Darien officials break ground on village hall
DARIEN—On Friday, Darien officials broke ground on a building that will transform their downtown: a new village hall.
Their partner in the venture?
The United States Department of Agriculture.
For more than a decade, officials in this village of about 1,600 have been trying to figure out how to build a new hall without overburdening taxpayers—and without leaving the downtown.
Currently, the village owns the building that houses its police department on Wisconsin Street. It leases an adjacent building for its village hall.
In 2003, the village bought brick buildings that formerly held the Protect-All Company as a potential location for the hall.
Over the years, the village board managed to set aside $250,000 for the project.
When Village Administrator Diana Dysktra was hired three years ago, officials told her that a new village hall was one of their top priorities.
Earlier this year, USDA officials from Fond du Lac came to the village.
“They toured the village and fell in love with Darien,” Dysktra said. “Usually, small municipalities hire big firms to write grants. They knew we didn't have the money, so they held my hand, and we did it together.”
The result was a $1.47 million loan from the USDA's Rural Development Program and a $50,000 community development grant from the state.
The loan has a 3 percent interest rate and a 40-year repayment schedule, Dykstra said.
The new village hall will be 7,900 square feet—3,994 square feet of new construction and the rest remodeled space, Dykstra said.
“It's really a good tribute to all levels of government working together,” Dykstra said. “Without their support, we would not have been able to make our dream a reality.”
Friday's ceremonies included state Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.