Gurnee leaders approve Veterans Assistance Commission's new headquarters
The Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County's plan to construct a new three-story headquarters received a green light from the Gurnee village board this week.
The land at 5626 to 5652 Northridge Drive, just east of Interstate 94, most recently was used by Joe's Crab Shack and Outback Steakhouse and was not zoned for government use until the board's vote Monday.
Veterans Assistance Commission Superintendent Andrew Tangen said Wednesday the new building will allow the organization to offer additional services to more veterans.
Construction still is a couple of years off, said Tangen adding, with building costs being so high it was best to wait for now.
"As a unit of government we're trying to be a good steward," Tangen said.
Tangen said he began speaking with Gurnee officials about getting the zoning changed around six months ago.
He said Lake County is the only county in the state where the veteran population has grown in recent years, from 32,000 in 2020 to just under 45,000 in 2023.
"The pandemic was a big reason why some veterans got out of the military and decided to settle down," Tangen said.
Plans call for the headquarters to be a 40,000-square-foot building with 150 parking spaces and green space including community paths and a tranquil zone. The building will have large rooms for meeting and training as well as a fitness center and a community hub.
Tangen said once complete it will be the first time the 97-year-old commission has owned the building from which it operates.
The Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County's current headquarters is at 1790 Nations Drive, Suite 221, in Gurnee.