She’s Comin’ Down

will county courthouse

By Nick Reiher

After months of grassroots preservationists pulling out every stop to prevent the demolition of the former Will County Courthouse, county officials say the company awarded the contract will begin the process of tearing it down in November.

After County Board leaders recently reaffirmed their 2019 position to demolish the 54-year-old building, the Will County Executive’s Office signed a contract with American Demolition Corporation for $1,488,600, said Mike Theodore, spokesman for Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Now that a contractor has been identified, he said, the Executive Office will meet with the company to establish a detailed timeline. The initial, estimated timeline is that the company will begin mobilizing in November to begin the demolition process, which includes removing building systems and furniture from the building before initiating demolition.

Increased demolition activities will likely pick up later this year or early next year, Theodore added. The contract is all-inclusive, he added, so it includes taking away salvage materials and site restoration, which includes leveling the site, cleaning it up, etc. Also, the monuments on-site will be protected during demolition of the building.

County officials are eyeing the site for a new government building to replace the Will County Office Building at 302 N. Chicago St., originally built as a Sears department store in the early 1960s.

Bertino-Tarrant has released some proposed drawings of what such a new building would look like and would include space for City of Joliet offices, since the city also has outgrown that building on Jefferson Street.

But Joliet officials say they aren’t ready to commit to sharing space, and Will County finance officials say it isn’t the right time to sell bonds for another major project. They still are paying for the recent major capital projects, which include the new courthouse, the Sheriff’s Facility on Laraway and the Health Department building.

Meanwhile, after the former courthouse is razed and graded, county officials say they plan to turn it into greenspace until the time is right to build. They say it will not be a parking lot, as the preservationists fear.

 

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