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Lake Bluff Park District Plan Pegs Costs at $12 Million

Twenty-year strategic plan looks at all park district facilities, not just the pool.

It could cost the at least $12 million over the next 20 years to update, repair or replace its facilities, according to a draft of a 20-year strategic plan presented to the board Monday night by Thomas Zordan of the Architectural Consulting Group Ltd. of Barrington.

Board members admitted the full picture is staggering, but the plan at least gives them a good base from which to work.

"At least we have the potential to plan what is a light-year change," said Treasurer Kevin Considine. "Still shaking here, but it's fabulous to get an understanding here."

The costs are flexible and can change, however, as many of the projects may not be done or may be put on hold. Some figures like an estimated $3 million for rehabilitation and repair of the pool and aquatic center also could change once a final expenditure is decided. This figure was inserted into the report as a "placeholder" or "tab mark," Zordan said.

Board President Doug Nickels asked David Forlow, chairman of the 20-Year Plan Task Force, to have members at the board’s June meeting to discuss potential strategies and to discuss how to fine-tune the voluminous report.

The Lake Bluff Park District Board authorized the formation of a 20-Year Plan Task Force last fall. The dozen-member task force was asked to look at all park district operations from top to bottom, and to try to help put together an analysis of the park district's capital needs for the next 20 years, according to Forlow. The task force has held three meetings thus far, plus several members have done work individually and in smaller groups, Forlow said.

"Now, it's just overwhelming," Nickels said. "We currently are responsible for an incredible array of assets, and what we have learned is the costs of maintaining what we already have."

Developing some strategies will help, he said, "knowing the limited amount of money we have and where we might want to invest it."

"This is a huge step," agreed Commissioner Rob Douglass. "This certainly is what the board has been looking for."

The draft 20-year plan looked at site damage, infrastructure, replacement costs for facilities and materials, and potential updates that may be needed in the immediate or near future. Additional costs would be added for any improvements to meet Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. All proposed figure amounts may be changed later.

A few of the suggested changes or maintenance in the report include:

  • Performing a heating-ventilation study at the pool house to achieve better temperatures.
  • Conducting a mold survey at the golf club — mold-reduction allowance, $450,000.

"We identified some suspect areas with a potential for mold," said Zordan. "Basically, the clubhouse has had an extremely difficult time keeping it cool in the summer. The ventilation issues need to be reviewed. It needs help."

  • Demolition and reconstruction at the skate park, $225,000
  • Recreation Center: Raising the stone copings and adding flashing to prevent water damage, $30,000; tuck-pointing of masonry, $83,000; equipment replacement (around year three of the plan) $645,000.

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I.M. Weasel May 25, 2012 at 11:25 AM
This is just another example of the economies of scale that could be achieved if Lake Bluff and Lake Forest were to combine their park district resources. These two communities are closely tied. Why not join forces and save a lot of money in the process?
The Neighbor June 07, 2012 at 03:54 PM
This idea of a merger of the two "empires" was brought up in 2001 and 2002. This was after two failed 10 million dollar referendums in Lake Bluff, and a successful 6 million dollar referendum finally passed. But rather than listen to the voters and hold the line on taxes, the District later spent millions on improvements after they finally refinanced all of their high interest bond debt. The savings could have been put on the side for pool improvements, but instead, more $$$ was put into the fitness facility. I loved it when they ripped up the golf course to build the driving range that no one uses. Then they fired the managers of the golf course and blamed them for revenue drops caused by the recession. This Park District is one of the most inefficient layers of government on the North Shore, and one of the biggest proponents of this mismanaged spending spree, the Board's Vice President, Sandra Hart, wants to run for County Board. We're screwed.

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