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July 10th, 2013

Village signs St. Agnes field lease

A
rtificial turf could be coming to the St. Agnes Academy field that is home to Village youth sports programs as part of a shared-use agreement with the school and church.
Village Manager John Gilbert told the Village Council Tuesday, May 27, that during his talks with St. Agnes staff regarding an extension to the city’s lease, which is set to expire September 30, the two groups discussed the possibility of artificial turf.
In a memo to the Council, the Manager recommended going forward with a lease extension negotiated with St. Agnes, and then discussing turf at a later date. “The Village will explore the feasibility of capital improvements with the representatives in the future,” he suggested.
The idea had widespread support on the Council, and Parks and Recreation Director Todd Hofferberth said after the church transitions to new leadership – longtime pastor Monsignor Jose Hernando recently retired – he’ll look to begin discussions.
“We did a lot of research and a lot of work. We’ll bring it back at another time,” Hofferberth said. “In my estimation, it’s an optimal location for artificial turf, so it’s something we’re eager to negotiate with them when the opportunity arises.”
Local leaders were also enthused.
Council member Jim Taintor noted, “I’m a proponent for artificial turf. We just can’t keep up with the traffic we have on those fields;” and Council member Michael Kelly said while he does not support turf on the Village Green, he would support the idea at St. Agnes.
While the artificial turf conversation will wait, local leaders said they were ready to go ahead with the new lease with St. Agnes despite some concerns about rising costs.
The Village will pay $45,000 this year, with 3 percent increases each year through 2019.
Kelly said he feels it would be fairer to tie increases to the Consumer Price Index, but noted, “We’re in a very poor bargaining position. It’s not like we can take our business elsewhere – but I don’t think it’s the worst deal in the world.”
Vice Mayor Michael Davey added as a policy, he doesn’t like setting incremental increases, but agreed, “I appreciate the relationship we have with St. Agnes. They’ve been tremendously welcoming in allowing our sports to be there.”
Hofferberth said with future negotiations for lease deals, he’ll look to the CPI as a benchmark.
Ultimately, local leaders were unanimous in approving the agreement, and Mayor Frank Caplan said he’s grateful for the church’s partnership.
“There’s a principle that we need this, it’s a benefit for our Village. I think it’s consistent with St. Agnes being a good neighbor,” Caplan said. “It’s a good deal. We need it. We appreciate it.
“It’s a good relationship, and we want it to continue.”
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