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Board Votes Down Need for Bonds, Referendum on Sports Complex

Board members during a special meeting Monday fully backed private financing for the complex—taking the need for bonds and a referendum off the table.

Lemont Village Board members decided Monday to continue the pursuit of private financing for a $21 million sports complex, by repealing an ordinance that called for it to be funded with bonds. 

The revoked ordinance would have enabled the village to use facility revenue, sales tax, income tax and tax increment finance funds to fund the complex.

It also allowed for residents to petition for a referendum about purchasing the bonds—an option they exercised by collecting 1,700 signatures to demand the issue be put on the March 2014 ballot.

Repealing the ordinance nixed the need for the bonds, and squashed the possibility of a referendum.

Instead the village is in continuous talks about private financing for the project, said Mayor Brian Reaves. However, he stressed no contract or agreement has been finalized. 

Other complications—like the contamination of the land on which the complex would be built—could muddle the village's vision, Reaves said. 

"We'll continue to do our due diligence as we move forward," Reaves told Patch after the meeting, "to see if the feasibility of the project still exists."

More than a dozen commenters spoke during the meeting—many demanding that residents have a voice in the project and how it's funded. Many fear that if proposed revenue sources fall short, the village would levy taxes on residents. 

Reaves mentioned the option of a citizens' advisory board, which the audience seemed to appreciate. 

Reaves and the board continued to stress the need for the project to drive revenue to Lemont.

"There needs to be an economic vehicle that runs and brings people into Lemont," Reaves previously told Patch.  

