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Local

Batavia Park District reveals site for recreation center

Board OKs land contract; voters to decide in March

This artist's drawing shows the design for the proposed Batavia Multiplex Activity Center. The Batavia Park District has revealed the location for the facility on an 8.47-acre site near the southern border of the city just east of Route 25. Voters will decide whether the recreation center is to be built in a $27.1 million bond referendum on March 17.
This artist's drawing shows the design for the proposed Batavia Multiplex Activity Center. The Batavia Park District has revealed the location for the facility on an 8.47-acre site near the southern border of the city just east of Route 25. Voters will decide whether the recreation center is to be built in a $27.1 million bond referendum on March 17.

BATAVIA – The Batavia Park District has revealed the site for its proposed multiplex activity center.

The indoor recreation 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 property is accessible from Route 25 on the west and Hart Road on the east using the two legs of Bond Drive.

The proposed recreation center site is surrounded by Oswalt Avenue on the north, Belleview Lane on the south and Beach Street on the east, creating a large trapezoid shape.

The Batavia Park Board on Tuesday approved a contract for the purchase of the land, contingent on voters passing a $27.1 million bond referendum in the March 17 election.

The land actually consists of two adjacent pieces of property.

The western parcel covers two acres, for which the park district would pay $372,198. The eastern portion consists of 6.47 acres, to be acquired at a cost of $921,401, under the contract.

The land acquisition cost is included in the $27.1 million referendum figure, which would be financed with the issue of general obligation bonds.

Park district officials declined to name the property sellers.

The park board’s action creates a clearer picture for voters when they go to the polls to determine whether the district may proceed with its plans.

The 65,100-square-foot indoor activity center 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.

With a proposed name of Batavia Multiplex Activity Center, the facility would provide park district residents with the indoor recreational opportunities they identified in a series of surveys and forums.

“The referendum is about what the community has asked us to do for them,” park board President Patrick Callahan said.

In addition to the building, the land will accommodate a parking lot of roughly 220 parking spaces, a storm water detention area, access roadways and landscaping.

The site is big enough to allow for future expansion of the building, said park district Capital Projects Director Jim Eby.

Currently zoned for light industrial use, the land is undeveloped and wide open.

The park district will seek rezoning to a public facility classification, Eby said.

The property is part of the Fox Valley Business Park, with light industrial buildings to the north and single-family homes to the east.

Running east-west just south of Belleview Lane is the bicycle trail.

“We fell in love with the connectivity this will provide for users of the recreation center,” park district Executive Director Allison Niemela said.

If approved by voters, construction of the multiplex could get underway as early as the spring of 2021, Callahan said.

The aquatic center would feature an eight-lane, 25-yard-long pool, ranging from 3 feet, 6 inches deep to 12 feet deep, 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.

If the referendum is approved, the owner of a home valued at $300,000 would pay an additional $178 per year in property taxes.

The park district will host a series of forums to provide residents with information about the referendum and the recreation center plan.

The first will start at 7 p.m. on Feb. 5 at the Batavia Civic Center, 327 W. Wilson St.

The second will get underway at 10 a.m. on Feb. 8 in Shannon Hall at the Eastside Community Center at the northeast corner of East Wilson and North Van Buren streets.

The final forum will be held at 7 p.m. on March 3 in the Peg Bond Center on the Batavia Riverwalk.

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