use of resources.

Taxpayers should receive a full account of the details of the separation and related costs. Tax dollars support the village and park district so taxpayers should walk away confident they are fully informed about what is happening and why. That would be a win, win, win.

This is a noteworthy transition for the village and park district, which have co-owned the stadium since it opened as Alexian Field in 1999. The park district is scheduled to address the stadium issue today and the village is scheduled to discuss it Tuesday.

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Park district officials say leaving the stadium deal would help them become more efficient and contribute to an overall control of expenses.

The district spends an average $250,000 annually for its share of stadium maintenance, and officials say they could put that money toward extra expenditures it anticipates due to Illinois' minimum wage gradually increasing to $15 per hour by 2025.

Village officials say being the sole owner would make it easier to address potential stadium upgrades and other issues.

Also, while the park district has to rely on property tax revenue and fees, the village has more flexible revenue streams to fund future improvements.

During the last village president's election in Schaumburg, candidates raised questions about the lease agreement, food and beverage sales and stadium finances. Some noted a lack of transparency in stadium dealings. This would be an opportunity to correct that moving forward.

The taxpayers' stake should not get lost in the transaction process. As always, the devil will be in the details, and taxpayers should be treated as partners in this deal now and in the future.

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