What Arlington Heights Library might have to pay for 'makerspace' building

  • A real estate contract for an 8,000-square-foot building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. in Arlington Heights has been approved by the library board and now awaits final approval from the village board. The library plans to open a "makerspace" there.

    A real estate contract for an 8,000-square-foot building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. in Arlington Heights has been approved by the library board and now awaits final approval from the village board. The library plans to open a "makerspace" there. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, March 2018

 
 

While the village of Arlington Heights may not be charging the Arlington Heights Memorial Library for an unused building to be used for a proposed library "makerspace," the library may have to pay $42,800 for community development projects under a proposed deal between the two.

And if the library decides to sell the 8,000-square-foot building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. anytime over the next decade, the village will get a share of the proceeds, according to the contract approved by the library board this week.

The village board is expected to take final action on the agreement April 1, ahead of a scheduled June 20 closing, when the library will get keys to the former village teen center.

Village officials have been looking to get rid of the building since 2017 and shortly thereafter began discussions with library leaders who have long wanted an area for hands-on learning tools.

The proposed makerspace, just blocks from the main library campus on Dunton Avenue, would house high-tech tools like 3-D printers, laser cutters and computers for coding; fine arts and business areas; and a commercial kitchen for cooking classes.

Library officials have said it would cost about $1.9 million over the next two years to get the building up and running, including costs to make repairs, build out the interior space, hire up to three full-time and eight part-time employees, and buy equipment. The Friends of the Library and newly established Arlington Heights Memorial Library Foundation would help pay for the latter.

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Under the proposed deal, the library has through the end of May to opt out of the deal after inspecting the site.

It also has that much time to see if the Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a reimbursement to the village since Community Development Block Grant monies previously were used by the village to make upgrades to the building.

Officials estimate that could amount to $42,800, which would be deposited into a special fund controlled by the village for local projects. The village has $470,000 in federal funds budgeted for work this year including street resurfacing and ADA accessibility.

A clause in the agreement requires the library, if it wants to sell the property, to first offer it to the village. If the library sells to another entity before the end of 2028, proceeds of the sale will be shared on a sliding scale.

Charles Witherington-Perkins, the village's director of planning and community development, compared the arrangement to a forgivable loan.

For example, if the library sells the building this year, the village would get 100 percent of proceeds. If it's sold next year, the village would get 60 percent and the library 40 percent.

Under a preliminary construction timetable, the building could be open a year from now.

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