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Flossmoor gives final OK to New Hope apartment complex

(Photo by Tom Houlihan/H-F Chronicle)

Flossmoor officials this week got a look at proposed village hall renovations designed to add more space to the existing municipal complex, which first opened in the 1970s.

No decision is expected before the start of budget discussions early next year. Village board members are expected to review the proposals – which could add between 1,200 and 13,500 square feet to the complex – in the months to come. They received the latest proposals at Monday’s board meeting.

Modifications to the police and fire departments, located on the west side of the municipal complex, are definitely going to be made but do not pose as much of a challenge as improvements on the east end of village hall.

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Linden Architecture Group presented board members with three new conceptual plans that range in cost and offer different floor plans. They used feedback from previous meetings and staff to improve on plans from earlier this year.

In November 2015, Flossmoor contracted with Linden Group to assist with a village hall assessment. The purpose of this assessment was to review the village hall building and grounds in terms of space needs, layout, technology infrastructure, landscaping and parking lot configuration.

Linden Group interviewed staff, drafted concepts and showed examples of other municipal center floor plans to meet their needs. The goal was to use this assessment to better plan for future projects and needs in the complex. 

Village Manager Bridget Wachtel described the existing building as “challenging,” in part because of its cinder block walls and partial tri-level layout.

“The building has served us well for nearly 40 years with only minor improvements over time,” she said. “The project is due, and if we are going to commit to the expense and the disruption, it should serve us the best that it can for as long as possible.”

Michael Matthys, a Linden Group representative, gave board members three options for the east end of the village hall, which includes municipal offices and the board room.

Option A, which could cost as much as $2,140,280, includes renovations to public common areas, the board room and a complete renovation to the administration, finance and building departments. It would be an addition on the north end of the complex and add 1,200 square feet of space.

Option B, which could cost as much as $3,198,280, includes the same renovations as Option A, but adds a total of 8,400 square feet.

Option C, which would cost as much as $4,325,000, includes a one story addition to the village hall, as opposed to just expanding on the main level. It would add 13,500 square feet to the complex.

In her memo to the board, Wachtel said there were advantages to going with Option C, which would cost 20 percent more than Option B but add 60 percent more space.

Both Options B and C would require the complete reconstruction of the east side of the municipal complex.

After adding in costs for the renovations of the police department, fire station, site work and exterior repairs, the total project is expected to cost between $5 and $6 million.

Board members stressed this plan is long-term and will be designed to be completed in phased projects. 

After the presentation, Trustee Diane Williams explained the new plan looks great but it would be easier to understand it if she observes the issues at village hall first-hand.

“We need to do a walk-through to see the clear changes that are needed. We should categorize them with what’s absolutely needed and what can wait,” she said.

Board members said they plan to take a tour of the facility to review the issues.

In other business Monday, the board unanimously approved a resolution for Flossmoor’s planned streetscape improvement project in the downtown area.  

Public Works staff was notified that the Illinois Department of Transportation has issued a call for projects for the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP).

The proposed improvements consist of sidewalk removal and replacement to meet current Americans with Disability Act accessibility standards, installing decorative parkway pavers, bicycle racks, benches and plants in the Central Business District area.

The ITEP application is a lengthy process that can take almost a year to gain approval. If approved for participation in the program, the earliest that engineering and construction would begin would be in the 2018 fiscal year, which begins next spring.

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