The Lutheran Child and Family Services building on Madison Street | Alex Rogals

Action by the River Forest Village Board at its March 13 meeting is expected to restart the process of demolishing the Lutheran Child and Family Services (LCFS) building at 7612-20 Madison St., but not until next month.

The village board voted unanimously to award a contract to Husar Abatement Ltd. of Franklin Park for $51,719 to remove previously hidden asbestos in the LCFS building, the discovery of which in February led River Forest officials to interrupt demolition work that began in January.

Matt Walsh, interim village administrator, said demolition work cannot resume until after the asbestos removal project is completed, and that will not start until the village receives a permit from the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability, which he estimated would take 10 days. Once the permit is issued, he said Husar Abatement would need up to 10 business days to remove the asbestos.

Husar Abatement’s bid was the lower of two received. Walsh said village staff members had informed 20 firms of the opportunity to bid but speculated the shortened timeline of eight days impacted other firms’ ability to submit.

Removal of known asbestos, which was completed in November, was based on an inspection in October 2017 that showed the presence of asbestos but was “preliminary in nature, with no partial demolition to find hidden asbestos.”

Walsh said previously that there still is “a good amount of asbestos” that needs to be removed.

Demolition of the LCFS Building and single-family homes at 11 Ashland Ave. and 10 Lathrop Ave. was approved by the village board in September when officials awarded a contract to Anthem Excavation and Demolition of Itasca for $284,000. 

The demolition costs will be covered by a grant for up to $350,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development. Walsh said previously that the grant would cover the asbestos removal cost as long as it was under $66,000. 

The three buildings to be demolished have sat empty since they were purchased by the village, the LCFS building in 2017, 10 Lathrop in 2018, and 11 Ashland in 2019. 

The village actively marketed the site for redevelopment, but officials did not receive any viable proposals, leading to the decision to demolish the buildings in the hopes developers would be drawn to the site once it is cleared.

The two houses will be demolished after the LCFS building goes down, he said. Once all three buildings are demolished, topsoil and seed blanketing of the site will take place, weather permitting.

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