Glen Ellyn debates what to do with former police station
The old Glen Ellyn police station has become a highly coveted space in the four months since the department moved into its new headquarters near Panfish Park.
For more than four decades, police worked out of the first floor of the downtown Civic Center, a nearly 90-year-old building that originally served as a junior high.
Talks about determining the future of that space -- a mix of offices, jail cells and locker rooms -- have now turned into a debate about the use of government buildings.
Village President Diane McGinley is one of the chief proponents of a plan by the College of DuPage to invest roughly $1.5 million in renovations at the Civic Center to make way for a business incubator and accelerator for startups. School officials have enlisted private investors, regional business groups and even other colleges to develop a nonprofit initiative they call Innovation DuPage.
Glen Ellyn trustees also are considering whether to spend another $1.2 million on a project to update and relocate village offices in the Civic Center, a 1920s-era building largely untouched since the last major remodel in the early 1990s.
Supporters see the innovation center and its events as an economic development opportunity that could introduce the downtown to entrepreneurs and drive foot traffic to shops and restaurants.
But critics take issue with a "quasi-private" group moving into the village-owned building. Several village trustees also say the board should be giving serious consideration to another emerging idea that would require the cooperation of two other taxing bodies.
That concept calls for relocating the park district's administrative offices from the Spring Avenue Recreation Center off Route 53 to the Civic Center. Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 would then use the space in the Spring Avenue building, a former school, though district officials haven't yet determined for what purpose.
Here's a look at some of those issues as trustees prepare to revisit the debate at a Nov. 13 meeting.