Dundee Township could expand clothing giveaway program into East Dundee space

  • East Dundee is considering allowing Dundee Township to use four vacant classrooms in the 611 E. Main St. building to operate a clothing donation and giveaway program.

      East Dundee is considering allowing Dundee Township to use four vacant classrooms in the 611 E. Main St. building to operate a clothing donation and giveaway program. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Updated 6/27/2018 4:36 PM

East Dundee officials may allow Dundee Township to use village-owned space for a clothing donation and giveaway program serving residents in need.

As a local business owner, Township Supervisor Trish Glees noticed some community members attending job interviews wearing disheveled or mismatched clothing. When she was elected to her government position last year, she felt it was the township's duty to address what she considered a social services issue.


Residents starting jobs or going on interviews began visiting the township last summer to be fitted for donated suits and other professional attire, Glees said. The volunteer-run program, called the Dundee Township Cares Community Closet, has since expanded to provide clothing for residents of all ages, including children and families.

"This just has flourished into an outpouring of community support," Glees said. "I'm running out of room, which is really a phenomenal thing."

To help accommodate the program's growth, East Dundee officials are considering offering four empty classrooms in the former Summit School at 611 E. Main St. at no cost to the township. The second-floor rooms are adjacent to offices owned and occupied by the township.

The village owns about 57 percent of the largely vacant building, Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen said. Other units are owned by the Gallery 611 event venue and businessman Tom Roeser.

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East Dundee has been trying to sell its portion of the property, but officials recently took it off the market to re-evaluate the best use for the unique space, Johnsen said. In an agreement expected to be considered by the village board next month, the township would be allowed to use some of the unoccupied rooms until they are sold or redeveloped.

"The village is excited about being able to provide this partnership with Dundee Township so they can provide clothing to those in need," Johnsen said. "We recognize this is a valuable and important project they want to work on, and we're happy they want to serve the community."

The township plans to make minor improvements, such as adding electricity, to bring the classrooms up to code, Glees said. In turn, the village's deal is likely to contain a provision offering a refund of those upgrades -- capped at $5,000 and depreciated over time -- if the space is sold.

Trustee Jeff Lynam said he'd prefer the village make those improvements upfront and have the township pay rent on the property. However, Trustee Kirstin Wood said she sees no harm in allowing the township to use the rooms rent-free as long as it doesn't impede the sale of the building.

"This is a nonprofit situation," Wood said. "It's a good service to the community, and as long as the space doesn't get damaged ... I don't see how this is going to be a negative."

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