‘We’re planning for the future’: Wauconda takes actions for municipal center and Route 176 corridor redevelopment

Wauconda will be demolishing two homes and wants to acquire two vacant business buildings in separate actions involving long-range planning for a new village hall and potential development along Route 176.

The first action approved Tuesday was a $122,500 contract with Anthem Excavation & Demolition of Itasca to tear down village-owned homes and adjacent structures at 339 and 349 S. Main St., adjacent to the police station just southeast of Route 176.

Wauconda owned and rented one of the homes for several years but it has been vacant. The village last year bought 349 S. Main St., when it became available.

“It was an opportunity we grabbed because we know the property was needed for the village hall,” said Allison Matson, village administrator.

The intent is to consolidate the properties with the existing police station location for a new village hall and police department, as well as community development department, currently housed elsewhere.

The idea of combining operations surfaced during a village needs assessment in 2021 but has been on indefinite hold.

“We’re planning for the future,” Matson said of the acquisitions. Demolition was the preferred route as both homes have “significant maintenance needs,” she added.

Asbestos abatement is a separate process to be done first. That cost is $19,974 for removal and $12,000 for management and required testing and reporting. Abatement and demolition are expected to be complete by mid-to-late March, according to Matson.

In a second action, the village board authorized Mayor Jeff Sode or his designee to take steps to acquire properties at 372 and 400 W. Liberty St. (Route 176) — a former auto parts store/warehouse and a building that had been home to different restaurants over the years, respectively.

Both are vacant and located in a special financing district established to revitalize the area. The ordinance authorizes the acquisitions by negotiation or condemnation to eliminate “blighted, underutilized and nonconforming uses” and enhance the value of the property through redevelopment.

“We’re currently doing a plan for Route 176. This is part of a bigger strategy,” Matson said.

She said she hopes to come to terms with the property owners but condemnation is an option if deals can’t be struck.

The Route 176 corridor is challenging because of separate entrances for individual properties and other aspects.

“We wanted to be able to control the destiny of these two parcels going forward,” Matson said. “One of our top priorities is to promote economic development and this is one of the steps.”

The village has been seeking resident/community input on a plan for future land use and transportation along the Route 176 corridor from Barrington Road to Thomas Court.

“This is all leading to (helping) the village to develop a vision of what the corridor will look like,” according to Matson.

An interactive map for input is available at

The village wants to identify obstacles to growth of existing business, determine the best uses for vacant property and find ways to improve the look and feel of the area.

  Wauconda wants to acquire this restaurant building at 400 W. Liberty St., (Route 176) as a potential redevelopment opportunity. Paul Valade/
  This former auto parts store/warehouse at 372 W. Liberty St. (Route 176) is one of two vacant business buildings Wauconda wants to acquire for potential redevelopment in the corridor. Paul Valade/
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