MCC Board Support Softens for Baseball Stadium

The McHenry County College Board has yet to have a real discussion on what to do now that the Crystal Lake City Council has rejected its proposal to build a baseball stadium.

But after the Economics Research Associates’ sales pitch last Thursday night, there was some public flushing out of positions. Some for the first time.

People already know that Scott Summers and Donna Kurtz have changed their minds about supporting the proposed baseball stadium. Both made that clear at the city council meeting when its zoning was defeated.

Newly out in the open with contrarian views, however, was Trustee Frances Glosson.

“We do need more space for these cheer leaders,” she said, after revealing she had again seen them practicing in the cafeteria .

“Do we need to replicate a HealthBridge (Centegra’s Crystal Lake fitness club and she mentioned another one I didn’t catch)?”

“…probably not.

“I think we need to keep close to our core mission. I think we maybe got a little off center.”

Starting off the comments and questions of ERA’s Richard Starr was Carol Larson.

She emphasized that MCC had a mission to educate students’ minds and “their body.”

She argued “for a fitness center where you don’t have to go and pay the money for HealthBridge.”

In her comments, Glosson seemed to disagree strongly with Larson.

Trustee Barbara Walters pointed to the how, under the tax cap, “We have lost $27 million. I don’t know how we will keep in business unless we don’t get involved with hospitals, partnering up, a baseball stadium, partnering up…This is becoming very common across the country. This is not 101.”

“We as a board have a whole lot of conversation ahead of us,” Scott Summers then said.

“The project now has doubled in cost since that time (when board approval was given).

“I think we need to start over. Take a breath and start over.”

Walters took the floor at this point and proceeded to read the minutes from the April 26, 2007, board meeting in which both Summers and Mary Miller are quoted as favoring the project and having looked at the numbers.

“Trustee Walters is correct in regard to all of the particulars,” Summers replied.

“I made a mistake.”

“There are substantial differences in the projections that ERA provided and what EquityOne provided,” Donna Kurtz explained.

She referred to food, a difference between its cost and gross revenue from food.

“That’s the only place I found a mistake.

“We’re looking for revenues in four different business areas. The $100,000 difference is very, very significant.”

Kurtz said she found the difference by comparing the contract “with your report.”

She noted the $15,000 for marketing for the Health, Wellness and Athletic Center with what I think I heard was $300,000 for the baseball stadium.

“We have very serious deficiencies.”

Kurtz emphasized the 1.5% per year Equity One suggested setting aside for maintenance and upgrading the stadium versus ERA’s 5% to 10% of annual revenues.

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