I did not receive this letter to Lakewood residents until this morning and, then, it did not come from village hall, but from Village Trustee Ken Santowski. It accompanied his report to constituents on village affairs and can be found immediately below this post.
September 3, 2010
Dear Lakewood Resident:
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lakewood, I am writing to inform you of a McHenry County Board Meeting on Tuesday, September 7th, at 9:00 am, which is critically important to the Village of Lakewood. On Tuesday morning, the County Board will vote on a request by the McHenry County Sportsplex, LLC to extend the deadline for the sale of $18 M of ARRA Recovery Zone Bonds from September 30 to December 31, 2010. These bonds, which serve as a bridge loan, are an essential component of the funding model for this project.
The residents who live in the vicinity of the project have actively and vocally expressed their opposition to the Sportsplex. On Wednesday, Trustee Blake Hobson and Village Manager Catherine Peterson joined me at a meeting with more than 100 residents from the unincorporated areas near Pleasant Valley Road and Hamilton Road. While many of these residents said that “the complex is beautiful” and that they would like to see it in McHenry County, they do not want the project near their properties. They are an organized group and, in addition to the numerous phone calls and letters they have already sent to every County Board Member, they plan to be at the meeting on Tuesday morning to express their opposition to the project.
We acknowledge that change is difficult, especially as it relates to land use. However, the Village Board feels that it is unrealistic to believe that there will not be development at the intersection of two state highways. The sports complex, with its open space and commitment to the highest environmental standards, is a significantly better neighboring use than the standard “big box” development along most major highways. Every attempt has been made to take the neighboring properties into account and to minimize the impact of the sports complex upon them.
Commercial development along Route 47 is a critical component of Lakewood’s long-term financial plan. Today, sales tax revenue represents a very small part of our revenue stream. Downward pressure from the State Tax Cap and the current economic environment force us to look at new revenue streams to support the continuation of existing service levels. As a Village Board, we believe that economic development at Route 47 is essential to our long-term financial stability.
On July 27, 2010, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lakewood unanimously approved the annexation, zoning, Special Use/Planned Unit Development; and Annexation/Development Agreement for the McHenry County Sportsplex. The approval of this project represents nearly a decade of planning and preparation by our staff and elected officials, including: the execution of signed boundary agreement with all of our neighboring communities to create a specific planning area; approval of our Facilities Planning Area (FPA) to be co-terminus with this defined planning area; expansion of our water and waste water facilities; regular review and adoption of our local Comprehensive Plan; and active participation in McHenry County’s 2030 Plan. It has always been our intent that this key intersection of two state highways be developed as a destination utilizing best environmental management practices, and this proposal meets these objectives.
If you support our recent annexations and the development of the McHenry County Sportsplex, it is important that you make your voice heard. For your convenience, I have attached contact information for every member of the County Board. I strongly encourage you to contact each Board member before Tuesday to indicate your support. I also hope to see many Lakewood residents attend Tuesday’s meeting, which takes place at 9:00 am, on the 2nd floor of the McHenry County Administration Building on Ware Road, just north of the county courthouse.
If you have any questions regarding the sports complex, I encourage you to access the Frequently Asked Question documents available on our Village website, or to contact me directly with your questions at email@example.com
Erin Smith, President
Village of Lakewood