Arlington Heights OKs building transfer to library for 'makerspace'
Arlington Heights trustees have approved transferring the shuttered village teen center building to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, which intends to open a "makerspace" there next year.
A real estate contract conveying the 8,000-square-foot building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. -- which was the first stand-alone village library in 1952 -- back to the library was approved unanimously Monday night by the village board, after the library board did it March 19.
The five-page agreement doesn't contain any exchange of money, but it does include a clause that would allow the village to share a portion of proceeds on a sliding scale should the library decide to sell the property anytime over the next decade.
The library must first offer the property to the village. If it sells to an outside entity this year, the village would get 100 percent of proceeds, and 60 percent next year, according to the agreement.
There also is a clause that could potentially leave the library on the hook for about $42,800 in reimbursement to the village's Community Development Block Grant fund since federal money was previously used to upgrade the building. But Village Manager Randy Recklaus said he's reasonably confident that reimbursement wouldn't be needed after talking with Department of Housing and Urban Development officials.
Recklaus said village officials were comfortable with a simple zero-dollar transfer of the property to the fellow governmental entity because the proposed makerspace would assist local businesses.
"It would support the village's own economic development goals of supporting small businesses," Recklaus said.
Library Executive Director Mike Driskell told village board members Monday the library's concept for the building is to be a collaborative workspace where patrons can make things using high-tech tools like 3-D printers, laser cutters and vinyl cutters, or more traditional tools like sewing, embroidery and quilting machines. There would be small business incubator space for owners and entrepreneurs to network, and a commercial kitchen that would allow the library to expand its culinary programs.
Due to the noise and odors that could come from such a space, it would fit well in a building separate from the main library just blocks away on Dunton Avenue, Driskell said.
"It's a place to tinker, learn, share and network," he said.
The village has been looking to unload the site since 2017, when Chicago Metro Youth for Christ didn't renew its lease for its teen center. A village-run teen center closed there in 2010.
Negotiations with the library have been going on for about a year.
Officials Monday discussed parking that would likely be needed since the site has only six spaces. But a planned reconfiguration of the lot could increase the number to 12.
The library also has an agreement with the park district to use the Recreation Park lot across the street. If needed, the village board in the future could also allow parking on the east side of Belmont, freeing up 14 spaces.
A closing is scheduled for June 20, and after interior upgrades, the building could open a year from now.