Why two Schaumburg trustees voted against ballpark deal

  • The 20-year-old Boomers Stadium will become solely owned by the village of Schaumburg if an agreement allowing the Schaumburg Park District to exit is approved Oct. 22.

      The 20-year-old Boomers Stadium will become solely owned by the village of Schaumburg if an agreement allowing the Schaumburg Park District to exit is approved Oct. 22. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Schaumburg Village Trustee Frank Kozak

    Schaumburg Village Trustee Frank Kozak

  • George Dunham, Schaumburg village trustee

    George Dunham, Schaumburg village trustee

 
 
Updated 10/16/2019 7:23 PM

Schaumburg village trustees have voted 4-2 to recommend approval of an agreement allowing the Schaumburg Park District to relinquish its half ownership of Schaumburg Boomers Stadium through a onetime payment of $1 million to the village.

Park commissioners already have given their final approval to the agreement, and village trustees are expected to follow suit Oct. 22.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But on Tuesday, Village Trustees Frank Kozak and George Dunham voted against the agreement because it allows the park district to retain its access to a suite at the 20-year-old ballpark in perpetuity. Kozak and Dunham wanted the access cut off after five years.

While others trustees understood the sentiment, they believed it isn't worth renegotiating an agreement the park board had already approved.

Village Manager Brian Townsend said the provision is intended to reflect the park district's significant financial investment in the stadium over the years, as well as its plans to continue marketing and promoting it.

Park District Executive Director Tony LaFrenere said that while access to the suite wasn't a high priority in the negotiations, it's something local school districts have been able to use for their students and families through their partnership with the park district.

He said the financial obligations of maintenance and capital improvements at the stadium have become more difficult for the park district, whose revenues are largely restricted to property taxes and user fees. The district also expects to feel the impact of the state's new minimum wage law.

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The village, on the other hand, not only has a significantly larger budget but also could receive new revenue streams through taxes on video gambling and recreational marijuana sales, LaFrenere said.

The $1 million payment the park district will make represents about four years of maintenance costs but might be only about 2½ years with the larger improvements currently being considered, he added.

Village trustees Tuesday expressed remorse for the end of what they considered a long and successful partnership with the park district.

"I find the whole situation to be unfortunate," Trustee Marge Connelly said.

A member of the park board before the ballpark was proposed, Connelly said she wished the park district had found a way to use and prioritize the stadium as one of its own facilities more than it did.

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