Willson Letter Increases Lakewood Resident Attendance by Ten-Fold

Sometime around the weekend, a letter was mailed to Lakewood residents by bond analyst and Lakewood resident Steve Willson.

You can find it here:

That stimulated about twenty residents to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

There were only two (excluding a petitioner for a zoning change) two weeks before.

Two residents attended because the letter was the first they had heard about building a new RedTail Golf Course Clubhouse.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think there has been a mailing explaining how the decision to replace the current stuck together manufactured housing units.

I just learned from the letter, for instance, that a $793,000 pole barn is proposed to house golf carts and I read village newsletters.

The other person who attended the meeting two weeks ago, along with myself, was Cheryl Lockwood.

She is the most regular attendee.

In the public comment section, she spokr first, daying she was ‘very disappointed in the letter he [Willson] sent out.”

Although not identifying the portion of the letter referred to, she said one part was hard to understand.

“I believe this Board has done due diligence,” Lockwood concluded.

Willson was the only other speaker at this point in the meeting.

The man who analyzes the credit worthiness of debt offerings for a living pionted out that not only had no private company been willing to build a new clubhouse based on the revenue stream from the golf course, but Home State Bank would not offer a loan without the guarantee of it being backed by the full faith and credit of the village, that is, property taxes.

“Why is that? 

“Because the professional lenders deemed this project too risky without a property tax pledge.

“And with good reason. 

“The historical record shows the club is barely self-supporting, and now that the pandemic is over the course is reverting to its historical trend.

“The Village says it will cover any shortfall with money from banquets in the winter. 

“They have presented no evidence to support this assertion. 

“Is there evidence? 


“The Park District got out of the banquet business because they lost money. 

“Turnberry, Crystal Woods, Pinecrest, Randall Oaks — none of the golf courses around here make money in the winter on banquets. 

“Randall Oaks put golf simulator in its banquet hall in the winter. 

“And today I spoke with the manager at Bartlett Hills and told him RedTail expected to net $200,000 on events in the winter.  He laughed out loud, and finally he said, ‘Well, God bless’em!’

“Can the board reduce the project cost? 


“The plan includes $793,000 for a cart barn, $176 per square foot. 

“Why do we need a cart barn now, after 30 years without one? 

“Because the cart lease agreement requires a cart barn. 

“But the Village could have signed a lease with different firm that didn’t require a cart barn and cut the project cost by 20%. 

“They didn’t.

“Finally, the Village plans to use impact fee money for the golf course. 

“But I’ve learned that last December the state’s attorney asked for an explanation about why the Village wasn’t following its ordinance and refunding the fees. 

“To date the Village has not satisfied the State’s Attorney, nor made that office’s inquiries public.”

[I have filed a Freedom of Information request for documents about this.]

Discussion was held on the contract with the construction manager the Board seeks to hire.

Attorney Scott Puma said there were changes he thought should be made and recommended the Board approve the contract subject to the subsequent approval of himself and Village President David Stavropoulos.

Stavropoulos said in the interest of transparency, he would like the new contract version to be place on the Village web site for residents to see and a special Board meeting held next week.

After discussion of the purchase of golf course maintenance equipment, what will be an every meeting agenda item–RedTail Golf Course–was taken up.

Stavropoulos saId, “Anyone who has lilved her for any length of time [remembers the golf course bonds].

“Contrary to what one resident believes the developer impact fees can be used for a down payment.”

At that point, two residents expressed their lack of knowledge about the project.

“This is the only thing [Willson’s letter] I’ve ever received on this topic,” Mark Hamilton explained.

“Why are we building this?”

Trustee Tricia Babischkin said that the golf course has had a profit every year except the two Covid years.

“We don;t have any more time in this building [the current clubhouse, not the church where the meeting was held[.”

Village Administrator Jean Heckman explained that the arrangement was “structured to be financed solely on RedTail revenue.”

Continuing, she pointed out that to work there would have to be 18,500 rounds per year.

“We have passed 25,000 [each year] except for Covid.”

She said additional revenue would be earned from having food for outings in-house, rather than catered.

A woman asked about a “banquet hall.”

RedTail’s proposed non-banquet hall.

Trustee April Runge interjected, “It’s not a banquet hall!”


Willson Letter Increases Lakewood Resident Attendance by Ten-Fold — 8 Comments

  1. Tiny hamlet, population 4200, builds multi-million dollar fun space, for a small group of fat guys weekly escape.

    My big takeaway from all this?

    ‘My God, how ugly are all your wives!’

  2. The valuable asset that golf course has is the property !

    Do they have a course superintendent with a turf degree overseeing the operation?

    The fire department might want to inspect the maintenance shop/barn!


  3. Enough of the man crush cal. The dude is a nothing blowhard. Ask Stevo about his fbi story.

  4. 10 – fold? Sounds like Skinner went to the same school for math as Steve ‘FBI’ Wilson did. Although Skinner is a graduate of the Illinois legislature – so it makes sense for your math and priorities to be a total mess. How’s the I served 8 years pension holding up?

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