Will Mundelein finally get an arts center? Trustees pledging taxpayer funds to help project
Mundelein trustees on Monday pledged up to $300,000 in taxpayer funds to the proposed creation of a local cultural arts center in the downtown area.
The project is being considered for space within a village-owned building on the 100 block of Archer Avenue, not far from Mundelein's Metra station and village hall.
Dubbed the Archer Business Center, it's the same building where the Tighthead Brewing Co. and other businesses now operate.
The roughly 5,000-square-foot space being eyed for the arts center now is occupied by Sigma Services Corp., a packaging company. The company's lease with the village allows for early termination with 12 months' notice, and it is aware of the plan, Assistant Village Administrator Peter Vadopalas said.
Only Sigma Services would be displaced.
Although Mundelein has a volunteer arts commission, village employees would run the center -- at least at first -- Village Administrator Eric Guenther said
"The idea is this will begin as a village-managed arts center," Guenther said. "We will certainly lean on the arts commission for guidance and advice as we move forward through the planning phase and hopefully on to construction."
The project could cost $1.5 million, documents indicate.
Village staffers will apply for a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to cover a big chunk of the cost. The agency has a grant program dedicated to funding downtown and Main Street redevelopment projects.
Mundelein officials have entertained the idea of a local arts center at different locations through the years, but projects never got off the ground.
Mundelein purchased the then-vacant Archer Avenue building in 2005 for more than $5 million. Formerly home to Anatol Equipment Manufacturing, it was originally considered a potential site for a relocated village hall. But a new hall went up in 2014 on what is now Plaza Circle instead, and commercial tenants were found for the building.
Trustee Jenny Ross said she supports exploring "all options" for the Archer Avenue property, including an arts center.
"Right now there is a limited market for office space and retail space, so it is prudent to evaluate other uses that would benefit the community and are consistent with the overall plans for development in the downtown area," Ross said.