Repairs coming to Island Lake village hall
Island Lake Mayor Charles Amrich's 2013 victory meant the end of a proposal to build a new village hall.
Amrich's win hasn't kept the current building at 3720 Greenleaf Ave. from deteriorating. But cash-conscious officials are tackling the structure's broken doors, rusted columns and other flaws gradually instead of starting from scratch.
In the latest move, the village board on Thursday hired a Spring Grove firm, Lakeview Masonry Construction, to replace some windows at village hall and perform related repairs.
The work is expected to cost $21,500, less than the original $25,000 originally estimated, officials said.
Trustee Chuck Cermak believes the piecemeal repair work is the right way to go.
"At this time, the way the economy is, I don't think we can afford (a new hall)," Cermak said. "I don't think there are many villages that could afford a new village hall right now."
Island Lake's current hall is a former school that dates to the 1950s. Village staffers share the building with the police department, a preschool, a senior center and a gymnasium.
Plans to build a new village hall first surfaced in 2012, under then-Mayor Debbie Herrmann's administration. Officials were eyeing land at Water Tower Park, which is on Route 176 at Newport Court.
With a base price of $4.9 million, the complex could have housed village offices, a police station, a community center and other services.
Public opposition was strong, however.
When a nonbinding referendum about the village hall plans was placed on the ballot as part of a grass-roots effort in November 2012, Island Lake voters overwhelmingly opposed the project.
Amrich later made stopping the project a campaign priority. The plan was scuttled after he and the three trustee candidates who ran with him won election.
The village board has approved five repair projects since then. In addition to the repairs approved this week, the board has ordered:
• Tuckpointing, at a cost of $21,500.
• Window repairs, at a cost of $9,300.
• Replacement of the front door, which will cost $8,150.
• Repairs to the front canopy columns, which will run $1,925.
Lakeview Masonry landed the tuckpointing and window projects. The other contracts went to Don's Welding & Fabricating, a Wauconda company, and a Johnsburg vendor named Scott Kennebeck.
Planning a few projects each year is easier on the village budget -- and on taxpayers -- than building a new hall would be, Amrich said.
"Everybody's struggling," he said.
Three of the projects have been approved since early May. This is a good time to launch building repairs because the village "is a little flush" with property-tax revenue, village Treasurer Ed McGinty said.
Additionally, concrete and glass work should be done before cold weather arrives in the fall, McGinty said.
Cermak called the current building "suitable" for the village's needs.
"For the use we have ... I think it's adequate," he said.