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Article updated: 10/30/2013 9:14 AM

Larkin Center gets $20,000 emergency grant from Kane County

The Larkin Center in Elgin closed Oct. 18, and the Kane County Board gave the organization a $20,000 grant Tuesday so the center can make its payroll.

The Larkin Center in Elgin closed Oct. 18, and the Kane County Board gave the organization a $20,000 grant Tuesday so the center can make its payroll.

 

Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

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The Kane County Board Tuesday authorized an emergency $20,000 grant to the Larkin Center, money that will help the center, which closed Oct. 18, make the last two weeks of its payroll.

The measure passed 14-0 with county board member Deb Allan voting "present." She said the measure should have first gone through the county's Grand Victoria Riverboat grant committee, then the executive committee before making its way to the full board. Tuesday's action skipped those steps.

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"If we don't follow our own procedures, then what do we do when anomalies come up? Because everybody's got an anomaly," Allan said.

The Larkin Center still has other expenses that officials analyze daily, said Bob Schreiber, who serves on the organization's board of directors. Schreiber did not have a dollar amount available Tuesday and authorities have not yet decided how those bills will get paid, he said.

The grant came from the county's Grand Victoria Riverboat Fund, money that's supposed to be used for projects that improve the county's education, environment and economic development.

The fund is used for county expenses, and also provides grants once a year to external agencies including cities, park districts and nonprofit groups.

"This is something that we clearly can accommodate," said county board member John Hoscheit, a member of the riverboat grant committee. "This is the type of organization, I think, that meets the spirit of what riverboat funding would be appropriate for and I think to make an exception in this circumstance would not be unreasonable."

County board member Kurt Kojzarek said he brought the issue to the board last week after talking with June Wooten, the Larkin Center's board president.

"I was heartbroken," Kojzarek said. "So whatever we could do in a small way to help out, we wanted to be there for them."

There are eight employees remaining at the Larkin Center working on transition plans, Schreiber said. Fourteen people worked there last week, he said.

Lawrence Hall Youth Services of Chicago has taken over Larkin Center's residential programs for youth, and its therapeutic day school. Ecker Center for Mental Health has taken on two adult residential programs as well as the community counseling program. Larkin Center served more than 300 clients and families, Schreiber said. The center, an Elgin institution for 117 years, closed nearly two weeks ago, citing financial problems.

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