Revived Lakewood sports complex proposal differs from original

Rendering provided
Proposed plan to build a sports complex in Lakewood.
Rendering provided Proposed plan to build a sports complex in Lakewood.

LAKEWOOD – A revived plan to put a sports complex at the intersection of Route 47 and Pleasant Valley Road has a few changes from the original plan laid out four years ago.

Chicagoland Sportsplex, led by CEO and Executive Director Lou Tenore, has submitted a petition to develop 162 acres south of Pleasant Valley Road and west of Route 47 on the northwest end of Lakewood plus a request to annex one of the parcels involved.

The sprawling facility would include multiple baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, football and lacrosse fields, as well as an approximately 130,000-square-foot indoor facility and a 30,000-square-foot fabric dome for cold weather sports. There also would be a pro shop, concession stands, cafes and an ice cream shop.

Most of the uses laid out in the petition mirror the proposal originally laid out by McHenry County SportsPlex LLC, also run by Tenore, in 2010.

There are some differences this time around, particularly with the site’s layout, some of the players involved and Chicagoland Sportsplex’s not-for-profit status, Village Manager Catherine Peterson said.

“Yes, I am the same person, but it’s a different entity,” Tenore said. “We’re a not-for-profit [now]. ... We’re trying to do something that benefits the community, that benefits families and athletes.”

The village is holding an information session at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Turnberry Country Club, 9600 Turnberry Trail, on the project. The Lakewood Planning and Zoning Commission and the Lakewood Village Board have meetings scheduled the following week to discuss the development and annexation.

This proposal is more self-contained, with the west end of the fields ending at Hamilton Road and instead extending further south to include the Crystal Woods Golf Course, Tenore said. Athletes and spectators won’t need to cross any roads to get to the different fields.

Some Pleasant Valley Road residents had opposed development in the area, and the new layout puts the complex closer to unincorporated subdivisions.

Chicagoland Sportsplex is also pursuing different funding mechanisms for the project, which it hopes to start construction on this summer, Tenore said. The financing hasn’t been finalized, but in order to do that, the not-for-profit needs to move forward on the planning and zoning process.

The last time around, the tax-exempt bonds designed to finance the project didn’t sell and close by the program’s expiration date, Tenore said. They’re also not pursuing the EB-5 visa for immigrant investors program, and the federal stimulus program also has ended.

“While we were disappointed that the project did not move forward in 2010, we believe that the project recently submitted is much stronger and will provide greater long-term benefits for our community and McHenry County,” Lakewood Village President Erin Smith said in a news release.

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