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Government

COD continues to eye Glen Ellyn Civic Center for innovation center

Village trustees approve memorandum of understanding with COD

The village of Glen Ellyn may partner with the College of DuPage to fill the space in the Civic Center left by the Glen Ellyn Police Department's move to its new station.
The village of Glen Ellyn may partner with the College of DuPage to fill the space in the Civic Center left by the Glen Ellyn Police Department's move to its new station.

GLEN ELLYN – The village of Glen Ellyn continues to explore the idea of partnering with the College of DuPage to fill the space in the Civic Center left by the Glen Ellyn Police Department's recent move to its new station at 65 S. Park Blvd.

After much debate, village trustees on June 26 approved authorizing Village Manager Mark Franz to execute a memorandum of understanding with the college, as well as a contract with Dewberry for design services associated with the renovation of 8,500 square feet of the Civic Center, to be reimbursed by COD, at a cost not to exceed $24,000.

Voting "no" was trustee Pete Ladesic, who thought trustees should discuss the proposal at greater length before moving ahead with the idea.

"I think the timing of it is bad," Ladesic said. "The Police Department has just moved out. We really haven't identified our own needs for the village, and therefore the needs for the residents. And then we're kind of jumping into this. We're kind of putting the cart before the horse... I applaud this effort, but I think it's a little premature."

The college is looking at the Civic Center space for its small business development center operations. About six months ago, the College of DuPage, in working with the village and Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance, began to explore the creation of an innovation center near downtown Glen Ellyn.

Private investor groups and other higher education institutions also have joined the exploration of an innovation center that COD is now calling “Innovation DuPage.” A variety of sites in downtown Glen Ellyn were viewed as options, and the Civic Center was determined to be the best location.

In response to Ladesic's concerns, Village President Diane McGinley said the village will be able to find out if there are any factors that would negatively affect the project through moving ahead with the memorandum of understanding and approving the design services. COD would occupy space formerly occupied by the Police Department, the current planning and development area and shared space on the east half of the building's third floor.

"We're not making a decision," McGinley said. "We're asking them to gather information and then bring this back to a workshop."

Trustee Mark Senak voiced his support for the project.

"This project, I am very supportive of, because it will provide economic development over the long term to the downtown central business district," Senak said. "It will make Glen Ellyn effectively the Silicon Valley of DuPage County if they accomplish even half of what they intend to... I'm sure there are other communities that would love this opportunity to partner with them."

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