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Work on Dobyns House site in McHenry to move ahead

McHENRY – The cleanup of the vacant Dobyns House site is set to move ahead after months of delay.

The city is looking to demolish the wooden decking and piers at the riverfront property, 1202 N. Riverside Drive, something officials wanted to get started shortly after its purchase; paperwork tied up the process.

The McHenry City Council decided unanimously Monday to bid out the project.

The city agreed to buy the property in October for $550,000 from the Charles J. Miller family trust. The property sits in a tax increment financing district, and revenue from the TIF district will reimburse McHenry’s general fund for the purchase.

“The wooden boardwalk and the piers that are there have really fallen into disrepair,” Deputy City Administrator Bill Hobson said. “There’s a nice sidewalk that runs through and some nice landscaping that we’re going to improve and clean up, but the wooden boardwalk, it becomes an attractive nuisance, so it was important to clear that off the property, really start with a blank slate.”

Once the property is developed, the goal is to sell it, “Whether that’s a town home project like we did right across the street, whether that’s a four-story building, whether that’s a restaurant like it was initially.”

The property has languished since a 2009 fire destroyed the landmark building and the restaurant it housed.

The city plans to meet with the Riverwalk Foundation and hold a public meeting later this month to identify the best use for the site.

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