The Buffalo Grove Park District’s plans to turn the Congregation Beth Am facility into a performing arts center got the green light Monday when village officials signed off on an amendment that will allow the facility to operate.
The Village Board’s unanimous approval followed an 8-0 recommendation from the Plan Commission earlier this month. Parking was the only concerned raised by both boards. The Beth Am property includes 131 parking spaces, and it’s anticipated that the park district’s theater could require 200 parking spaces during performances.
Parking needs will be evaluated a year after the performing arts center opens to determine whether additional spaces are needed, officials decided. Dan Schimmel, the park district’s executive director, said the grassy area north of the building could also accommodate extra vehicles. Other options might include seeking permission to send overflow traffic to the Town Center lot across from the building, or using a shuttle to transport people to the facility from the lot at Mike Rylko Community Park, Schimmel said.
Beth Am will occupy the facility through June. The park district plans to begin renovations July 1, Schimmel said, and will open the performing arts center in 2014.
The building will feature a stage in a theater that will offer up to 500 seats. The dance classes now held at Emmerich Park will move to the new center, as will the ballroom dance and Zumba programs currently housed at the Alcott Center, Schimmel said. Classrooms in the renovated building might be used for cooking for ceramics classes or a fine arts studio, he said.
“We’re all very excited. It’s going to be a great addition to the community. We’re looking forward to it,” Park Board Commissioner Rick Drazner said after village officials backed the project.
As the Village Board went into a committee of the whole meeting, Schimmel, Drasner and other park district commissioners headed to the Alcott Center, where they were expected to approve the purchase of the Beth Am property. The park district will pay $3.7 million for the building and surrounding land, Schimmel said.
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