Leaders Meet Again About REC Center

Yorkville has to decide by December whether to break the lease on the current facility.

Yorkville City Council and Park Board members spent more than an hour discussing the behind closed doors Tuesday without reaching any apparent decisions on the leased facility.

“Thanks, you guys,” Mayor Gary Golinski said as the group disbursed. “And we’ll be talking some more.”

Golinski said the group is trying to discern whether it is financially viable to purchase the building, which the city has operated at a loss since July 2008. They also are committed to operating the facility so its expenses match its revenues.

In June, the same group of city leaders came to a consensus that they wanted to explore purchasing the building, renegotiating the lease terms or moving the recreation facility to another site. (For more financial details, see this post.)

City leaders need to decide by December whether they are going to continue leasing the past June 2013. Under the 2008 agreement, the city could purchase the for about $4 million, continue the lease through 2018, or opt out of the agreement in June 2013 but pay at least $100,000 as a financial penalty.

Leaders also could negotiate new terms with Walker Custom Homes. Ron Walker, who owned Club 47 before the city leased the building and its customer base, he was open to negotiations. He attended the brief public portion of Tuesday’s meeting but did not participate in the closed session.

The joint meeting Tuesday came after city staff reviewed the history of the city’s recreation programs and some financial information.

The city pursued the lease after a survey, commissioned in November 2007, showed city residents ranked their top five needs from the recreation department as: paved bike trails, outdoor recreation pool, a facility dedicated to fitness and wellness, an indoor recreation pool and a recreation center with gym and instructional rooms, said Laura Schraw, interim director of parks and recreation.

Previously, after the Recreation Department moved out of the , the city paid about $38,400 per year to rent office space, program space at Parkview School, and preschool space at Congregational Church, said Tim Evans, superintendent of parks and special events.

The city pays $18,500 monthly rent, with that figure set to increase $500 a month every July 1 through the existing lease. The city also pays the property taxes, which increased from $53,000 to $60,000 this year, and maintains most of the building.

The city has earned about $45,000 more in programming revenue this fiscal year compared to last fiscal year since moving the administrative offices and preschool to the building, Evans said. He expects to see a similar drop in revenue if the city moves programs out of the facility as the public adjusts to the location change.

Meanwhile, Evans expects to reduce the operating deficit month-over-month as the fiscal year progresses. For example, he projects a $51,000 to $53,000 deficit in November 2011, compared to the $90,337 deficit in November 2010.

Robyn Sutcliff September 30, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Have you ever talked to anyone that attends the Rec Center? It is a great facility. Over 5000 people a year utilize it from Infants in the day care to seniors in the senior swim classes. I have talked to seniors and they tell me that this facility is the only thing keeping them alive. This facility is a service to the community. Most communities have Park Districts that cost tax payers hundreds of dollars per year for just the park district. (Oswego pays $300 per year for the dist. They have a golf course, parks, bike paths, tennis courts, activities) I talked to a resident there and he feels it is a great deal. Here in Yorkville the parks and rec are included in our city tax that may be $550 total. This $550 pays for the roads, police $3.5 (Mil per year). Parks, Rec and everything else it takes to run a town. I agree that the council needs to start cutting but not where people need it. How about cutting $110,000 for Engineering studies to figure out what roads need fixed. Drive on them and you can see what roads need to be fixed. How about stop subsidizing wealthy seniors with 50 cent garbage per month. The Rec center is well run and, If purchased , would be in the black and serve the 5000+ residents.
Robyn Sutcliff September 30, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Oh, and the survey was a mail survey done by Northern Illinois University. Not an internet survey.
Scratch on Patch October 01, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Sorry a mail survey that had what kind of a return rate? How much did that cost taxpayers or did NIU's Marketing department do it all for free? In 2007 most people were still living high on the hog. Not so much now a days....
Scratch on Patch October 01, 2011 at 02:34 AM
"the city could purchase the REC Center for about $4 million" -- The City could probably get bids to build a better building for less then $4 million. Maybe donate the $4 million to the YMCA to get the Yorkville Y built. Additionally, work a deal for Yorkville residents to have discounted rates for a period of time.
Robyn Sutcliff October 03, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Good to know we agree on the engineering studies and the subsidies for senior garbage. Senior's insurance pays for their membership. Senior swim is the only activity many seniors can do. They tell me this movement is keeping them out of wheelchairs and giving them a good quality of life.


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