The County Board SportsPlex Debate

Mary McCann had traffic questions about the proposed SportsPlex. John Hammerand is in the background.

Finance Committee Chairman Marc Munaretto began the debate over whether to provide the developers of the McHenry County SportsPlex three more months to round up people to loan them money.

Mary McCann took up the cause of those living off Hamilton Road, one maintained by township government.

Kathy Bergan Schmidt commented on traffic congestion.

“The only real major change is that they’ll (fix the intersection).

“That’s not going to cut it,” the Democrat said.

Kathy Bergan Schmidt

She said she had looked at the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Five-Year Plan. “Within the next five years, the only think…is to resurface.”

“Given the state of the Illinois economy or lack thereof,” she wasn’t so sure even the resurfacing would occur.

She asserted that it was “time we brought the infrastructure first.”

She also pointed out that the SportsPlex’ promise of jobs talked in terms of Full-Time Equivalents.

“FTE’s don’t mean full-time jobs,” she observed.

Gaining the floor, Munaretto explained that Lakewood is “working as well as it’s able to accommodate the residents.

He pointed out that failure would mean “the loss of Recovery Fund bonds in McHenry County.”

Munaretto then dropped this tidbit:

“The EB-5 funding program seems to be fully subscribed.”

His conclusion?

“If we don’t extend, it doesn’t mean this project is going away. It just means it will start a year or two later when the EB-5 (financing kicks in).”

Wonder Lake’s John Hammerand, also a member of the Finance Committee said that the County Board wasn’t “showing good faith.”

The SportsPlex developers didn’t live up to their side of the agreement.

“Now, they’re here begging for an extension. The reason we’re here is that they didn’t sell the bonds.”

Finance Committee member Tina Hill, in whose District 5 the SportsPlex will be located, implied that the contract did not say “on this date we will withdraw.”

She tried to explain away the conflict as a “difference of agreement.”

“The audience has heard of bureaucratic double talk?” Hammerand interjected.

Member of the crowd hold up their hands when asked to indicate how many opposed the SportsPlex.

The SportsPlex resolution before the County Board contained the following language:

“ WHEREAS, Section 3 of Resolution R-201004-12-093 (passed April 20, 2010) did state that the Bonds must close no later than September 30, 2010 and in the event the Bonds did not close by September 30, 2010 the Allocation shall expire and revert back to the County…”

“We put a date in these agreements for a specific reason,” Ersel Schuster said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know a date certain.”

Speaking to the merits of the project, she contented,

“This would be an absolute gridlock for the region.”

“I lived on Route 47 in the 1960’s. It was supposed to be widened to four lanes. It’s fifty years later.”

She spoke of the “insatiable appetite” that municipalities have for “grabbing and grabbing” and leaving “the rest of us picking up the bill for it.

“I take great offense that we made the “Summertime Blues” list (see Lakewood’s SportsPlex Makes “Summertime Blues” Critique of Pork), a screwball list.

Paula Yensen addressed the merits of the SportsPlex.

Schuster moved that consideration be postponed until the next County Board meeting, but her motion was defeated in a voice vote.

District 5’s Paula Yensen, a Democrat, announced she was changing her vote from “Yes” to “No.”

She express two concerns:

  1. “a lot of questions being left unanswered as far as viability goes”
  2. “the 47 corridor and whether the volume can take that kind of vehicle capacity”

“In my district, District 5, people are having a difficult time making their mortgage payments.”

She added that while Crystal Lake, Huntley and Woodstock might have vacant ball fields, in the “Village of Lake in the Hills we’re over capacity.”

The SportsPlex gained enthusiastic support from Crystal Lake’s Barb Wheeler.

Soccer Mom Barb Wheeler supported the economic engine the SportsPlex will be.

First, however, she mused over the conflict between a fear of traffic and the desire for more jobs.

She told of her family’s spending time at the Schaumburg Soccer Fest and having worked with EquityOne to get the multi-use facility built. She bought gas there and ate meals, improving the local economy.

“McHenry County is a great family neighborhood. When it comes to practice time, we can’t find a time in Barrington or Ridgefield.”

“Environmentally, this is going to be a fantastic facility.”

Marc Munaretto and Ersel Schuster took opposite sides in the debate.

“This is a private facility,” someone from the audience interj

“Excuse me, you’re done,” McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler said.

Munaretto defended free enterprise.

“This is still America.”

Right after Munaretto’s defense of private enterprise, Ersel Schuster said,

“It’s being sold as something for the community and it is not. It is private.”

Then Tina Hill spoke.

Tina Hill announcing her support for the SportsPlex, even though it is in her district and she is up for election.

“I assume it will cost me some votes in the next election,” she said as she sat before about 100 of her constituents, all of voting age.

She said she was going “to vote my conscience.”

When the vote was held it passed 15-8.

The eight voting “No” on the SportsPlex question were Yvonne Barnes, Randy Donley, John Hammerand, Jim Heisler, Mary McCann, Kathy Bergan Schmidt, Ersel Schuster, Paula Yensen (in whose district the project sits).

= = = = =
Other articles that might be of interest:

County Board Gives SportsPlex, Baseball Stadium, Wonder Lake Dredging More Time to Borrow Money

Citizens Speak Against SportsPlex, Lakewood Officials Support

Lakewood Approves McHenry County SportsPlex

Lakewood Explains SportsPlex


The County Board SportsPlex Debate — 7 Comments

  1. Erin Smith made a comment at a meeting that this Sportsplex is a private enterprise which means in order for anyone (teams and individuals included) to use this facility (fields) they would have to be associated (members) with this Sportsplex (which means pay their dues/memberships).

    So, obviously, Barbara Wheeler doesn’t understand the nature of this Sportsplex.

    NO, her children’s teams will not be able to just rent a field for practice or games unless they are associated with the Sportsplex. And residents will not be able to go over with their kids to practice/play on the fields.

    At least that’s the way Erin Smith presented it.

  2. What part of “must close no later than September 30, 2010 and in the event the Bonds did not close by September 30, 2010 the Allocation shall expire and revert back to the County” is confusing to Tina Hill and Marc Munaretto?

  3. Didn’t you know the County Board does what it wants doesn’t matter what you or me say. I wonder who on the board is getting finances from this? Who has received campaign funds from these people?

  4. They say one thing and do another. Thats what they do its a shell game. Just like the Train Station and Motorola and Ringwood and McCullum Lake, Wonder Lake dredging. If Mr. Koehler says its going to happen they say yes. They are just his puppets.

  5. Just like Fleming Road. They will go through all the motions and then do what they want. Ask the people of Alden. How long has the people in McCullum Lake been trying to get answers? They will never get answers because The people on the Board have made it impossible to find anything. I have one question, has the site been cleaned up? There needs to be tests done of the area around Rohm and Haas and Modine not McCullum Lake. I don’t feel the contaminates are in the Lake but they are still in the Ground near the plant. Because they haven’t said its been cleaned up. Probably filled in not cleaned up.

  6. I’m looking for info about Linda Moore’s failure to secure a grant for Grafton’s Senior Citizen Bus Service. You Go girl!

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