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Lakewood officials eye new village hall property

LAKEWOOD – Village officials could be looking to build a new village hall and turn the current administration building into Crystal Lake’s only lakefront restaurant.

The current village hall space is in need of repair and no longer fits the village’s needs, Village President Erin Smith said.

Officials said the lakefront building would be prime real estate for single-family homes or a restaurant.

“The property where our village hall is located is very valuable,” Smith said. But any changes at this point “are simply ideas.”

A group of developers recently approached the city with the idea of a public-private partnership to build a new administration building. In the partnership, the companies would build it and the village would start paying for it once it’s completed.

Expedited building is considered to be among the benefits of a partnership, Smith said.

But the village board wants more information. Officials are looking at where they could build. Among the possibilities is village-owned property on Haligus Road, where the public works and fire departments are.

Smith said a new village hall will move forward “only if we can afford to pay for it with existing reserve and traditional financing that does not have the risk of increasing residents taxes.”

No money has been spent or dedicated to the project, she said.

In the meantime, the companies are putting together a preliminary proposal, which will include a range of costs for the project. The report will be completed at no cost to the village.

A future, more specific plan could cost up to $50,000, Smith said.

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