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Huntley trustees in favor of Route 47 event venue proposal

HUNTLEY – Barb Lincoln said she dreams of having her children and their friends get married in an old rustic barn that has a lot of character.

Lincoln and her husband, Chris, decided to buy 2.75 acres of farmland at 8401 Route 47, and they hope to turn it into an event venue for weddings, graduations, reunions and more.

The barn has a history dating to 1957 as a dairy farm owned by the Heimsoth family, and it became part of a tree-trimming business in 2003, Barb said.

“We walked into the barn and were like, ‘This is it – this is awesome,’ ” Barb said. “Our kids are all college-age right now, and we know they are going to be getting married soon. It would be great if all of our kids and their friends could get married there one day, and it’s a business our kids could take over one day.”

They bought the property in October 2016, and it took six months to renovate the single-family home to live in. Since April, the family has worked on removing dilapidated buildings and cleaning the grounds.

Huntley Village Board members spoke positively of the idea at Thursday night’s meeting, but they warned of the large amount of work it’ll take to bring the venue up to code.

“I urge you to go ahead, but I’d like to see plans for the buildings because they are really dilapidated,” Trustee Harry Leopold said.

Barb hopes the Lincolns can open the venue by next summer, and they will start by renovating existing farm buildings to use for smaller events before tackling the large barn.

“We are having an investors’ meeting once we get the green light from the village, and we’ll see if we can get enough funding to renovate the big barn right away,” Barb said.

The biggest costs will include installing a sprinkler and fire suppression system as well as a new septic system for the bathrooms in the barn. The barn also will need new electric work, a tin roof, heating and air conditioning, and a handicap-accessible entrance.

“I’m excited to get this thing going,” Trustee Niko Kanakaris said. “It’s a creative idea, but I’m in the restaurant business, and this is going to be a big project. I hope you are able to pull it together.”

Until a septic system is installed, portable restroom trailers would be brought in for events.

The property is zoned as a residential estate district and would need to be amended to include “agribusiness” as a special use.

Parking for the venue is proposed for open grassy areas at the rear of the property, but several trustees said they’d prefer to see gravel lots instead because of mud or ice problems during bad weather.

Because the land is on Route 47, site plans will have to get approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The location will include outdoor fireplaces, landscaped patios and bride and grooms’ rooms to get ready in.

Chris Lincoln has experience in the construction industry and a degree in finance, and Barb Lincoln has a degree in interior design and has worked to decorate homes for the past 20 years, according to village documents.

Only one event will be planned a weekend, and the couple is looking at charging from $8,000 to 10,000.

“People are already contacting us to see if we can host events,” Barb said.