Editorial: A 'new beginning' for Indian Lakes Hotel property
It was an unceremonious end to a business that had been a part of Bloomingdale for decades.
The owners of Indian Lakes Hotel this month voluntarily surrendered the business license needed to operate the former golf resort along Schick Road. Village officials made the announcement one day before a hearing to consider revoking the license.
Bloomingdale leaders started the process to force the hotel out of business after a Feb. 6 shooting left one person dead and five others injured. They say the shooting was the "last straw."
"The circumstances weren't new," Village President Franco Coladipietro said last week. "We had multiple discussions with them about this."
That's unfortunate because Indian Lakes used to be one of the premier golf resorts in the suburbs, attracting customers with its 27 holes of golf, fine dining, conference center and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired hotel. It played host to community events and celebrity fundraisers, including one headlined by Meryl Streep.
But Indian Lakes closed the golf course and conference center in 2016. Resort officials said the move was necessary to save the hotel, which was to get a major renovation.
Then there was an attempt to build hundreds of houses on the shuttered golf course -- an idea that drew strong opposition from residents before it was scrapped in 2019.
Bloomingdale officials, meanwhile, started raising concerns about poor maintenance and increased crime as far back as 2018. They called on the owners to improve security.
"Everyone knew what the problem was," Coladipietro said. "The issue was execution."
While the bid to build houses failed, the village last July agreed to buy the 188-acre former golf course to avoid development. It paid Indian Lakes $8 million for the shuttered golf course and 15 acres along the south side of Schick between Country Club and Cardinal drives.
In other words, the village was doing everything it could to help the hotel.
Still, the problems continued.
Last August, village officials sent a letter saying more security staffing was needed at the hotel. But police say no security was on duty when the deadly shooting occurred.
Had the owners of Indian Lakes worked more closely with the village, this tragedy could have been avoided.
Now the roughly 20-acre site containing the hotel and supporting structures is for sale, and Bloomingdale officials are trying to determine the land's "highest and best use."
"I hope that this is the start of a new beginning for that property," Coladipietro said.
We agree. The eventual buyer should partner with the village and use the site in a way that makes the community and the suburbs proud.