A 113-year-old Freeport building gets a second chance after making it onto Landmarks Illinois Ten Most Endangered Historic Places list. This means the city hall could now qualify for some much needed grant money.
Problems with the City Hall Building at 230 W. Stephenson, started to add up so much city offices were forced to relocate last year. With repair estimates topping $2 million, many people were considering demolition. But making the list has changed that.
"They choose 10 buildings every year to put on the endangered list and some people might see this as a negative designation but it is really a positive designation because they don't make that decision unless they are relatively sure that the community is behind looking for a positive option for the building," says Andy Dvorak, member of the group Citizens for Saving City Hall.
Freeport's City Hall building faced numerous issues including problems with its support piers, shifting masonry and a crumbling facade. The group Citizens for Saving City Hall nominated the building to the Endangered Historic Places list after talk last year turned to demolition instead of rehabilitation.
"About 40 years ago, the historic county courthouse was torn down and that really upset a lot of people and the fear was this building was going to go to and there is the sense that ever since the county courthouse was torn down, downtown itself has deteriorated. So if this other building goes it could be the end of downtown," says Dvorak.
It took some time to win over city leaders, but last month Freeport's city council passed a resolution supporting the group's work. Now they changed into a study group, which will look at how the building should be restored and who should use it.
"It may or may not become the City Hall again. It may become another opportunity for Freeport," says Mayor George Gaulrapp.
Citizens For Saving City Hall hope to come up with a plan for the building by October 1st.
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