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B.S. Buster January 10, 2014 at 06:02 PM
Also Hank, how can you have contracts for a service and facility you don't have?
B.S. Buster January 10, 2014 at 06:27 PM
There is nowhere downtown to plan a home addition, but there still are places to eat and drink. Those restaurants and boutiques will see customers. Did you ever go to Culvers next to Darien Sportplex? Every time I've been there many people still wearing uniforms etc from the game next door. So what is YOUR plan for downtown Lemont. Lets assume your correct and this is bad plan. What's your good plan?
Time January 10, 2014 at 07:02 PM
How many of these people using the sports plex will go to a sit down restaurant versus a fast food versus food at the sports plex?
B.S. Buster January 10, 2014 at 07:14 PM
A whole lot of them. If you haven't noticed the price is about the same. During a tournament there are a few hours between games. Excellent opportunity to visit one of our fine restaurants that would love to have the business.
Hank Olenick January 10, 2014 at 07:22 PM
No they won't BS I've been to hundreds of games and competitions and believe me the kids were not carrying a wad of cash for a sit down Italian dinner afterward. Maybe their parents give them $5 for a hot dog and a coke at the venue. Still waiting on all your numbers on the success stories BS.
Time January 10, 2014 at 07:33 PM
B.S. where are you getting your facts on where the sport goers are eating?
B.S. Buster January 10, 2014 at 07:43 PM
Same place you get your facts where they won't! When you were at the places "hundreds" of times, you never got hungry? Never stopped for a bite to eat on the way there? The way home? In between games of a tournament, never needed a bite to eat or a drink? Of course if they eat at the concession, that goes directly to the venue to support the loan payment that you are worried about. Success? Right down the road in Darien, not 600 miles away in Minnesota. What else you got? This is fun!
Hank Olenick January 10, 2014 at 07:57 PM
Numbers son, .. I can guarantee you will not be packing in the upscale restaurants. We did not stop for fine dining every single Saturday and either did the people my kids car pooled with. When that event is over, you just want to get out of Dodge. BS
B.S. Buster January 10, 2014 at 08:07 PM
What upscale restaurants? Lemont doesn't have any. But Stonehouse has burger and fries cheaper n McDees. And once again, all that concession revenue goes to retire the loan youre so worried about
B.S. Buster January 10, 2014 at 08:25 PM
Still waiting to hear your good idea Hank. You know, something positive for our village?
Hank Olenick January 10, 2014 at 11:27 PM
I'm sure parents will be thrilled to have their kids go to a bar after playing on contaminated land. As I said we NEVER took our kid and the 5 other 12 year olds in tow out to dinner. We have packed coolers. Still waiting on your facts and figures on the huge success of Darien.
Hank Olenick January 10, 2014 at 11:40 PM
I've got something positive for the village, how about we not take out a $21 M loan on a contaminated, rented piece of land that has no direct access to any major highway.
B.S. Buster January 11, 2014 at 07:34 AM
What POSITIVE benefit do we get from continuing to do nothing? You are full of negative Emotion Highwire. It drives every word out of your mouth. I pity those around you
Hank Olenick January 11, 2014 at 11:35 AM
The obvious positive benefit is that the taxpayers will not be saddled with another huge tax increase on their property. Old Time Lemonter aka BS aka Bri-Bri. Still doing your goesinta's on the Darien. success?
B.S. Buster January 11, 2014 at 02:43 PM
Once again You got nothing Highfire Hank! As for Darien, the proof is in the pudding! Goesinta there and try to park! If you finally do, goesinta there and look at ALL the smiling people having fun, then goesinta the counter and ask about the availability of renting the facility for an event, and or see if you can get a regular time slot for a team to goesinta there for practice every week.... No room to goesinta there. Is that the mark of failure, or success? There are numbers for sure, but if you can't understand the wording of your own petition drive, I doubt you'll understand these facts either
Victor Fischer January 11, 2014 at 05:09 PM
If you are so sure that this sports complex will be such a success, why did the mayor and board con the people by using the words, private financing, in their latest writeup. Lemont will still be left holding the bag by taking money from one fund and putting it into paying the mortgage should a short fall accure. The mayor said this himself so BS, get the facts correct. Toyota Park and Sauk Village are prime examples of sports complexes draining the funds of the villages. Now the Park District is looking for money for upkeep, etc. Is the Core really making sufficient profit to maintain all the Parks facilities? Chicago is in trouble along with Illinois and our Federal Government because they keep borrowing money that they will have trouble paying back. Do we want to get so deep in the RED that we will never see the end, or have to double the amount of taxes collected by Lemont, People right now are still concerned about paying the mortgages and monthly bills. This project needs to be looked at with open eyes and not let some company show a bunch of numbers that may not pertain to a small town like Lemont. Direct access and sufficient parking is a major question. Where are you going to park 50 plus cars in downtown? Anyone that I have talked to that have children in sports activities, after a long day want to get home, and not take stop at the Stone House, etc. for an hour for a burger. What is wrong with the High School renting out their sports complex on 135th. That rent money could be used for general expenses and reduce the need for tax increases levied by the school. That facility is very under utilized.
Hank Olenick January 11, 2014 at 05:10 PM
I don't know Darien's financial situation , apparently you don;t either. What I do know is it is located on a heavily traveled street with easy access to major expressways and wasn't built on contaminated rented property that I am aware of. BS , so if a place is busy, that automatically makes it profitable? Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival was pretty well attended...Tell that to the taxpayers in Bridgeview.
B.S. Buster January 11, 2014 at 05:37 PM
Now Victor and Highwire Hank, you know that Bridgeview is professional sports arena, not anything even remotely similar to Lemont's facility. Not in size, scope, cost or utilization intent. There is absolutely no comparison. As for Sauk Village, here is a link to their budget nothing in there about any money losing proposition. http://www.saukvillage.org/Financials/2013/2013_2014_Budget.pdf You may wish to have someone read it to you, as its 26 pages and you have trouble understanding your own paragraph of petition purpose
B.S. Buster January 11, 2014 at 05:57 PM
http://m.nwitimes.com/news/local/illinois/sauk-village/sauk-village-levies-m-in-taxes/article_ca5a0bc1-2fce-5d97-877e-11f7f408d4b3.html?mobile_touch=true Recent news article on taxes on Sauk village. Modest Increase of 1.7%. No reference to any stadium problems, but if you refer to the budget, parks and rec expenses less than $35k a year.... What else you got? This is fun!
B.S. Buster January 11, 2014 at 05:59 PM
Victor, go downtown and you will note a municipal garage that's mostly empty, waiting for people to have a purpose to go there. Well over 50 spots
Time January 11, 2014 at 07:00 PM
B.S. you do not even know what the word FACT means. ( comment Jan 10, 7:43 pm) what you wrote is your opinion. Your right this is a lot of fun!
B.S. Buster January 11, 2014 at 07:14 PM
I don't think Sauk villages budget is my opinion. And I don't think comparing a pro sports arena to a Sportplex aimed at traveling amateur community an opinion either. Factually they are different in size, scope or intent. But that's just my opinion.... Now what you got? A movie would cost 10 bucks and not be this fun
Victor Fischer January 11, 2014 at 07:37 PM
Mr. B.S. Sauk Village money was used to build baseball fields in place of cleaning up their water problem. Something the mayor pulled over the public's eyes. Was using this as a classic example of taking money from one fund and using it to fund something else.
B.S. Buster January 11, 2014 at 09:51 PM
Ok I guess.... that wasn't clear in your original comment, and isn't really clear in your follow up either, as it has nothing to do with any of Lemont's plans, actual situations or budget. Your claims also aren't evident in SV budget either. Keep slinging stuff against the wall though and something might stick I guess.
B.S. Buster January 12, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Kerry, are you throwing your hat in the ring? Or is this something you think "someone else" should do?
JOEL WHITEHOUSE January 17, 2014 at 01:01 PM
Another bad idea, remember the upscale loft apartments that were going to generate $$$$ for the village??????
B.S. Buster January 17, 2014 at 01:21 PM
OK Joel what's your " good idea"?
JOEL WHITEHOUSE January 19, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Throwing 21 million dollars (+plus interest) into a contaminated hole in the ground is reckless and against the wishes of the voters.
Thomas Tresser February 03, 2014 at 03:26 PM
Hello, residents of Lemont. If you would like to chat about organizing against top-down sports-centered mega projects that benefit the insiders and put taxpayers at risk, then check out the No Games Chicago campaign of 2009. http://www.nogameschicago.com. Would be happy to talk to you. Tom Tresser, tom@civiclab.us
B.S. Buster February 03, 2014 at 05:06 PM
Great idea Tom. These guys should have started their own web site a long time ago! Do you validate the registered user names there?

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