A possibility for a new recreation facility is emerging as Yorkville leaders consider whether to purchase the when the lease expires next summer.
Leaders are considering seeking a $4 million bond referendum so the city could split the cost of a new recreation facility with the Fox Valley Family YMCA, whose leaders have indicated they plan to build a new facility soon regardless of the city's plans with the REC Center.
Alderman Chris Funkhouser revealed the details at Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting. Funkhouser led a meeting Monday with YMCA representatives, who are planning to review the idea with that organization's board members.
The group did not determine where the building would be, what it would include or how it would be managed, Funkhouser said. Some thought a November referendum would give leaders more time to plan than waiting for an April referendum, since the lease on the REC Center expires in June.
City leaders have been discussing purchasing the REC Center for months.
If approved, city would buy the REC Center building (including four rental units), equipment, business and land for $2.5 million, City Administrator Bart Olson said in a memo to City Council members. The owners, Walker Custom Homes, would finance the installment contract at 6 percent interest over 20 years, so the city would pay them $17,910 a month for a total of $4,298,586.
The city held the first of three public hearings on the potential purchase last month. Future hearings will be at the July 24 and Aug. 28 City Council meetings, which start at 7 p.m. Aldermen could vote on the contract on Sept. 11.
But Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Milschewski was worried the YMCA could end up competing with the older REC Center facility in Yorkville. YMCA leaders indicated that they were planning to build a new facility within the next few years, Milschewski said.
"The YMCA, they’re planning to build somewhere," Milschewski said.
Ward 1 Alderman George Gilson Jr. supported pursuing the join venture. He questioned the maintenance costs involved with an older building, as well as the history of annual budget deficits involved with the REC Center. He dubbed the REC Center a "money pit."
Gilson also supported taking the issue to the voters through a referendum.
“I’d rather have them have a say in it," Gilson said.
But Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling emphasized that selling bonds would mean a property tax increase for local residents, while the REC Center purchase is expected to be covered by other city funds. She doubted the bond referendum would pass.
Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo suggested putting two questioned to residents: one of the joint venture with the Fox Valley Family YMCA, and another on purchasing the REC Center.
"Ask the citizens: Should the city ouncil purchase the REC Center without issuing any bonds?" Colosimo said.
The matter could be discussed at the next City Council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. July 24 at .