Lakewood Considering New Village Hall

A fast track design and building consortium headed by Draper and Kramer made a presentation to the Lakewood Village Board Tuesday night.

The players in the discussion of a new village hall.

They didn’t cinch the deal, but made a favorable impression.

The Village Board decided it wanted more input from residents, which would be sought at the next meetings.

Only residents Tom Wilbeck and Cal Skinner made comments after extensive questioning by the Village Trustees.

Financing was a key topic.

Costs could range from $165 to $286 a square foot. The most expensive was for the Lisle Village Hall.

Having been burned for twenty years on the alternative revenue bonds sold by the 1992 Village Board, current members were adamant that no borrowing would be approved that would require a tax increase.

The 1992 Village bought the pitch that bonds backed up by property taxes would be cheaper than those backed solely by the golf course.

When the golf course revenues did not provide enough money to pay off the debt, property taxes had to be increased. Many have estimated the annual increase in property taxes to be about $500 a year for twnety years because of that 1992 decision.

Debt certificates were discussed. They could cost up to a half a percent more and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the Triple A rated village government, but could not force taxes higher.

Debt certificates could be sold without a referendum.

If adequate money were not available to repay the debt certificates and other village expenses, however, other expenses would have to be cut in order to pay off the borrowing.

Discussion ensued around using the lake front property where the current village hall is located.

With about 100 feet of waterfront, the property could be cut into two lots and sold for an estimated $750,000 a lot.

Alternatively, the property could become the only waterfront restaurant in Crystal Lake. That would supply the village with both property tax and sales tax revenue.

The cheapest village hall mentioned by the developers had a $4 million price tag, but making an estimate of the square footage and using the cheapest ($165) per square foot figure, one trustee estimated the cost might be $2-3 million.

A formal needs evaluation would be part of a no-cost Phase 1.

Village Administrator Catherine Peterson pointed out that the Village Board “used to have a nice room,” but space needs of the growing village forced a move of meetings to Red Tail Golf Course.

That was supposed to be a “3-5 year solution.”

“Now, we’re going on 5-10 years.”

Confidentiality in processing those arrested and, sometimes, having a place for their distraught families other than the waiting area in the Village Hall portion of the building, was mentioned after the meeting as a significant reason for the need for more space.

The first phase of the proposed project would be free to the village. It would include a needs assessment and an evaluation as to the reasonableness of staff requests.

Members of the build-to-suit team thanked Village Board members after the presentation and discussion was completed.

A second phase would cost $30,000 to 50,000 for consultants to do soil borings, preliminary environmental work, etc.

Construction could be completed within 18 months, if the village board decided to move forward.

The finance advisor from Stern Brothers & Co. said the time was favorable for long-term borrowing.  The general contractor on the team added that construction costs were low.


Lakewood Considering New Village Hall — 12 Comments

  1. So we have the CL Park District building the West Beach Community Center, Grafton Township on the verge of taking up the “Grafton Township Hall” issue again and now Lakewood needs a $2-4-8 million new village hall.

    Are we all crazy?

    Please show up at the next Village Board meetings and tell them to find something else to us.

    Sell the existing building for a restaurant?

    What a pie in the sky, where will the employees and customers park?

    Maybe they will all come by boat!

    These people must be smoking something.

  2. Yeah this is nuts.

    The village/township halls are fine, but “hey we can work in the Taj Mahal on the taxpayers back…let’s do it!”.

    Here is a novel idea…reduce taxes if there’s so much “extra” money laying around!!

  3. Jim, have been in the current village hall?

    Its very outdated and not condusive to the needs of the village.

    For instance residents, employees, arrestees from the police department all share the same restrooms.

    There is no place for employees to eat but at their desk.

    There are many oher examples that currently are below standard.

    As long as the price makes sense and taxes dont increase we should all agree a new building is needed.

    Something we all can be proud of and better represent the village.

  4. First of all, cutting the current village hall into 2 lots and selling them for $750,000??

    They are seriously dreaming.

    Where would this multi-million dollar village hall be located if they don’t use the current village hall property?

    Will there be an added cost to purchase more land?

    John D—I have been in the current village hall.

    It is just fine.

    I don’t care that they have the share a restroom or eat at their desk.

    I have to share a restroom at work with others and I also eat at my desk–I’m sure the company I work for would love to remodel and add additional bathrooms, a break room, etc.

    However, since resources aren’t currently available we make due.

    Why should the village be able to disregard this basic concept of sacrifice?

    They are allowed to build a multi-million dollar village hall because it isn’t THEIR money they are spending?

    And so they can have separate bathrooms and a lunchroom?

    They claim they will not raise taxes for this project, but what will end up happening is they will use reserves, or decrease spending for other expenses and raise taxes for their next big project.

  5. Please check with Grafton Township Assessor Bill Ottley for the price paid for the lakefront lot next to the Gate 21 beach.

    Also with Algonquin Township Assessor Bob Kunz for the price paid for the lot at Gate 5 where the house was just torn down.

  6. Since Lakewood currently contracts with Woodstock Fire Service, why can’t we do the same for police protection?

    Then Lakewood doesn’t need a police facility and instead, we can invest in Red Tail to provide both golf/banquet services and a location for the village hall (this assumes we can really sell the lake lots for the above mentioned price).

    After all, Lakewood residents own Red Tail and it is making money now that the bonds are paid off.

    Turnberry is a private facility, seems odd the village would want to invest there and not where they already own.

    Regardless any tax increase request get my NO vote.

  7. I heard no reference to building a new village hall at Turnberry Country Club.

  8. Cal, in a recent blog post you stated, “The rumor mill, via a Crain’s Chicago Business reporter, suggests that the Turnberry Country Club, which has undergone hard times during the recession, may be suggested as a replacement”.

    That is the only place I can find it in an article, but others have heard village trustees, and staff stating that the Turnberry Country club is a possible location

  9. We’ll see, but it didn’t come up at the meeting.

    Maybe property at Red Tail makes more sense. We own it.

  10. Hey guys & gals…you can’t call your proposed new Village Hall the “Taj Mahal”: we here in SW Cook County have already grabbed that moniker for OUR village hall/police station that was funded by referendum to the tune of $7 M over input from residents that it shouldn’t cost over $3 – $4 M.

    That $7 M morphed to over $17 M (that we know of!) with no clear acooounting of actual expenses, costs, approvals, etc.

    No buyoffs of mechanical systems prior to approving contractor payments…lighting ballasts were already flickering at the “Grand Opening”. Ventilation is incredibly bad.

    No security cameras or lights.

    And the landscaping looks like Viet Nam post Agent Orange.

    For the sake of all parties involved, be very, very careful.

    Identify and enforce stage gates and accountability.

    If you proceed on this, for the sake of your pocketbooks, keep the sunshine on from start to finish.

  11. Would you please share the name of your village, SW Cook County?

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