The village of Homer Glen recently purchased the Woodbine Golf Course from which it will create a 100-acre community park. | Susan DeMar Lafferty/Sun Times Media
Updated: May 26, 2014 6:19AM
Athletic organizations from the Homer Glen area this week applauded the village’s purchase of Woodbine Golf Course and urged the village board to turn the property into an athletic complex.
Representatives from the Homer Soccer Club;, the Homer Stallions football, cheerleading and lacrosse programs; and the Homer Athletic Club said the land presents a great opportunity to expand their sports fields. They said that too often, there isn’t adequate practice space, and some teams must go out of town to practice.
Homer Glen in December bought the 103-acre Woodbine property, including the clubhouse and banquet hall, for $3.3 million from WGC Real Estate, owned by Jim and Pat Ludwig and their two sons, Brad and Brent. The village plans to remodel the building into a village hall and create more park space. The village board plans to soon interview three architectural firms for the renovation project.
A special meeting was held Tuesday night to get input from residents on how the Woodbine land should be used.
“When you consider the Woodbine development, consider our youth,” Brian Krockey, president of the Homer Stallions, told village trustees.
Ken Marcin, a board member of the Homer Athletic Club said the Woodbine purchase would allow the village to greatly expand its sports field.
Mayor Jim Daley agreed, saying there’s “no reason in the world why our kids should be squatting on every open space” in the Homer Glen and Lockport area. He said the village can create temporary sports fields until a master plan for use of the land is completed.
While the golf course is open this year, Daley said he doesn’t favor extending the lease to offer another golf season in 2015. Woodbine Golf Course, operated by Jim and Pat Ludwig and others, leases the golf course from WGC. The course had two years remaining on its lease, through the 2015 season, when the village acquired it.
Trustee George Yukich said he would like to consider keeping the course open in 2015, while the banquet hall is transformed into the village hall.
Brent Ludwig said the course’s owners are “willing to stay open another year, if the village is not ready.” As trustees came in to see the site, some said it would take time to develop it, he said.
“Some board members gave the impression that we were asking (to stay open during 2015). We only brought it up because other board members said the village wasn’t ready,” Ludwig said. “Woodbine is not pushing Homer Glen to continue running the property as a golf course. ... We are merely trying to be good tenants and help out the village in what is going to be a very big undertaking.”
Yukich said he wants the village board to slow down, meet with homeowners near Woodbine, figure out the needs of the sports organizations and come up with a financial plan to pay for it all. Residents near the golf course have asked how the redeveloped property would affect their homes and way of life.
“I do want sports fields,” Yukich said, but “you don’t buy something today and jump on it tomorrow.”
Other residents suggested Tuesday night that the village board consider an indoor swimming pool, a senior citizens center, a youth center or a community space to host small parties. Trustee Margaret Sabo said she would like to look into using part of the land as a village green where concerts, movies and arts and craft shows could be held.
“We are all being very, very thoughtful about this,” Sabo told the audience. “Your children are very important.”
Susan DeMar Lafferty