Schaumburg Park District paying $1 million to exit stadium deal

Schaumburg Park District board members have approved their part of a tentative agreement for the agency to pay $1 million to the village to take its half-ownership of Boomers Stadium and end a joint venture that began 20 years ago.

"We feel strongly that this is a significant amount, but we'll be saving substantial money in the long run," park district Executive Director Tony LaFrenere said Friday.

About $250,000 is spent annually by the park district as its share of Boomers Stadium's upkeep. LaFrenere said future potential expenses are a concern for the park system because big-ticket tasks are looming, such as parking lot renovations and replacement of the facility's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Village government and the park district have co-owned the stadium since it opened as Alexian Field in 1999, sharing maintenance and other costs along with revenue. The Schaumburg Boomers independent baseball team is the main tenant.

Having the village become sole owner of Boomers Stadium would allow the district to focus on a core mission of providing recreation and leisure opportunities through enriching programs, quality facilities and environmental stewardship, according to the tentative agreement. Park board members approved the document Thursday night.

Schaumburg village board members also must approve the deal. The board is expected to discuss it Tuesday and possibly vote on it Oct. 22.

Mayor Tom Dailly said this week it would be easier for the village to address potential upgrades or other stadium issues as sole owner.

"They've got a lot of other (financial) constraints that the village does not have," Dailly said of the park system.

Property taxes generate about half the park district's income, with the balance from user fees for fitness programs, camps and other areas. The village has other, more flexible revenue streams, officials said.

LaFrenere said the district, which has 100 full-time employees and roughly 1,000 part-timers at peak summer season, already is preparing for extra expenditures due to Illinois' minimum wage gradually increasing to $15 an hour by 2025.

Projections show the park district will need an additional $3.5 million for the part-time personnel over the next five years.

Last year, village officials endorsed a four-year, $10.5 million plan for upgrades at the stadium. But those plans were dropped in January amid uncertainty over funding and with the new Chicago Dogs minor league team in Rosemont having less impact on Boomers' attendance than feared.

As part of the tentative deal, the park district would provide communications and marketing support for Boomers Stadium when requested by the village. The parks also would get one free suite for games and events to be used by employees, volunteers and business partners.

Documents show that an initial $15 million debt for stadium construction and parking and another $8 million in 2003 for improvements, including a restaurant, have been paid off.

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