Council buying former library

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Washington City Hall will be getting a new address sometime next year.

“It’s a no-brainer,” alderman Don Brubaker said after city council members voted to approve the purchase of the former Washington District Library building at 301 Walnut for $251,501 Monday night, two days before the deadline.

City administrator Bob Morris said the terms are already in place. All that is needed is to close on the building.

The library board put the building up for sale just prior to moving the main library to its new home in Five Points Washington in October.

Proceeds from the sale will go toward paying construction costs on the new library at Five Points Washington, library director Pam Tomka said.

Currently, the library still owes about $850,000. The library will be able to pay another large amount of the debt in about two years per a contract agreement with Drs. Lee and Paul Kinsinger.

The Kinsingers bought the four acres of land across from Cherry Tree Shopping Center about a year ago.

Morris said the reason the city is looking into purchasing the building is to allow the Washington

Police Department to have some elbow room, by moving city offices into the former library building.

Currently, the city’s administration offices are on the upper floor of city hall, located on Jefferson Street.

The police department is housed in the lower level.

“Moving city hall operations to the former library will be good use for an older building that probably would have been vacant for a while,” alderman Dave Dingledine said, adding, “This is a win-win situation for the city.”

The Walnut Street building was built in 1958, with an addition in the early 1970s, Tomka said.

Mayor Gary Manier said buying the building was not something to look at for a fancy office for the mayor, but will allow the mayor and city treasurer to stop sharing cramped office space.

“It will allow us to do things (without raising property taxes) because we will need money for the growing school districts,” Manier said.

Manier added that at a later date there may be a need to raise taxes, but “I think we can do this without (a tax increase).”

“The good news,” Morris said, “is that according to the preliminary floor plan, everything we asked for will fit comfortably.”

In other business, council members:

• approved a request by Oliver Bade, youth director at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, for an event in Glendale Cemetery.

Bade said he would like to have a scavenger hunt for the senior high youth group from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 29. Participants would be given a list of things to find on the various tombstones.

After the scavenger hunt, youth group members will gather together and discuss the legacy they want to leave and the positive things they can do with their lives.

• approved the purchase of four new decorative streetlights for Washington Square from Philip S. McCully & Associates of Toluca for $15,632

• approved a $140,406.31 payment to R.A. Cullinan & Son Inc. for completed seal coat work on streets north of Route 24 and within Washington Estates, Brentwood Estates and Canterbury Manor. Work in Rolling Meadows still needs to be completed, city engineer Ken Newman said.

• approved contracting Corrective Asphalt Materials LLC of South Roxana to complete crack sealing work on South Wilmor, starting at the end of the newly paved section. Work would continue to and along Kern Road to Hillcrest Drive.

Newman said there are plans in place to seal the portion of South Cummings Lane that was reconstructed in 2002.

• heard a report from Washington Fire Chief Mike Vaughn that there are three new firefighters and three applications being processed. “I’m still recruiting,” he said.

• and reminded residents that during school hours, turns on Bondurant Street from Jefferson Street are prohibited.