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Historic house may be mothballed

24 May 2011 RS 16 Comments

The historic house was built by one of Elgin's founding families The historic house was built by one of Elgin's founding families (Photo by The Elginite).

The cobblestone house at 302 W. Chicago Street (and Crystal St.), which the city bought in 2009, may get boarded up instead of rehabilitated and used as a ROPE house.

Bids for the work were submitted in April. The original cost estimate for the work was $350,000. But the combined low bid for the project came in at $484,860.

That amount, combined with the purchase price, would put the cost of the project at more than $707,000.

Kozal said it would cost less than $1,000 to close up the building temporarily to protect it from the weather and secure it from vandalism. Longer-term costs for such mothballing are still to be determined. The plan then would be to see if any locals will take up the cause to renovate the property. (Courier 5/24/2011)

I may be mistaken, but for some reason I think that’s actually the oldest standing house in Elgin, and one of only a few remaining cobblestone houses. It’s a shame if it will not be restored.

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16 Responses to “Historic house may be mothballed”

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  1. Crysta says:

    I agree we should try to restore and preserve this house, but at what cost? Part of the reason the original estimate was so high was because the city wanted to make it a showcase for green technology and apply for full LEED certification. While an admirable goal, I’d be happier if my tax dollars were spent elsewhere. How much would it cost to just restore/rehab the home without the full greening? If a private citizen or group wants to donate the difference to use all green technology and materials, certainly let them.

    • RS says:

      Yes, seriously, enough of this LEED nonsense.

    • Craig says:

      Exactly. I’d like my house rehabbed and “greened up” too, but I don’t expect anyone but me (or my landlords) to pay for it. Causes like this are what volunteer groups and private funding are for.

      In the long run, getting the city involved only stymies further development of these types of groups, which do much more with much less.

      The city should stick to what it does best: Moving snow and outsourcing garbage pickup.

      • RS says:

        If they need a ROPE house anyway, it makes sense to pick a historic house that can use the rehab. But there’s no reason to make a ROPE house an environmental showcase.

        • Paul says:

          Nearly one million dollars for one ROPE house. HOW MANY POLICE OFFICERS COULD YOU HIRE for $1M? The ROPE house does what, exactly?

  2. Jules says:

    Maybe they could move the structure to a location for historic buildings, board it up and work on it at that location. At the Chicago St. site, they could build a prefab house for the ROPE officer(s). In Plato Center, they moved the Depot and in Lily Lake, the General Store was moved by private owners. http://www.platotownship.com/plato_park_main.htm

  3. Forget about it. Use it for fill in the Riverwalk. Return it to field stone.

    • paul says:

      Ask chuck about his involvement in that, Ed.

      Only after Chuck’s repeated whining about getting a ROPE officer in his neighborhood did the City ’sneak’ that boondoggle in, proving squeaky wheels do indeed get the oil. Thankfully, almost sane people finally decided a million dollars for a ROPE house wasn’t quite right and so now a once taxpaying property sits boarded up.
      Scuttlebutt has it that Fitz-Wiliams was fired over that.
      Irony is that the city spent another boat load of money re-habbing another house right around the corner from Chuck on South Street which has sat empty after re-hab for at least 2 years now. I was told it was broken into and the copper piping was ripped out of the walls and the appliances were stolen, since the rehab.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Paul, while you are bad mouthing me, why not add another one to your list? You forgot to tell everyone how crazy I was to spend $23,000 of my own personal money, without any city grants, to put a porch on the house at 326 South Street. And I have no financial interest in that house and didn’t collect a penny of compensation from anyone for my work. And making Chuck even crazier, he spent about half of that money AFTER he was laid off. That Chuck is a real nut job! Chuck

        • That’s not quite true Chuck. I bought you lunch at the Golden Corral because you are such a nut case, Don Quixote for sure. You are an honest person and I still wish you would run for Mayor of Elgin. My exwifes would roast me if I tried to run for political office. And so would Vincent Cuchetto come to think about it. Ed

  4. Council approved ?? Recycle the fieldstone or Big project for Community Service a.k.a. Slave Labor.

  5. If a private citizen owned this historic house, how much time would the City of Elgin / Code give them to fix it up ?? 90 days. ? Surely not 3 years.

  6. One Vote says:

    I stand with Chuck.
    He cares about things. The railway park. Crime in his neighborhood. Candidate forums. Speeches at council meetings. ROPE houses. Conservation. Political loyalty.
    You critics ought to try getting involved like Chuck does.
    Sure, the stone house was destined to fail. It’s worth saving, but not the way the city does things. Just think of all the cash they dumped into those foreclosed homes. What a waste of $2 million in grant money. The stone house is the same thing. It could have been flipped for far less and been a viable project. But government doesn’t think that way. That’s not Keysor’s fault.

    • I also stand with Chuck. The problem is he will not run for office. If he did, he would have two votes. One as a private citizen and one as Mayor. Don Quixote for MayoR.

  7. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thanks Ed, One Vote, AND Ed again! I greatly appreciate your affirmation. Chuck