Board closer to decisions on rec center

Pictured is an architectural rendering of the outside front of the proposed recreation center. (Courtesy rendering)

Options to be discussed at special Monday park district meeting

ROCHELLE — Whether to place a referendum on the spring ballot for a new 80,000-foot community recreation center will be the main discussion this Monday at a special Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District board meeting.

The gathering, which will be held at Spring Lake Marina on Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m., is open to the public.

Commissioners will be reviewing their options for funding the construction of a proposed recreation center to be built at the Helms Athletic Complex south property just west of Walgreens. If board members want the issue placed on April election ballot, they would need to vote in favor of that on Monday, along with the type of bonds being issued and the total amount.

During the past few months, park district leaders have rolled out designs for the recreation center, which would include a large multi-purpose indoor turf sports area, a large gymnasium space with two courts, a fitness workout center, a walking track, locker rooms, a concession stand and other meeting/classroom areas for public use.

In addition, the center would also house all of the staff offices that are currently located at the facility at Eighth Avenue and Second Street.

Swimming pool

A second phase of the proposal would include adding a competition swimming pool in the future, after the district begins realizing income from monthly memberships to the center, which are expected to range between $29 to $69 per month. Staff anticipates attracting at least 500 memberships in the first year of operation.

The district staff will also look to rent out turf and gym space for regional youth tournaments on occasion, and has been in discussions with Rochelle Township High School and Kishwaukee College officials about possibly renting space for some classes and extra-curricular needs.

Construction costs of the first phase have been estimated between $10 to $11 million, with the swimming pool addition expected to cost at least another $3 million.

Projections for annual increases to tax payers have been estimated at approximately $80 per year based on a property value of $150,000.

Originally, commissioners were looking at increasing their annual non-referendum bonding close to the maximum amount of $1.5 million per year for 20 years to pay for the construction of the first phase, but last month they decided to consider a binding referendum on the proposal and may ask voters for up to $14 million for both phases of the project.

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