The plan to rebuild the Ogle County Sheriff's Department on its exact same location draws concern from some residents. That's because they want to see that area next to the Rock River built up for tourism and tax dollars.
The corner of Route 64 and First Street in Oregon sits right next to the Rock River with the Oregon dam below. Twenty years ago, Beth Henderson bought the location for her gift and furniture store, the Eagle's Nest, ready to dig in for the long-haul to one day see Oregon's Riverfront Developed.
"I pay very, very high taxes with people telling me in the city and everything that its all because this is a tourism area and retail with the thought it would all pay out in the end and be developed," says Henderson.
She recently learned the next block up from her shop, where the ogle county sheriff's department sits, will stay right where it is.
"That's the property that we have functioned very well on for the last 30 years with the functions of the sheriff's office and coroner's office. We have sufficient land there to not disrupt the current operations," says Kim Gouker, Ogle County Board, chairman.
That's true for the sheriff's department. But the coroner's office will shut down and move to an area funeral home for the next year while construction is underway. Henderson wanted to see the sheriff's department located on the Ogle County Judicial Center campus, just like they do in Winnebago, Boone and McHenry Counties. She is not alone. County board member, Ron Colson points to more than 50,000 square feet of land just west of the judicial center, bought more than a decade ago by the county. It currently sits vacant. He wants that turned into a sheriff's department and eventually a jail. He also wants to sell off the current sheriff's department building to private developers so taxes can be collected on that real estate.
"The reality of not private people owning and developing I think will hurt the town," says Henderson.
"It's the only part of Ogle County that is prepared for development that has both available land and access to city sewer and water service. So it's our one shot, if we lose this we've lost it all," says Colson, Ogle County Board member.
Despite these objections, the county board chair says they're currently accepting bids for construction of the sheriff's department and plans are moving forward.
"We just opened 8 construction bids and architects are now reviewing those."
The county board should vote on April 15th on which bid to accept. If things stay on schedule construction would start this summer.
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