The Elgin City Council will not approve a new lease for the space occupied by the Elgin Art Showcase until the building's owner submits complete fire safety plans.
That was the decision made Wednesday night at the council's committee of the whole meeting; members voted 8-1 to preliminarily approve -- with that condition -- the $43,000 per year lease for the space on the 8th floor of the Elgin Professional Building, 164 Division St.
The lease would be retroactive to January. Since then, the city hasn't paid any rent for the Art Showcase, which provides performance space for arts, music and theater groups.
Councilman Rich Dunne cast the only dissenting vote, saying the building's fire safety concerns must be addressed first. He also pointed out the fire safety mandates go back seven or eight years ago, so the building owners have had ample time to comply.
Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy said the building owners have performed a lot of work related to fire safety, but they must install smoke detectors in all offices by a Jan. 31, 2015, deadline. The owners presented smoke detector plans last month, but they were missing the spec sheets, he said.
Councilman John Prigge said it's important for the city to continue providing a low-cost space for the arts community.
Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger said it's also about supporting the historic building, which houses numerous small businesses.
Meanwhile, members of the city's cultural arts commission have begun looking for alternate spaces for the Art Showcase, just in case the fire safety deadline is not met, Councilwoman Tish Powell said.