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Should the Park District Buy Five Seasons?

The Northbrook Park District announced earlier this month that it is hoping to buy the Five Seasons Family Sports Club to turn it into a recreation center.

Would you like to see the Northbrook Park District purchase Five Seasons Family Sports Club to turn it into a recreation center?

The district announced their hope to do so earlier this month. The total price tag for the building on Techny Road and a 99-year-lease on the land it sits on is $20.3 million. Roughly $5 million of that would be paid for from park district reserves and the remainder, including whatever cost is needed to renovate the building, would go to voters in a referendum this fall.

Northbrook Patch readers weighed in on both sides of the question with strong opinions. You can read the full list of comments here. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say.

North Brook wrote: “The Community Rec Center in the Glen gets a ton of traffic from Northbrook residents. These types of facilities are popping up more and more around the country. It would be worthwhile to have one in Northbrook.”

Wendy Seltzer wrote: “I am a huge supporter of the purchase. Northbrook is a large enough community that it should have its own central rec center with an indoor pool, a track and classes and programs. We shouldn't have to go to Highland Park or the Glen. I believe a lot of residents who do not pay the high fees to belong to Five Seasons would happily join!”

Patricia Widmar wrote: “Why would we want to pay higher taxes when the YMCA has everything we need? The Park District & the Y should work together to make a greater facility and keep taxes lower.”

Free Market wrote: “How about letting a private entity buy Five Seasons instead of bail out a poor business decision? Instead of spending 20+ million dollars to duplicate facilities already existing how about rebating some of that money to tax payers? I vote no. How about we reduce the size of government for a change.”

What do you think about the proposal? Share your thoughts with your neighbors in the comment section below.

A better northbrook April 19, 2014 at 03:08 PM
If a for profit company like five seasons can not make it work finacially with the high prices they charge for their membership, how could the park district have any more of a competative edge at making it work for them??? My guess would be with more tax payer subsidies. I am a member of five seasons and have always enjoyed their facility and am saddened to hear that they will be closing down, but what I am not a fan of is what is looming for my future if the park district buys them. For one I will have a higher tax bill that is no longer my option to pay. For second, if I do decide to become a member through the park district I will now have to pay what I would expect to be the same high rate for my familiy (over $100.00 a month) to belong their. For third would I now also have to pay for an annual pool pass that I never had to purchase before due to my membership??? So I am looking at paying more than I currently due (higher taxes, membership fees & pool pass), just to appease some of the loud obnoxious people that feel we HAVE to have a center of our own. The wants of some should not be burdened by the rest of us. I have looked at the park district survey results they have, and it does not show an overwelming amount of residents wanting to have a center that they would actually sign up and use. VOTE NO
S.F. April 21, 2014 at 08:27 AM
The track at the Five Seasons is very small, nothing like the one at the Glen Center. The tennis courts at GBN and they are rarely busy, in addition to the courts at Wood Oaks. I am not sure why we need another 8 indoor and 8 outdoor courts. In addition to the price to purchase the five seasons, there is the ground lease to Techny Fathers for the land which goes on forever. Very little is mentioned about this expense. If this was a great economic deal, it would be purchased by another tennis club operator. Why is the village bailing out private businesses when there is still land at Anetsburger which is already owned and has yet to be developed. Also this property becomes tax exempt, instead of paying taxes. Really no reason to look at past financials of the existing club. If they were profitable, they would not be trying to sell it and they would do a better job keeping the property repaired. It is unlikely the village will be able to charge what the current owners were charging. Finally, I have gone to the Northbrook pools for years and I would say they do an average job keeping them staffed. Can they really oversee a third pool? There is a lot think about here before casting a vote.
Catherine Caporusso April 21, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Many great points. I would really like to hear more about how this purchase would compare to new construction of a park center.
Ralph J April 21, 2014 at 10:53 AM
I find it interesting that only one person is "intellectually curious" about how this acquisition would compare to the construction of a new club when all of the other comments speak to the financial disaster associated with low demand for the existing club. Here's another question for you, "Where is the research that supports the NEED for such a facility?" Just because there is something available for purchase does not make for need. This is a bad deal for the Village -- acquiring a "too small" and non-financially viable club that will increase our taxes, not pay taxes itself and sits on land owned by others. Wow -- sign me up
BJ May 01, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Ahhhh shaddap. Buy that dump!

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