Libertyville’s Bolander Park Sold

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Kyle Laska

Libertyville’s popular park was sold in November for $2.05 million

Kyle Laska, News Editor

   Libertyville’s Bolander Park, a 5.3 acre area, has created controversy after being sold to Swanson Development Group of Lake Forest for $2.05 million this past November.

   The park itself will be turned into a townhouse-style neighborhood. The land has been on the market for a while, as its buildings have been underutilized and in giant need of construction. A necessary improvement is a roof repair that could total up to $100,000, according to Village Administrator Kevin Bowens.

The big question that has teens and citizens banding together is important: What about the hockey rink?

    The hockey rink, for years, has been an attraction for all ages looking to practice skating and hockey. The rink is complete with two nets, overhead lights for nighttime play, a Zamboni entrance for cleaning the ice, and a set of bleachers.

   While the rink is popular for skating in the winter, it is also extremely popular in the summer. In the summer, it becomes a rink for roller skating and attracts just as many citizens to come out and play. However, the rink is also in bad condition, and could be in use for repairs. A complete side of the rink no longer has boards, but rather flexible fencing. The problem is that the Village of Libertyville doesn’t have money in place just for the hockey rink. The hockey rink was originally paid for through grants. The cost of the new rink, which would be a replacement for the current rink, Bowens says, is around $200,000.

The village has retained ownership of the lights and boards, but whether they can keep the rink is in question. The dance classes and employees can be moved to the Libertyville Sports Complex. The dance classes refer to the Libertyville Dance Ensemble, which offers dances courses in hip-hop, jazz, ballet, tap, and many others. Since very few of the workers actually worked at the Bolander offices, the transition should be easy. However, while the rink will remain through the winter, its future location or existence has students and supporters in arms.

Junior Bryan Constable, assistant captain for the IceCats hockey team, is an avid traveler to the rink. When asked what he would do without it, Constable was unsure.

“Well, there’s always other places to go. There’s West Park in Lake Forest which is really nice. There’s always ponds that you can skate on, but the ice isn’t usually nice on the ponds. Bolander is just so easy to go to. Plus there’s always a lot of people so you can usually play games at night,” explained Constable.

The ice rink still has the potential to be moved. There have been meetings in which supporters have gone to voice their opinion in an attempt to save the rink. These meetings, usually led by Mayor Terry Weppler, allow for the village to explain their side, as well as for citizens to voice their opinion.  One of these supporters is junior Daniel Morabito. Morabito has gone to the board meetings, and has even attempted to organize groups to attend. Morabito has played hockey all his life, and after a year off, he intends on rejoining the IceCats next year.

“I’ve been going to the Bolander meetings because I really want to have a rink to skate on. Especially now, I want a place to just go and skate since I’m not playing for the IceCats this year. Even in the summer one of my favorite things to do is play hockey with roller blades at Bolander. I hope that we can save it because I go there a lot,” admitted Morabito.

    There is no doubt that there is support for the rink, but with high costs, it will be up to the village to decide if the move is worth it.