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updated: 4/27/2011 3:57 PM

LITH food pantry hoping to move

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Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry officials are excited about a plan to move into a bigger building on land with fruit trees and possibly vegetable gardens.

The Lake in the Hills village board is expected to approve Thursday night the plan to relocate the pantry from 600 E. Oak St. to 1111 Pyott Road, both in Lake in the Hills.

"Once we officially get the village's approval, then it's high gear to move forward," said pantry President Richard Hoferle. "Optimistically, we're looking to (move) this year."

The pantry would be housed in a metal barn on land the village bought from Gordon and Joan Larsen with a life estate agreement in 2002, said Village Administrator Gerald Sagona. That's an agreement where you purchase land but you allow the original owner to live on it or use it until their death.

Altogether, the village bought 27 acres from the Larsens, who occupied four acres that included a house and two barns until Joan Larsen's death last fall. The rest of the land is being rented out to the Somerset Sporthorse equestrian center, Sagona said.

To accommodate the pantry, the metal barn would have to be built out with insulation, heating, air-conditioning and a bathroom, Hoferle said. Nearby, there is an orchard with about a dozen fruit trees, and space for vegetable gardens, he said. In the future, the pantry might also have a resale shop, he said.

"It's really a much more positive setting," he said. "It's an exciting opportunity that we couldn't pass up."

The pantry is currently housed in a public works building that also stores equipment, and the arrangement would continue at the new location, Hoferle said.

Pantry officials had been working on a $277,000 plan to renovate the current building and collected about $25,000 so far, Hoferle said. The village will contribute nearly $45,000.

The pantry will continue its fundraising campaign with the new goal of relocating, but it's not clear yet how much the move will cost, he said. Several stores and tradesmen have committed to donating materials and labor, and architect Jim Steigert, an Algonquin trustee, is working pro bono on the project, he said.

After the pantry moves out, the village is considering razing the old building at 600 E. Oak St., Sagona said. The village has not yet decided what to do with the house and second barn on the Larsen property, he added.

Pantry building program donations can be mailed to Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry, c/o Algonquin Bank and Trust, 4049 Algonquin Road, Algonquin 60102.

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