It appears that Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley was correct.
Other communities like Huntley, Woodstock, McHenry and Algonquin, are interested in a minor league baseball stadium, just like Shepley predicted right before his zoning proposal went down the Crystal Lake watershed drain tile:
“I guarantee you there are other communities that will accommodate a baseball team.
“What if it goes a couple miles down the road and settles in Woodstock?” he asked, pointing out that Crystal Lake would have the same problems with none of the benefits.
The interest from other McHenry County towns was revealed to Northwest Herald reporter Tom Musick by baseball promoter Pete Heitman, who heads up an unknown group of investors called McHenry/Lake Professional Baseball Limited Liability Corporation.
That’s “Limited Liability,” as in “We can walk away from the deal and leave you to pay off the cost to build our stadium, if we don’t make enough money.”
Musick, who covers Huntley for the NW Herald found explicit support from Huntley village and park district officials.
“It has been in my mind for probably six or seven years that I-90 and [Route] 47 would really be an ideal place for a minor league baseball stadium,” (Thom)Palmer said.
A possible solace to McHenry County College taxpayers is that Huntley is not near enough the center of the college district to be selected as anything the trustees could sell as being a centrally located MCC taxpayer-supported site.
Not in the original college district, Huntley School District 158 joined when the state legislator mandated that all parts of Illinois be in one junior college or another.
So maybe there will be a bidding war among communities like those for a major tax generator like a regional shopping center. Or a housing developer playing one municipality off against another.
The only difference is that baseball stadiums are not major tax generators. (Now that I think about it, subdivisions don’t pay their own way either, but towns still fight over them.)
In its one and only article looking at the financial end of McHenry County College’s baseball stadium, its staff could not find one economist who had done a study that showed the benefits outweighed the costs for a baseball stadium.
Huntley Village Administrator Carl Tomaso expressed excitement on behalf of village government. He talked about the desire to have a large entertainment venue near the tollway or elsewhere, reporter Musick found.
At least Huntley has figured out how to pry significant road improvements out of developers, something Crystal Lake has not done yet.
All of the widening of Route 47 from the tollway north to park was financed by developers.
The only pathetic contribution from state government on Route 47 is the center turn lane thru the old part of town—built by the state, complete with curbs and gutters, which will have to be torn out when the road is widened to five lanes.
Built with only three lanes, even though every state IDOT official with a brain knew Route 47 needed five lanes.
One final thought—if you thought the Crystal Lake city council chambers were full for the baseball stadium zoning meeting, can you imagine how large the room will have to be if a Huntley location is proposed where fireworks could be heard from Sun City?