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Darien to look for grants for new hall

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ANN MARIE AMES
June 21, 2011
— The air-conditioning unit roared, and it was cold inside the boardroom at Darien Village Hall before Monday night’s meeting.

Then the unit was switched off so board members could hear themselves think. By the time the board got to the agenda item about financing for a new village hall, board members were using the agendas as fans.


The board voted 6-1 to direct Village Administrator Diana Dykstra to research financing options for a project that could include razing the village-owned former Protect-all building on Wisconsin Street and renovating the police department and board room at 24 W. Wisconsin St.


Such a project could allow the village offices to move out of rented space at 20 W. Wisconsin St. It also could serve as an anchor for downtown redevelopment, Dykstra has said.


Board member Jim Abbott voted “no.”


Options could include seeking grants but would not include borrowing, Dykstra said.


“We’ve already borrowed what we’re going to,” she said.


The vote does not mean the village is getting a new hall.


“We’re merely looking for options to finance the project,” Dykstra said.


Lake Geneva engineer Ken Etten has collected four estimates from contractors. The estimates range from $1.57 million to $2 million.


IN OTHER NEWS

-- It’s a “trend of the times,” said village board member Cheryl Kaufenberg about her interest in creating an ethics ordinance for board members. The board Monday voted unanimously to direct Village Administrator Diane Dykstra to draft such an ordinance for consideration.


James Duquette, village attorney, said such ordinances are common. They are not meant to limit an elected official’s behavior but rather to give the governing body recourse should an official get into legal or moral trouble, he said.


-- Village board member Bob Wenzel was honored for 20 years of service as an elected official. According to Gazette records, Wenzel served on the Darien Village Board from 1988-992, from 1994-997 and from 2008-present. He also served as board president from 1997-2007.



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