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New Island Lake village hall raises concerns

ISLAND LAKE – A group of residents are frustrated with the village leaders’ discussions about constructing a municipal building.

Aside from the financial impact of the construction project, longtime residents such as Ed Reilly say village officials are “trying to push this thing through” and are being “sneaky about it.”

Discussions about constructing a new village hall, currently operating out of a former school building at 3720 Greenleaf Ave., at the Water Tower Park have been brewing discontent among some residents.

The park is on Route 176, near Newport Court. Reilly, 62, said he would be disappointed to see a new building “eat up the park,” one of the village’s assets.

“It’s one of the larger parks we have,” said Reilly, a resident of 39 years.

Annual carnival events and the Lions Club’s Cornfest are just some of the activities and programs held at Water Tower Park, he said.

Reilly attended the July 27 meeting at which residents waited turns to express concerns to the board and ask questions.

But the village president and the board, by village ordinance, aren’t obligated to respond to public comments and chose not to, Reilly said.

Messages left for Village President Debbie Herrmann were not immediately returned Friday.

Officials have said the village will need a new facility, as the Greenleaf Avenue building is aging, with needed repairs estimated to cost $800,000.

“The building was built in the ’50s,” Reilly said. “My house was built in the ’20s, but I’m not tearing it down.”

The village is not growing under the current housing market conditions, and current homeowners cannot afford another tax increase, Reilly said.

In a statement posted on the village’s Facebook page, village officials said last week that department heads and staff were given surveys designed to assess the needs of employee work areas.

“Those surveys were compiled creating the first draft of the space analysis,” the statement said. “That analysis was the focus of Friday’s workshop.

Based on the findings, BKV Group, a design team hired by the village, said a new municipal building would need a 13,000-square-foot administrative wing and community center, an 11,000-square-foot police department and a 11,000-square-foot public works facility. Draper and Kramer, the other firm involved in the ongoing planning process, also is preparing a feasibility study.

Village officials plan to meet Aug. 14 for another workshop session.

“At that workshop, the design team will continue to work with department heads and village officials to review site plans, design renderings and floor plan options,” the village’s statement read. “The design team will then make a presentation of their review to both the Plan Commission and the Strategic Plan Committee.”

A town hall, one with a formal presentation to residents and local businesses, is expected to be scheduled before September.

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