Oak Brook plans for polo again
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:08AM
Oak Brook’s goal of having polo again took a major step forward as village officials announced this week they are in discussions to bring players in for four matches this summer.
In October, the Village Board authorized a $15,000 expenditure to repair the 2010 flood damage at Sports Core field 1 in anticipation of polo matches returning.
“(The repairs) were made last fall,” Sports Core Director Trey VanDyke said. “We got lucky in that we’ve had a mild winter. The seed we put down is growing in quite nicely.”
VanDyke said staff has been slowly bringing down the height of the grass in anticipation of matches taking place on the field in a few months.
A polo committee was formed and met several times over the winter. The committee is ready to solicit sponsorships and identified Aug. 19 and 26 and Sept. 2 and 9 as the ideal match dates.
VanDyke met recently with several polo players who showed interest in playing in Oak Brook. They even got a look at the field to inspect the repairs.
“They agreed to the schedule we proposed,” VanDyke said. “We were able to sit down and toured the field with them. They thought it was looking good.”
The village has obtained a proposal from Ravenswood Events, the planners for the Taste of Oak Brook, for the management, set up and staffing for 2012 polo events; and a staff review is expected shortly.
VanDyke said he recently met with Kevin Kelleher, a former area resident who operates the Willow Harbor Vineyards and Polo Club in Three Oaks, Mich. VanDyke said Kelleher has expressed a desire to run polo for the village.
“It would benefit both of us,” VanDyke said. “(The players) said they were very happy to let Kelleher run polo while they took care of getting the players.”
According to a village memo, Kelleher would like to negotiate a multi-year agreement that would include polo, outdoor tented weddings, private parties, wine-tasting events and fundraising.
“We don’t have anything signed yet,” VanDyke said. “It appears in the last week a lot of things have moved in the right direction.
“We just need to get some ink on some paper so everyone knows exactly what they’re responsible for. Polo is a go right now.”