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Local News

City Council requests financials for Old Jail options

YORKVILLE – The Yorkville City Council on Tuesday directed city staff to seek more information before determining which direction to take for the sale of the old county jail.

The City Council discussed what other information they would want available before making a decision on the old jail sale during their meeting on Tuesday, April 23 at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road. All council members were in attendance for the meeting.

City Administrator Bart Olson said both projects would be eligible for tax increment financing funds from the city and are requesting an undisclosed amount of TIF assistance. When asked by City Council officials, he said the TIF assistance amount has yet to be determined and city staff also will research how much property tax revenue the property would draw under each proposal.

"It would be reasonable for us to direct that and give them some time to respond," Olson said. "They would need a couple weeks or 30 days, then [we can] bring that back in front of you at a later date."

The update comes after a consensus during the March 27 City Council meeting for the matter being up for a potential vote for the following meeting. Discussions about the old county jail, located at 111 W. Madison St., were not on the agenda for the April 9 meeting after all because city staff members were waiting on questionnaire answers from the applicants. Those questions included each applicant's history in developing commercial or mixed use properties and possible tenants for the building.

Olson said there are still only two groups that have submitted formal requests for proposals to the city to buy and rehab the old county jail, one including a possible microbrewery and the other including a shelter, resource center and community center. The two applicants are a for-profit group with Chicago-area ties and Imperfect Angels, a non-profit mentorship organization for young women based out of Aurora.

Jetara Perry, co-founder of Imperfect Angels, said a few people who participate in the program are from the Yorkville area. Not only did she feel like the site would provide a safe haven for young kids and women to go to, she said, but the project would help generate income for the city's downtown area with local businesses as tenants including a possible car detailing shop, which city officials said would require rezoning.

"I think it would be beneficial for generations to come," Perry said.

Peter McKnight, one of the for-profit proposal representatives who is from Glen Ellyn and has friends in Sugar Grove, said his brother, who is a construction worker, was initially consulted by the Yorkville Historical Preservation Society about options in helping save the old jail. He said when his brother, who is currently healing from injuries after falling from the roof of a multi-story building construction project, was aware the building would be for sale by the city, his brother tipped him off to the property.

McKnight said the goal is to have his brother eventually assist in the project, should it be awarded to McKnight.

"And we're excited about it," McKnight said.

The for-profit developers are offering the city $1,000 initially to purchase the property and the Imperfect Angels is offering a $500 purchase price, according to their proposals. Mayor Gary Golinski said he also got a message from someone within the community that has offered to kick in another $500 for the nonprofit project's offer, if need be.

When asked by Second Ward Alderman Jacquelyn Milschewski about what would be done with the old jail cells, Perry said some options include selling them for the material they're made of, donating them or disposing of them if they are beyond saving. McKnight said his team is trying to not take apart any building elements that are identified as historically significant, inside or out.

Lisa Wolancevich, chairwoman for the Yorkville Historical Preservation Society, said she could not go on record about who she or the society as a whole is hoping will get the old jail. Regardless of who is awarded the property, she said, the society will work with them and will help with historical preservation efforts.

The historical society wants to see "whoever gets the building to save it and keep the integrity of it alive," Wolancevich said.

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