As planning continues for a 65,000-square foot recreation facility in Forest Park, the non-profit West Cook YMCA is moving toward collecting a bundle of cash through the sale of its Oak Park properties, according to a statement released by the Y. The announcement comes as the YMCA moves into its second month of a massive fundraising effort expected to help pay for the new $17 million facility.
Meanwhile, YMCA President Scott Gaalaas said his office continues to move forward with preliminary site work so that construction can begin here in the village as soon as possible. The YMCA board of directors is awaiting the results of soil tests and has lined up an engineer to conduct traffic studies in the area.
“It’s all part of our due diligence,” Gaalaas said.
Still pending though, are a handful of agreements between the YMCA and Forest Park that are crucial to the proposed development. Meetings between village officials and the YMCA are ongoing, said Village Administrator Mike Sturino, as both sides attempt to meet contractual deadlines. Land surveys, zoning approvals, environmental reviews and a land-use agreement are all yet to be completed. Sturino said he is “encouraged” by the discussions, but there are a number of details to work out.
“Talks are progressing, but I don’t have a crystal ball to say whether some conditions will be objectionable to either party,” Sturino said.
In the final months of 2007, the YMCA reached an agreement with the village of Forest Park to purchase 7.7 acres of land adjacent to the Altenheim facility on Madison Street. The West Cook YMCA is currently housed in an outdated 53-year-old building on South Marion Street in Oak Park and, according to the Y, and it would be cost-prohibitive to renovate the structure.
Also in Oak Park, the YMCA owns a five-unit apartment building at 301 Wisconsin Ave. and a nearby parking lot. All three of those parcels would be sold in the pending deal between the YMCA and an unnamed developer. Gaalaas said a deal could be struck in the next 30 to 60 days.
Roughly two years ago the YMCA’s Oak Park parcels were appraised at more than $5 million. A ballpark sales figure in the pending deal would give the YMCA upwards of $6 million, said Gaalaas.
“The purchase price has not been established yet, because [the developer] has to find out what kind of zoning he can get,” Gaalaas said.