Having pushed back a December financing deadline so that talks can continue, village officials are hoping they can soon put pen to paper on a long-debated contract with the West Cook YMCA.
A Nov. 24 council meeting went late into the night as commissioners attempted to resolve the nitty-gritty in a land-use agreement for the proposed YMCA on Madison. Alas, a vote was tabled and the paperwork was kicked back to the non-profit’s board of directors, which was scheduled to convene early the following morning.
Deal: Village and YMCA officials are negotiating a crucial contract that would help open the doors for a new facility in Forest Park. YMCA
However, commissioners woke to the news that the YMCA board did not take action on the contract, instead deciding that more discussion is needed. The Y’s board is scheduled to meet again Dec. 5.
“I would have been elated if they had called me up and said, ‘we’re done,'” Mayor Anthony Calderone said of the YMCA’s 7 a.m. meeting. “But one more meeting with their group, I think should be enough to wrap this up.”
The development and use agreement, as the contract is called, would guarantee discounts on YMCA memberships for village residents, the development of an evening basketball program and the use of the athletic fields for organized sports programs at no cost. Those contingencies, and others, were detailed in a copy of the contract presented to the council for approval. However, commissioners recessed into a non-public meeting to discuss those details. When they emerged from behind closed doors to table their decision, it was not clear whether the contract might be altered. The council is scheduled to meet Dec. 15 and Calderone said he expects to take a vote.
An agreement to sell more than 7 acres of village-owned land to the YMCA was reached in November 2007. Whether the property is actually transferred is contingent in part upon the two sides agreeing to how the site will be used.
Commissioners Mark Hosty and Marty Tellalian said they could not discuss any details of what was said in that private meeting. YMCA President Scott Gaalaas and Jim Lencioni, chairman of the board of directors, joined the council for about an hour. Hosty and Tellalian confirmed that discounted memberships for Forest Park residents were among the topics discussed.
“I think we’re getting very close,” Hosty said. “I think we’ve got a compromise.”
As for the YMCA’s meeting the following morning, Gaalaas would not comment on specific points made the following morning by his board members. Generally, he said, the meeting was “positive.”
“There was some heated discussion and no decision was made,” Gaalaas said.
According to Lencioni, the YMCA board is really seeing for the first time what exactly Forest Park expects the organization to provide. Many of the details outlined in the contract proposal discussed during the morning meeting were new, he said.
“There were some previous versions, but a lot of this stuff was just brought up last night,” Lencioni said after the YMCA board tabled the contract.
Calderone agreed with Lencioni’s analysis, and said it’s understandable that the non-profit board needs more time to review the proposed contract. The mayor said he has offered to make a presentation to the YMCA during its Dec. 5 meeting.
The development and use agreement would be a 20-year contract between the YMCA and the village. According to the mayor, it would be subject to amendments every five years, so long as the parties can agree to the changes.