Darien to get estimate for new hall
If you go
What: Regular meeting of the Darien Parks, Recreation and Buildings Committee
When: 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 8.
Where: Darien Village Hall board room, 24 N. Wisconsin St., Darien.
On the agenda: The village will get its first look at a cost estimate for demolition and construction of a new village hall.
DARIEN It was supposed to be temporary when the village of Darien rented space at 20 N. Wisconsin St. for its village hall back in July 2006.
Temporarily, it might not be hard to put up with the sounds coming from the upstairs apartments, Village Administrator Diana Dykstra said. Her work day sometimes is interrupted by dogs barking, a cat stuck in the wall or humans doing what they sometimes do in the privacy of their own homes.
But five years has been a long time to share office space with six rented apartments, and the village needs to make conversation about a new village hall a priority, village board member Phil Putman said.
"It was meant to be temporary when we moved in," Putman said. "Something's always come up."
That could change this year.
During a Parks, Recreation and Buildings Committee meeting Wednesday, the village will get its first look at cost estimates for a new village hall. Eventually, plans advance to the village board for approval.
The first order of business would be to tear down the former Protect-all building, which is located on two lots north of the Darien Police Department, 24 N. Wisconsin St. The village in 2003 bought the property for the purpose of a future village hall expansion, Dykstra said.
The building is in disrepair and is a home to old Christmas decorations, lost bicycles and a lot of dust. Old insulation sags from the ceiling, and sun shines through a hole in the roof.
The village could apply for a federal grant to demolish the building, Dykstra said.
Preliminary plans for a new village hall include a remodel of the police department and new construction of a village hall in a portion of the space the Protect-all building now occupies. The northernmost portion of the block could be green space to provide a buffer between the downtown and Farm City Elevator, 104 Wisconsin St.
If it were built, the building's facade would be brick to match other historic buildings downtown. It could feature a silo-shaped tower at one end as a way to recognize the importance of agriculture in the village, Dykstra said.
The village doesn't have a cost estimate, but Dykstra hopes the project could be completed for less than $2 million.
Darien celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, which would be a fitting time to upgrade the cramped and outdated village and police department offices, Dykstra said. The project, in combination with a planned repave of Wisconsin Street, could encourage other renovations in the downtown footprint, she added.
"Some people have some really nice buildings over there. They just need a little TLC," Dykstra said, referring to businesses on the east side of Wisconsin Street.
"If we can spur that interest, maybe we can help them."