Gurnee leaders OK demolition of 2 commercial buildings in floodplain

  • This building along Old Grand Avenue, pictured during the flood in 2017, will be demolished in August as part of a village of Gurnee plan to remove buildings in the Des Plaines River floodplain.

    This building along Old Grand Avenue, pictured during the flood in 2017, will be demolished in August as part of a village of Gurnee plan to remove buildings in the Des Plaines River floodplain. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 7/13/2021 5:45 PM

The Gurnee village board has approved a $95,472 contract to demolish two commercial buildings in the Des Plaines River floodplain that housed a Dairy Queen, a spa and a vacuum repair business on Old Grand Avenue.

The village purchased the buildings in April 2020 for $275,000 with the intention of knocking them down and removing the surrounding pavement. The buildings to be demolished are at 4609 through 4625 Old Grand Ave.

 

"The plan is to remove the buildings and the parking lots, close those curbs off and turn the whole thing into grass," Village Administrator Patrick Muetz said during the village board meeting Monday night. "Everybody's out so we need to get the buildings down."

Demolishing the buildings will allow the floodplain to do a better job of soaking up floodwaters. It also means the village has to spend fewer resources fighting rising waters and cleaning damage in the future.

Muetz said the village received several bids for the demolition job. The lowest bid, from Wadsworth-based Campanella & Sons, came in just below the $100,000 village staff had budgeted for the project.

Over the years, Campanella & Sons contractors had been called on during times of flooding in Gurnee to protect the two buildings they will now be tasked with razing, Muetz said.

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The demolition work will start after Gurnee Days, he said. The annual village celebration, which was canceled last year, is set to run in a modified format nearby at Viking Park at 4374 Old Grand Ave. on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.

Last month, Assistant Village Administrator Jack Linehan said the village was approaching the milestone of buying and removing 30 buildings from the floodplain.

"There are really only a few buildings left," Linehan said. "As we continue to acquire and relocate, the flooding will only be a road impact and not something that impacts buildings."

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