May Letter Outlines $5 Million in Direct and Indirect Lakewood Financial Assistance to Sportsplex Developer Lou Tenore

Approved unanimously by the McHenry County Finance and Audit Committee this morning, the proposed $40 million McHenry County Sportsplex comes with $5 million worth of strings to Lakewood taxpayers, including $1 million to buy the land on Route 47 and 176.

A May 13th letter from newly-elected Village President Erin Smith to McHenry County Sportsplex entrepreneur Lou Tenore of Lake in the Hills promises a “cash transfer of $1,000,000.00 from the Village to MCS to the extent permitted by law or acquisition by the Village of up to $1,000,000.00 in land for the project.”

This is part of a $5 million assistance package “to support this project in a manner consistent with Illinois law.”

Outlined in the letter are other financial incentives:

“Waiver of Lakewood municipal annexation, platting, permitting, and associated hearing fees as well as reimbursement of Village professional costs up to a total value of $1,000,000.00.“An additional $3,000,000.00 (or greater to the extent that the amount provided if fee waivers [above] totals less than $1,000,000.00) provided through a combination of other sources included, but not limited to:

  1. Revenue-sharing agreements or tax rebate agreements
  2. Assistance from the Village securing a grant from the Upper Illinois River Development AuthorityOther technical assistance from the Village whether provided directly to the Developer or to the Village
  3. Introductions and support by the Village to funders for other grants whether such grants are made directly to the Developer or to the Village
  4. Any grants or financial assistance provided to MCS from McHenry County at the request of the Village
  5. Property tax abatements, if any, for the parcel
  6. USDA technical assistance whether provided directly to the Developer or to the Village
  7. Tourism attraction or TAP grants whether provided directly to the Developer or to the Village.

So what, according to the letter, does Lakewood get in return?

To recover the $1 million “advance”

  • The village may retain, for its own purposes, its share of the first $1 million in sales tax revenue or amusement tax revenue generated by the project.
  • It can also “be satisfied by other cash payments from the Developer.” Listed are a “10% additional charge on all regular admission fees and a 20%s charge on all tournaments fees along with a $1 per vehicle parking fee.” This would be pledged for a ten-year period.
  • If the village supplies land, rather than case, the land will be deeded to the developer when the village has recovered the purchase price through sales tax, amusement tax and other fees.

For the $15 million loan he sought authorized by the same Federal Stimulus source, Woodstock minor league baseball promoter Pete Heitman told the New York times that he expected to save $5 million over twenty years.

The letter from Village President Smith says the $5 million in assistance needs to be provided “within 18 months.”

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The photo to the right is of Lakewood Village President Erin Smith at a fall “Meet with the Village President” gathering.

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