Meeting at Robert Walker’s Restaurant Wednesday night, opponents to the McHenry County baseball stadium presented three arguments:
- Concern for Crystal Lake’s watershed,
- Traffic congestion and
- Pie in the sky estimates of how a minor league baseball stadium and other stadium activities like concerts could possibly pay off a $10 million debt. MCC has paid no one knowledgeable about stadium financing to review these projections and their assumptions.
Summarizing objections were meeting convener Nancy Gronsiorek and former MCC Trustee Erv LeCoque—perhaps the most successful businessman Crystal Lake has ever had as a resident.
While I was attending a First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake men’s ministries session, Northwest Herald reporter Jim Butts was on the scene.
Butts reports that LeCoque called the proposal a “hazard.”
LeCoque, not only a former elected college trustee, but the man who built a Crystal Lake-based multinational company, the AptarGroup, had this quote in the NW Herald:
“I just think in this case the risk is so great, to the college, to the city, to everybody.”
Just to confuse things or maybe set to deliberately keep people from coming in time for pubic comment, the Crystal Lake city council meeting has been set for 5:30 next Tuesday night.
At my church meeting the text emphasized the strength of three strands.
King Solomon wrote,
”A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
So, maybe there’s a chance if each of the three elements (maybe more) of the coalition mobilize their supporters to go to the Tuesday night meeting.
It’s definitely time for those opposed to the MCC proposal to call their city councilman, even if they can attend the meeting in person.
Because the CL Planning and Zoning Commission voted 8-0 against the proposal, passage requires an extraordinary council majority—five votes.
So, get three no votes and it’s back to square one.
Assuming for the moment that MCC should be in the baseball business (and I don’t concede that any more than John Coonen does), maybe MCC can find a natural amphitheater in one of the many McHenry County gravel pits. Maybe MCC can turn it into a theme park and recreation area based on the late Bull Valley cartoonist’s Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy character Gravel Gertie.
If our community college is going into the entertainment business, it might as well go big time.
Or maybe the City of Crystal Lake could turn a gravel pit into a touristy entertainment draw.
Oh, I forgot. It’s already planning to do that with our money in the $115 million Vulcan Lakes TIF district.
If you want to call your city council members, their phone numbers are here. And, plan to attend the meeting. Bring signs with your message, if you wish. I’m sure the council members wouldn’t mind if you were around the edges of the chamber.
And, even if three council members vote to approve the zoning variation from the watershed ordinance, having someone of LeCoque’s stature go public with his opposition might just convince college trustees to hire someone like Lake Forest College economist Dr. Robert A. Baade, an expert in stadium financing (phone 847/234-3100, ext 5136). When I asked University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson whom MCC should hire to review the baseball team promoter Pete Heitman’s figures, he suggested Baade.