Pool enlargement key a part of deliberate $3.5 challenge at Lakeview Health Heart in Vernon Hills

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The Vernon Hills Park District has given the go-ahead for a major renovation and expansion of its Lakeview Fitness Center.

Village officials recently informally approved construction, landscaping and architectural plans for a $ 3.5 million project on 700 Lakeview Parkway in Continental Executive Park.

It will be the second overhaul of the park district of the former Central Lake YMCA, which should be closed due to ongoing money problems. With an interest-free loan from the village, the district acquired the property and the 30,000 square meter building and opened on January 1, 2013.

The planned expansion / renovation includes a 3,300 square meter extension on the southeast corner of the building for personnel offices and an expanded fitness area with a covered outdoor fitness area.

“Since the introduction of COVID, we have been running classes outdoors under a tent in the back parking lot,” said Jeff Fougerousse, Executive Director. “They are very popular.”

The project is scheduled to start in March and last until October 2022. It is funded with a government grant of 2.24 million.

The indoor fitness area will double as part of the plan, but gutting and expanding the swimming pool is the largest part of the extensive interior upgrade.

The pool has four, 2.7 meter wide lanes and a zero depth area with a large play structure and a slide. Two lap lanes are added for a total of six. All lanes will be eight feet wide, so two people can use a single lane at the same time, added Fougerousse.

The slide, which sits on a 20 x 20 foot deck, is removed. Small game functions are included in a new area with zero depth. The associated work includes a new pool deck surface and an improved spa, whirlpool and sauna.

Fougerousse said the pool would be closed for about five months from May, but stressed that the other facilities will remain open during construction. Plans, which were informally approved by the village council, also provide for the extension of the parking lot by 22 spaces for a total of 133. Part of a berm will be removed and the landscaping will be adjusted to provide a better view of the cultivation from the busy Lakeview Parkway.

The connection contract for the property in the industrial area requires the approval of the site, landscape and architectural plan by the municipal council, but no public hearing before the advisory planning and development commission. An ordinance making the approval official is being prepared for future board actions.

“We believe the project will be a great improvement for the facility,” said Mike Atkinson, community development director.

The park district applied for a grant to build park and recreational facilities in January 2019. Last March, the county learned that it was the only Lake County or one of collar counties entity to receive funding.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which manages the grants, said it received 91 applications totaling $ 141.5 million for $ 25 million.

Fougerousse said Lakeview Fitness Center membership is below the typical 2,000 mark as there is still pandemic reluctance, but memberships are slowly increasing.