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No Golf Course for Lake Villa Township

The electors (Lake Villa Township Registered voters) at a Special Town Meeting overwhelmingly rejected the idea of Lake Villa Township pursuing the acquisition of the Antioch Golf Course property. The final vote was 128 in favor and 716 against and 21 provisional votes.

The meeting lasted over 2 hours and the 850 electors were able to vote on the proposition by secret ballots that were counted immediately after the vote was collected.

This is officially the end of the Township pursuing the property. Townships are unique in that to purchase real estate they need more than just a public hearing followed by a board vote, the electors actually vote on the purchase and that vote is controlling. Here they voted no!

Hopefully the heightened awareness of the Antioch Golf Course Property will bring in investors interested in it as an 18 hole golf course and banquet facility. This would provide relief to the golf course home owners and not burden the Township taxpayers.

I want to thank everyone that attended last night’s meeting for your patience and civility at a very crowed meeting.

Daniel Venturi

The Case for Antioch Golf Course

Lake Villa Township is considering the purchase of Antioch Golf Course. The issue will be decided at a special Town Meeting to be held on Monday May 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm at 37850 N. IL Route 59 Lake Villa, IL (Lake Villa Townships West Campus). Please note the changed location to accommodate a larger crowd.

At this meeting all of the Lake Villa Township Electors (registered voters) will vote on whether or not Lake Villa Township shall proceed with the purchase of Antioch Golf Course.

Lake Villa Township is considering the investment in the Antioch Golf Course property because it has the potential of being a great resource for the community. The property has an 18 hole golf course, modern club house, with restaurant and a moderate sized banquet facility. There is also included a 50 by 75 foot banquet tent. All of the operating equipment (except the golf carts which are leased) is included.

The course is in disrepair and much of the equipment needs updating and the restaurant has been poorly run for several years. The current price for the 100 plus acre property including the club house and all the equipment is $750,000.00.

Why is this a good investment for the Township? The current state of the property makes it a very attractive price for a lot of assets. The Township has a solid track record investing in distressed properties and making them a valuable resource for our community.

The Township purchased the old Gavin North School after it was no longer suitable for school use. This was a very distressed property at a good price. We invested money by putting on a new roof and installing a new HVAC system. We now have great Community Center. We were even able to give, at no cost, a portion of the property to our Fire Protection District to build their fire station.

Similarly, Peacock Camp was a distressed property with a lot of potential. With 600 feet of beach front, a swimming pool, and a large lodge. We invested in this property and put in new plumbing, HVAC and a new kitchen. This property is used during the school year on a daily basis by both Lakes and Antioch High Schools for their outdoor education classes. We run a successful adventure day camp at the Peacock Camp property. This year, after operating for just 3 years, we are at capacity for all of our sessions, and we anticipate positive cash flow.

As the golf course is being operated now, it loses about $85,000 a year. If we bring the course back to the quality course it was few years ago and bring the greens fees back to where they were only a couple of years ago (even without any more golfers) we can turn that loss into a $100,000 positive cash flow. If we get the number of golfers back to where they were a few years ago the positive cash flow increases to about $275,000. The positive cash flow will increase even more with new revenue from the restaurant and banquet facility.

We see Antioch Golf Course as a diamond in the rough. The restaurant and banquet facilities are real assets. In addition to hosting golf outings and weddings (to pay the bills) it will be a great location for community events. We can host vendor fairs, pancake breakfasts, senior events. We could offer a discount rate for our not for profit organizations to host their events.

The golf course would similarly provide opportunities to partner with the Lindenhurst Park District to provide golf lessons and even a golf camp. The high schools could have a home field for their golf teams.

In addition to the full time employment positions we will also have numerous seasonal and part time positions to offer our students.

In the morning, we could utilize the upgraded cart paths to provide approximately 1.5 miles of walking trails on the back nine (before golfers finish the front nine).

The Township would like to partner with the culinary classes at our colleges and high schools to provide a unique quality menu selection. We would also partner with schools, boy scouts and other community groups to provide botanical gardens and habitats throughout the property. We see this as a lot more than a failed golf course. We see it as a tremendous opportunity for our community.

All of this has a cost and Lake Villa Township has always taken great care in spending taxpayer money. We know real estate taxes are outrageous. The Lake Villa Township portion of the tax bill is less than 2%. From the Township’s share we put aside about $100,000 each year for long term major projects. We also have monies saved from other recent successful projects. We froze our tax levy last year and will freeze it again this year. The purchase of Antioch Golf Course will not raise the Township’s real estate tax levy or incur any Township debt.

It has been correctly pointed out however, that the Township would likely remove this property from the tax roles and the current real estate tax of about $31,000 would be shared by the remaining taxpayers. The actual impact of that on your individual real estate tax bill is an important question. The answer is a little complicated and depends if you have shared taxing districts with that property. For Lake Villa Township residents that are in Emmons School District and High School District 117 (the major taxing bodies) that increase for a home with a fair market value of $200,000 would be just under one dollar and seventy five cents ( $1.75) a year. If you are not in Emmons District that drops to less than seventy five cents ($ .75) a year and if you are not in High School District 117, that drops to about ten cents ($ .10) per year.

There is also the option of no longer putting any money aside annually for major projects and just lower the Township Tax levy. The $100,000 savings per year costs the average taxpayer ($200,000.00 home) in Lake Villa Township about $7.20 a year. So the question is, does having a community with baseball fields, football fields, soccer fields, West Campus Community Center, Peacock Camp and perhaps a golf course and community center worth an investment of $7.20 per year?

We invite all Lake Villa Township registered voters to come and vote on this important issue Monday, May 22, 2017, at 7:00 pm at our west Campus Community Center at 37850 N. IL Route. 59, Lake Villa Illinois. Please note the change of location from Caboose Park.

Daniel Venturi
Lake Villa Township Supervisor

Antioch Golf Course Projection

Special Town Meeting Agenda May 22, 2017

 

Lake Villa Township, covering approximately 26 square miles, was incorporated in 1913. The population as of 2012 was estimated to be 40,317. Our rolling countryside, many lakes, parks, forest preserves and mature woodlands offer numerous recreational opportunities. Five village boundaries extend into Lake Villa Township and the unincorporated area has approximately 37 active homeowner associations.

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