BATAVIA – The proposed Batavia Activity and Recreation Center would operate as a $2 million per year enterprise.
With 5% of revenue being placed into a maintenance fund, the Batavia Park District would recover about 93% of its operating costs, according to its business plan for the activity center.
The balance essentially would be absorbed into the district’s existing budget, park officials said, noting that several of the facility’s personnel positions would be filled by existing park district staff members.
District officials presented the business plan during two recent public forums that found many residents skeptical, worrying that the district would need to further increase taxes in order to subsidize the recreation center’s operation.
Park District Executive Director Allison Niemela sought to assure residents that the numbers add up.
“We know we can do this without coming back to the taxpayers,” Niemela told a large crowd at one of the forums.
Voters will decide in the March 17 primary election whether to approve $27.1 million in bonds to finance construction of the proposed multiplex activity center.
The business plan is available for viewing on the park district’s website, https://bataviaparks.org.
Another public forum on the recreation center plan will take place at 7 p.m. March 3 at the park district’s headquarters in the Batavia Civic Center, 327 W. Wilson St. The forum originally had been slated for the Peg Bond Center on the Batavia Riverwalk, but will be at the Civic Center in anticipation of another large crowd.
The park district’s plan calls for a 65,100-square-foot building that would include an eight-lane swimming pool, a large turf playing field, a hard floor playing court, a running track, a wellness center and multi-purpose rooms.
Revenue would come from fees paid by residents to use the facility.
In its first year of operation, revenue is forecast at about $1.9 million, with expenses at about $2.1 million, including the contribution to the maintenance fund, according to the business plan.
The facility is to be located on an 8.47-acre piece of land near the southern city boundary just east of Route 25 and immediately north of the Illinois Prairie Path bicycle trail.
The site is surrounded by Oswalt Avenue on the north, Belleview Lane on the south and Beach Street on the east.
The Batavia Park Board has contracts to buy the property, which is two parcels, for a total of nearly $1.3 million.
The land acquisition cost is included in the $27.1 million referendum figure, which would be financed with the issue of general obligation bonds.
If the referendum is approved, the owner of a home valued at $300,000 would pay an additional $178 per year in property taxes over the 20 years that the bonds are paid off.
In addition to the building, the land will accommodate a parking lot of roughly 220 vehicle spaces, a stormwater detention area, access roadways and landscaping.
If approved by voters, construction of the multiplex could get underway as early as the spring of 2021.
The aquatic center would feature the eight-lane, 25-yard pool with spectator viewing stands and rooms for first aid, lifeguard, pool manager and storage, all covering 14,800 square feet.
The turf field would measure 40 yards long and 30 yards wide, accommodating baseball, softball, batting cages, lacrosse and other sports.
The hard floor gymnasium would host basketball, volleyball, badminton and other games.
Together, the turf field and hard court would cover 25,600 square feet. On the recreation center’s upper level, a running track would circle the perimeter of the two playing areas. Runners would cover a mile with nine laps around the track.
Also on the upper level would be a wellness and fitness workout area with views into the aquatics center and the turf field.
The locker rooms would be at the center of the facility on the ground level. The main entrance to the building would lead directly to a social lounge and café, multi-purpose rooms, administration offices and the locker rooms.