River Forest village and park district could share a maintenance garage

If a developer for the former Hines Lumber site wants to use the adjacent public works garage, the village may sell it

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

River Forest village staff has reached out to the River Forest Park District about a potential shared maintenance garage if the village's current one gets purchased as part of a development at the former Hines Lumber site.

The village has not heard recently from any entity interested in purchasing the property at 7820 W. Madison St., said Village Administrator Eric Palm. It's been vacant since Hines closed in August 2009. Sandra Kessler, the listing agent with Prudential Rubloff, could not be reached Monday for comment.

But if a developer is interested in including the adjacent public works garage, the village might sell it and relocate its maintenance operations. Palm said it's "more than likely" they'd invite other taxing bodies to share space at another location if that was the case.

"We would be open to doing some type of joint maintenance facility if that opportunity arises," said Mike Sletten, executive director of the River Forest Park District. The park board has previously discussed ways to acquire more program space. One of the goals of its 2012 strategic plan was to review the feasibility of partnering with the village to buy property outside village boundaries to house a maintenance facility.

Palm said the village may have also brought the idea up to staff at District 90 during a meeting that the groups have once a month, but no formal discussions have been held.

Palm said it's premature to say whether that facility would be a new or existing building, but that it would be less expensive to find something already in use and convert it to a garage.

"That would probably be our preference," he said, but, "it's all contingent upon what happens at Hines." He added the village could use a little more space at their garage, which would need repairs like a new roof and tuck-pointing in the next year if they decide to stay there.

Palm said if no one expresses interest in the Hines site, the village may just put money toward repairs at the garage.

A real estate listing service showed the property under contract in June, but Palm said that no one had contacted his office about a purchase. The property, owned by NorStates Bank in Waukegan, is currently listed at $1.5 million. The asking price was lowered from $1.65 million last month.

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