ALGONQUIN – Village trustees approved spending $26,000 to demolish a downtown building, beginning the village’s downtown streetscape plan.
Trustees approved a contract with Copenhaver Construction Inc. to demolish the building at 101 S. Main St., which has been vacant for years and is prone to flooding.
Demolition is expected to begin the first week of January and will take two weeks to complete, Public Works Director Robert Mitchard said.
The village bought the property in April for $250,000 with plans to work the land into a project that will add a riverwalk to the downtown area, improve flood-prone Crystal Creek and build a better bridge over the creek than the one in place.
Village officials have said the building would get in the way of anticipated improvement work. The project includes plans to make a more natural-looking slope along the creek, which became more channelized over the years, Mitchard said.
“The creek is so channelized now that it is prone to a lot of vertical flooding because it just can’t spread out when we get a high flow,” Mitchard said.
The village’s Historic Commission voted against the demolition, 5-0, in October, but the board serves an advisory role to the Village Board, which has the final say. The Historic Commission cited concerns about losing a commercial site at the core of the downtown area, according to village documents.
The building has not been occupied on a consistent basis since 2009, according to village documents. The site was constructed in the early 1900s and formerly was used as a car dealership and service garage, Village Manager Tim Schloneger said.
“The foundation is the same, but the building is nowhere near the same as it once was,” Mayor John Schmitt said.
The cost for work on Crystal Creek is estimated at $1.3 million, according to the village’s conceptual plan, and it is part of a $30 million plan for Algonquin’s downtown.
Historic commissioners would be allowed to go through the building and salvage anything they choose before demolition.
Mitchard said the brick from the building will be preserved and used in the plaza area between Village Hall and Bold American Fare restaurant.
“Because it is common brick and it looks cool, we are going to try to use it to build a community fire pit there to be used for gathering,” Mitchard said. “We are dreaming at this point of what we could do with it.”
Trustee Debby Sosine said the board is working on branding the village as well as creating a marketing program to help with the downtown area and vacancies on the east side and in the Corporate Campus.
“There is so much nice things that can be done down there, and the streetscape project will make it easier,” Sosine said. “In the summertime, I see people out walking around at 9 p.m., and it’s nice to see people out and using it, so the more we can promote and make it better is good.”
A proposal for the streetscape project will be brought to the Village Board for a vote before the end of the year, Schloneger said.