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Local News

Will County Board to consider future of courthouse site

The Will County Courthouse can be seen Jan. 11, 2016, in downtown Joliet.
The Will County Courthouse can be seen Jan. 11, 2016, in downtown Joliet.

Will County officials soon will formally start to consider the future of the current county courthouse site, among other possible capital improvement projects.

On Tuesday, Dave Tkac, the county executive’s deputy chief of staff, told members of the Will County Board Capital Improvements Committee about the beginning of formal discussions on the matter.

Tkac and other officials from the county executive’s office will have a kickoff meeting with an architect early next week to talk about existing detailed concept plans for possible uses of the property once the courthouse is demolished.

“We hope to get back in fairly short order with options for this committee’s consideration,” Tkac said. “We’re excited about this moving forward, as well.”

Construction of the new county courthouse is expected to be substantially completed by September 2020 and progress has remained on track, Tkac said.

The County Board voted earlier this year to demolish the existing courthouse once personnel have moved into the new facility. Tkac said the courthouse should be demolished about fall 2021.

Herbert Brooks Jr., the chairman of the committee, said he’d already heard “all kinds” of good ideas about what to do with the current courthouse site, although nothing had been decided officially. Tkac said he hopes to have concept plans ready to submit to the Capital Improvement Committee within about six months.

The committee also heard ideas from the county executive’s office about other potential projects, including the prospect of acquiring a medical office building at the old Silver Cross Hospital site in Joliet.

Nick Palmer, the county executive’s chief of staff, told the committee the facility could be used to store election materials from the Will County Clerk’s Office. He said using the old hospital facility for storage space would free up room in the basement of the Will County Office Building in downtown Joliet, where the materials are now.

Another possibility Palmer floated was using the facility to house the Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County, which is in at leased space on Glenwood Avenue on Joliet’s west side. Palmer said such a move might be helpful since the old Silver Cross is near a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic and a community health center.

Palmer said from the county’s perspective, acquiring the facility makes sense and Silver Cross was interested in selling it. Brooks said the idea made a lot of sense, especially since it would allow the county to reorganize and better use its building space.

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