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Village trustees approve land use agreement that could pave the way for new golf clubhouse

Friday, May 19, 2017
Chicago Tribune
by Daniel Dorfman

Glencoe's Village Board has approved a first-ever amendment to the land use agreement with the Forest Preserves of Cook County over the use of the village-owned Glencoe Golf Club, a move that could lead to the replacement of the golf club's nearly century-old clubhouse, village officials say. Meeting on May 18 as the Golf Club Board of Directors and then at the regular Village Board, village trustees in both sessions unanimously approved amending the land use agreement the village has had with the Forest Preserve District since 1923. The northern 66 acres of the 126-acre Golf Club belong to the Forest Preserve District. That area includes the clubhouse, driving range and the first nine holes of the course, according to Golf Club general manager Stella Nanos. She said the village owns the southern 60 acres, which house the back nine holes. Negotiations have been underway between the village and the Forest Preserves since 2013, according to village documents. "After negotiating for so many years, it is the best agreement that we were able to negotiate on behalf of the village," Nanos said at the Golf Club Board of Directors meeting. The amendment still must be approved by the Forest Preserves board before it goes into effect. Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin – also a member of the Forest Preserve board, which is composed of Cook County commissioners - said the Forest Preserve board has scheduled a June 6 vote on the issue, and he did not anticipate any opposition If approved by both sides, the land use agreement would remove a major hurdle for the creation of a new clubhouse, where the original building was constructed in 1923, according to Nanos. According to village documents, a clubhouse task force began meeting in March 2011 and eventually concluded that a new clubhouse built on the same location would be appropriate, but an updated land use agreement first had to be in place. The amended land use agreement includes Glencoe making an initial $50,000 payment within the first 30 days of it going into effect, on top of a one-time payment of $31,250 from Glencoe to the Forest Preserve District due by September 1, 2017, according to village documents. Starting in September 2018, the village would be required to make an annual payment of $62,500, or 3.6 percent of gross revenues at the club, whichever is larger, the documents state. "It will come out of the money we have used to reinvest in the golf club," Nanos said. "It will be felt, but we have determined we can make the annual payment." Nanos said the golf club spent approximately $250,000 last year for reinvestment. The initial term of the amended agreement is 20 years but could be extended to as many as 32 years, Nanos said, depending on if the Golf Club secures financing for improvements at the course within the first seven and a half years of the agreement. Nanos said the original agreement required a payment from the Golf Club to the Forest Preserve only if there was a profit, but the agreement allowed for funds to be reinvested back into the club for upkeep, maintenance and improvement expenses. Nanos added there was a reference to an annual payment in the original agreement, but the language was unclear as to how much it should be. She said the new language would in effect codify the language of the agreement. Suffredin said the long negotiations were due to making specification in the language. "What held this all up is the Forest Preserves wanted to have a better accounting of the past and a guarantee of payments in the future," he said. Glencoe Village Board Trustee Dale Thomas, who is the chairman of the village's Golf Advisory Committee, said planning may now begin for the future of the clubhouse, with one of the first steps being getting community input on what residents want in a new clubhouse. Thomas, who said he served on clubhouse task force, noted a recommendation that emerged from that group was any clubhouse should be built to hold medium-sized events, but not for large gatherings such as weddings or Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. "We don't want a Taj Mahal," he said. "We want one that will meet the interests of golfers on one hand, but also one that will meet the interests of the community."

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