Like many suburbs established in the postwar boom, Rolling Meadows faces deteriorating public buildings.
But while the city council has committed to deciding in April the fate of its downtown fire station, the old public works building at 3200 Central Road will continue to languish.
The council Tuesday did not agree to set a deadline for a long-term decision on the building, despite a architectural report stating it is in "fair to poor condition," with a roof nearing the end of its useful life and a brick exterior in "terrible" condition. The facility has been used by the city mainly for storage of seasonal equipment, vehicles, files and police evidence since the new public works building opened in 1998 at 3900 Berdnick St. A portion also is rented out to the Rolling Meadows Park District and Northwest Special Recreation Association.
Barring other direction from the council, city staff will prepare to repair and maintain the building for the foreseeable future. Public Works Director Fred Vogt also will determine the cost of keeping the building functional and safe for up to five years, along with gathering information on the cost of checking for hazardous materials on the site and options for building there since part of the lot is in a flood zone.
First Ward Alderman Mike Cannon has led the charge to replace the building.
"I am personally frustrated that some people on the council have not gone over to see that building," he said. "It is falling apart. Investing in it would be a waste. We would be putting good money after bad."
According to a report presented to the city by FGM Architects, renovating the building would cost approximately between $2.4 and $2.7 million. Constructing a new masonry building would cost between $6.8 and $7.4 million, while a new prefabricated building would set the city back $3.4 to $3.7 million.
Those costs had at least one alderman leaning against any immediate action on a new facility.
"Where will we come up with the millions of dollars to build a new building?" asked 6th Ward Alderman John D'Astice, who suggested maintaining the existing facility while saving up for as much as 15 years for a new structure.