Sugar Grove to move Village Hall

By on June 23, 2014
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Photo: This building, 140 S. Municipal Drive, will soon serve as the new Sugar Grove Village Hall. Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale

Relocation will allow for Police Dept. expansion
SUGAR GROVE—The village of Sugar Grove last week purchased two new buildings. The plan is to move Village Hall into the recently acquired location by fall, giving the Police Department room to expand, and starting up a small business incubator.

“The police have been in a space crunch for more than 10 years,” Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said. “On the administration and finance side, we have adequate room, but the police don’t. And with the jail cells and other functions they have set up, it’s much easier for us to move than for the police to move.”

The buildings, located at 140 S. Municipal Drive and 160 S. Municipal Drive, were originally part of a planned five-building professional office park that developers never finished. Only two were built before the economy collapsed in 2008.

It’s a far cry from the original plans the village had made to construct a new police station on the northwest corner of Route 30 and Municipal Drive. Architectural plans were drawn up and the land purchased in 2006, but the station itself was never built because of the recession, a decision that Sugar Grove Police Chief Pat Rollins said was the fiscally responsible one.

Though the village still owns the land, building a new police station isn’t financially feasible at this point, Rollins said. When the two professional office buildings became available, Sugar Grove purchased them, along with the land, the parking lot and pads for three more buildings, for $975,000.

The location is ideal, Eichelberger said, because the buildings are directly across from the Sugar Grove Library, close to the current Village Hall, as well as the police and fire departments.

Each building is 6,000 square feet, but only 3,000 square feet of the interior in each building is finished. The remainder is roughed out space—still with gravel floors and without plumbing or drywall—that the village plans to use as storage now and finish later, as Sugar Grove grows.

“We don’t need all the space right now, but it was kind of a package deal—the buildings and the parking lot,” Eichelberger said.

The building at 140 S. Municipal Drive will be the new Village Hall. Both the administration and finance departments will move into it, and Community Development, which is currently housed at 601 Heartland Drive, will eventually move into the building to unite all the village functions. Community Development was once housed in Village Hall, but got pushed out several years ago as the Police Department expanded.

Space has been so tight within the Police Department that the police no longer have interview rooms where they can speak with victims or question suspects, Rollins said, and have been doing interviews in the Village Board room. The garage that used to hold squad cars has been turned into office space. Even the holding area, where prisoners are kept before they can be moved to the Kane County Correctional Center, is currently doubling as storage.

New interview rooms are high on the priority list, Rollins said.

“State law is now requiring that when bringing somebody into custody, the statements have to be audio and videotaped, and more statutes have been added,” he said. “We need to make sure we have interview rooms set up so that we can follow the mandate of the state.”

Space restrictions have also hampered the department’s ability to host investigations alongside the Kane County Major Crimes Taskforce, Rollins said.

“Now, when something happens in Sugar Grove, we’ll be able to handle it here, and we can bring the investigators here to work because we have the space,” he said.

The new Village Hall at 140 S. Municipal Drive will need some remodeling before the administration can move in, Eichelberger said, because the building is currently designed to hold medical offices. The building at 160 S. Municipal Drive will become a small-business incubator.

“We hope to make quite a bit of it available for lease for small, growing start-up businesses,” Eichelberger said. “The village is not doing this to be in competition with private landlords for customers. We want to create customers for them. Especially in those initial growth stages, if someone started a business out of their house and are at the point they could use a professional office space, the goal is to provide a less expensive space for them, and after a couple of years, it’s time for them to move out and open that space up for somebody else.”

Small businesses that lease office space will have access to a shared conference room, kitchenette and restroom. Sharing them among several businesses reduces the cost, Eichelberger said. Since the village envisions leasing space to start-ups, most of the offices available will be single offices and some office suites, which would have room for an administrative assistant outside a private office.

The space will be leased out at below-market rates, Eichelberger said, and businesses will need to meet several requirements.

“If we’re going to provide slightly below market space, we want to make sure these businesses have the best chance of success,” Eichelberger said. “So we’re working with the Waubonsee Small Business Development Center to make sure the businesses are working with them, to make sure they have a viable business plan. The concept would be that one of the conditions of leasing here is that you need to work with the Waubonsee center, to increase the odds of success.”

Eichelberger said that the incubator was such a perfect opportunity for small businesses that he “expects the phone to be ringing off the hook.”

The unfinished areas of both buildings—a total of 6,000 square feet—will serve as storage, since Community Development has large quantities of files that need to be kept accessible. Whether it’s more cost-effective to finish out the space now or later is under investigation, Eichelberger said.

“What we need to say in the long run is, how should that space be finished out to meet the needs of the village? What is the most cost effective way to finish it out? One phase? Two phases?” Eichelberger said. “Ultimately, we’d like to have the board room in that building, but we have a perfectly functional board room right now. Could the police expand into that board room? Or can we wait a year or two? At some point, we anticipate bringing Community Development back in. But does that need to be done now?”

The new Village Hall should be ready to move into in four to six months, Eichelberger said, and then the Police Department will be able to start its renovations afterward.

“I think this is going to bring us even further into the 21st century,” Rollins said.

About Cheryl Borrowdale

Cheryl Borrowdale is a freelance reporter for the Elburn Herald. You can reach her at cborrowdale@elburnherald.com.

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