Salem Lakes considers pausing recreation center feasibility study

Pausing a feasibility study of building a municipal recreation center in Salem Lakes is being considered by the Village Board.

The board heard a presentation from its consultants who are conducting a feasibility of the project at a committee of the whole meeting Monday at Village Hall.

Consultant Jeff King of Ballard King & Associates presented some demographic and other information on Monday.

The presentation was to “test the appetite the trustees have with moving forward with the study or to stop at this point,” King said.

The population of the market area examined is older than the national average and should have some discretionary income.

But a $40 million plus price tag for the type of facility — including a pool and ice rinks — that has been discussed by village officials and consultants would constitute a “heavy lift” in current economic circumstances the consultants said. Even after the initial capital expenditure of building the facility it likely would not be able to support itself.

“There’s a strong possibility this facility will require some sort of village support to operate on a solvent basis,” King said.

Village administrator Michael Murdock said the consultants have agreed to suspend the study if that is the wish of the board with only payment for work done so far due. The board approved in July 2021 spending $47,500 on the study.

Murdock endorsed not continuing.

“We don’t believe its feasible at this point,” Murdock said referring to conversations he has had with the consultants. “I do appreciate their honesty.”

Monday’s meeting was a committee of the whole in which no action is taken. Board members were not definitive in giving their opinions. Some seemed to be leaning toward halting the study. No one expressed support for continuing.

Trustee Dan Campion said he was very interested in developing a rec center initially, but always with the idea it would support itself.

“Maybe my eyes were much bigger than I thought,” Campion said.

Trustee Dennis Faber said “It’s still a long shot. It’s going to be costly.”

Continuing the study is on next Monday’s regular board meeting agenda for discussion and possible action.

The village has been considering the idea of a recreation center for a while. In 2018, a committee was formed and screened three consultants for a study. 

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Salem Lakes studying feasibility of recreation center

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