The Fox Valley Park District Board approved new plans for in Montgomery on Monday. And although the revised proposal is scaled back from the original 2007 plan, it will still include 15 new ball fields and a host of other amenities.
District leaders initially planned to spend $9.5 million to build 16 new soccer fields and eight lighted baseball and softball fields for the complex, which sits in the heart of the village. But with the economy sinking over the past few years, and the district building several other ball fields around Stuart, those plans were put on hold.
Last year park district officials hired Market and Feasibility Advisors of Chicago to conduct a new study, and see what the complex could bear. The results were released in February: Stuart could support up to 14 new soccer fields and four baseball/softball fields.
Monday night park board members gave the nod to a new master plan, which scales things back even further. Eleven new soccer fields will be constructed, as well as four new baseball/softball fields, according to Jeff Long, the district’s public relations manager.
Six of those new soccer fields will be irrigated. The other five will be designated “flex” fields, to be used for a variety of purposes, according to Long. The new fields will be built along the complex’s eastern edge, away from residential homes, Long said.
The new plan also includes a 280-space parking lot at the northeast area, a 320-space lot at the southern end, a permanent restroom and concession area near the two lots, a 15-acre dog park with a 30-space parking lot, asphalt paths and native plantings.
According to Long, about $8.5 million remains for the expansion of Stuart Sports Complex. The money comes from a 2008 sale of $44.9 million in bonds to pay for improvements across the district.
Jeff Palmquist, director of planning, development and grants for the district, said the plan reflects “the district’s best ability to address this demand in an efficient and safe manner that provides high-quality athletic fields suitable for extensive in-house league play, affiliate use and potential tournaments.”
The new Stuart plan is part of the district's $52.5 million budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, also approved Monday. The budget represents a 7.8 percent cut over the last fiscal year, according to Long.
The district cut back expenses in the previous year, according to Executive Director Nancy McCaul, eliminating five full-time positions through retirement and reducing full-time employee wages by 11.1 percent. Wages for full-time and pension-eligible part-time employees have been frozen for the new budget year, McCaul said.
“It was the right thing to do because this economy has not yet recovered from the current downturn,” McCaul said.
In addition to Stuart Sports Complex, the district will renovate Blackberry Farm and Waubonsie Lake Park, build a new bike/pedestrian bridge for the Virgil Gilman Trail over Galena Boulevard in Aurora, and complete the Fox River Trail gap. Funds for all of these projects will come from the same 2008 bond sale.
The park district's portion of the tax bill will remain stable, Long said, and will amount to about 5 percent of the average homeowner's property taxes.