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After being closed since March of last year, the Libertyville Sports Complex has reopened its doors.
The July 1 opening signaled not just a return from the novel coronavirus pandemic, but also the start of a potentially new direction for the facility. The sports complex is now being operated by Canlan Ice Sports, a company out of Canada that owns and operates various sports facilities, including three others in Illinois.
General Manager Tammy Kerr said the facility is fairly large compared to other ones in the area. Kerr said with the current amenities, the complex in Libertyville can offer coaching in several sports, including basketball, soccer, lacrosse and football. She also said a lot of community members have said they are excited for pickleball to return.
A rock climbing wall and the fitness center that is opening next month are also offered, Kerr said. She added the facility will host summer camps and after-school programs as well. Some adult sports leagues also start this week, she said.
“Libertyville Sports Complex … was ran pretty well,” Kerr said. “I do know that it was very busy and we expect it’s gonna be the same for us.”
Some of the changes residents can expect include a more professional approach to coaching and teaching. Kerr described the skill level being taught as a little more robust than what can typically be expected at some recreational facilities.
Canlan is currently leasing the building, but it has the option to buy it at any point for $3.75 million, according to village documents. Until then, the company will pay $20,000 a month beginning in December. Before the lease agreement, the village put about $1.6 million into the complex annually. But the lease, along with the refinancing of the complex, will reduce that by about $400,000, said village Financial Director Nicholas Mostardo.
The novel coronavirus pandemic led the village to shut down the facility in March 2020 due to capacity restrictions. Mostardo said the financial margins for operating the facility were already thin, and running at a reduced capacity was not financially feasible.
Mostardo said Canlan representatives had cold-called Libertyville officials about the complex. After discussions, the Village Board and Canlan entered into a lease agreement at the end of April, and began a 60-day transition period.
Canlan’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Gellard said while he expects the company to purchase the facility at some point, it’s still too early to commit to it.
Mostardo said the village was sold on Canlan’s professional and financial strength, as well as the company having demonstrated the ability to run other complexes in the area. In addition to sports facilities in Lake Barrington and Libertyville, Canlan also currently operates ice rinks in Romeoville and West Dundee, Kerr said.
“Their professionalism and their attention to detail during the process was top-notch,” Mostardo said. “I think that both parties would agree that the partnership is starting off on a very good foot.”
Gellard said Canlan and the village “got along real well.”
“I’ve done a lot of these deals and those guys were just a pleasure to work with,” Gellard said. “This is a great building.”