First reported 4/29/2009 4:16 p.m.
A dilapidated building bought two years ago by the village will likely be torn down this summer, ending any hope that the site would be rehabbed to serve one of the municipality’s departments. Instead, during a nonbinding discussion of what to do with the property at 1000 Beloit, council members said they favored turning the site into a small park.
“I think opening up that building would be an attractive option for the area,” Commissioner Rory Hoskins said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of support for maintaining that building.”
Demolition of the crumbling apartments would coincide with the nearby reconstruction of Harvard, which runs along the north side of the corner parcel. The decision of whether to keep the building was driven by economics, and council members said it simply would be too expensive to rehab the property.
The municipality bought the building in 2007 for $330,000 for the stated purpose of installing a police substation there. However, village officials later softened their stance on how the building might be used. But as time rolled by and no improvements were made, the deteriorating condition of the building became more of a liability than an asset. In September and October, portions of the sidewalk near the property were closed because bricks falling from the façade posed a danger to pedestrians.
“The building needs a ton of work,” Commissioner Mark Hosty said. “It is in horrible condition.”
Commissioners recently discussed two options for the site. The land could be used strictly as a parking lot to ease street congestion in the neighborhood, or as a combination green space and parking lot.
If the site were paved over for parking, village engineers estimated a half-dozen spaces could be installed. However, because of curb cuts and other changes to the adjacent streets that would be needed for a parking lot, the net effect is minimal.
Installing a small recreation area would still afford enough space for about three parking spaces, according to council members.
Mayor Anthony Calderone did not say during the discussion whether he preferred to leave the building standing. Afterward, Calderone said the park is a “good compromise” to the ultimately unaffordable option of rehabbing the structure.
Police Chief Jim Ryan said the possibility of using the property as a police substation was never raised during budget discussions subsequent to the village taking ownership. He said he has never been inside the building, but understands from council members that it would be cost prohibitive to rehab the structure for any purpose.