DuPage forest preserve continues to pursue clubhouse project
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is continuing to develop plans to rebuild a clubhouse at its newly renovated golf course in Addison, despite calls from a board member to delay the project.
Commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday to approve two contracts related to construction of a proposed clubhouse for The Preserve at Oak Meadows -- formerly Oak Meadows Golf Course.
The first will pay up to $266,750 to Elmhurst-based Daniel Wohlfeil Design Ltd. to prepare construction documents and permitting. The second will pay $40,000 to Pepper Construction Co. to provide preconstruction services as project construction manager.
"I would like to recognize our board for their continued support of providing an amenity which will complement the award-winning natural resource and recreational improvements already completed at this property," forest preserve President Joseph Cantore said after the vote.
The district spent $16.8 million to improve The Preserve at Oak Meadows, which included restoring a stretch of Salt Creek that flows through the 288-acre property and consolidating two golf courses into a single 18-hole facility with greater flood resistance and more stormwater storage capacity.
Now officials are laying the groundwork to rebuild the clubhouse, which operated for decades on the property until the original structure was destroyed in a 2009 fire.
Last week, the board learned a new clubhouse would cost roughly $9 million.
Commissioner Mary Lou Wehrli -- the only board member to vote against both contracts -- said the project should be postponed for a year until after the district has a new master plan to guide decisions about maintaining and building facilities.
"My primary objection is the timing," Wehrli said.
She also voiced concern about how the project could be funded.
In 2006, taxpayers endorsed borrowing $68 million to buy land, improve facilities and restore woods, prairies and wetlands. Now officials are talking about using up to $9 million of the remaining money to help pay for the clubhouse project.
"Had we known $9 million of the bonding money would go toward a golf clubhouse, I do not think the public would have had confidence in the district," Wehrli said. "We would not have had the success we had at the polls."
Still, most board members expressed a desire to rebuild the clubhouse.
Commissioner Jeff Redick said the clubhouse is the "the next step" in improving the property. While the course is making a profit, he said a clubhouse will strengthen its position.
For example, officials say, the proposed facility would increase the number of rounds played at the course. It also would help the course attract golf outings.
In the meantime, architects have designed a prairie-style facility that would be roughly 18,000 square feet.
The main floor would have a pro shop, a restaurant and bar, and outdoor terraces. A multipurpose space with a capacity for up to 126 people would be used for golf outings, educational programs and other events. The basement would include a freezer, keg room, mechanical room and several storage rooms.
If the board agrees, bids would be sought in January and construction would start next April with a target opening in May 2020.