Mayor Jim Vernier debates spending $400,000 to create an up to snuff shell of the barn property with trustees Kurtz, Burrelsman and Powers. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)
SHILOH – Shiloh trustees fervently debated sinking $400,000 into the old Barn property to get it ready for possible use as a center for the arts. The sum includes mold remediation and necessary demolition, a new roof, a new elevator, and more.
Gary Karasek of U-Studios, based in Swansea, had previously presented to the board the idea of turning the barn property into a cultural arts center that could feature different studios, hold functions such as parties or dance competitions, and possibly include an outdoor theater. Karasek had previously been granted village monies to seek bids for updating the barn.
Six bids were taken for mold remediation and interior demolition with the low bid of $48,700 coming from ServiceMaster based out of O’Fallon. Five bids were taken for replacing the roof, but the low bid differs based on materials. Millennium Construction had lowest overall bid with $254,769 for a metal roof and $189,769 for an asphalt shingle roof. Putting an elevator in the building is expected to cost over $50,000.
Karasek presented the merits of both options with trustee Kurt Burrelsman providing more insight on pros and cons for each material. “These would make it secure, make it so that it would continue to rain inside the building, and make sure the mold is gone, and now you’ve got a shell structure that you can begin to talk to tenants about,” said Village Administrator John Marquardt.
“The question is do we want to put this kind of money into this property? Gary’s project isn’t a given, and if we put this kind of money into it, I feel like we have to do something with that property,” Burrelsman said.
Gary Karasek, architect with U-Studios out of Swansea, presents the
bids for transforming the barn property to the Shiloh trustees.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)
“Here’s my thoughts; This brings the building up, puts a roof on it. If we go this route, we can get to the next step where we can approach people about getting into the space. Yes, it’s going to cost more than $400,000 to get it fully functional. This is park funds, this is tourism funds that we’re going to propose to use for this building. The bottom line is, if the people aren’t there, we still have a very nice up to code building, and we’ve also invested into this neighborhood. That area’s on a big upswing,” Mayor Jim Vernier said. Vernier referenced a multimillion dollar apartment complex and a new subdivision that will be being built in the area.
“We also need a police station. I don’t see anything in front of me that tells me how this village can afford a $2 million dollar police station, put a half million dollars into this building, and not be able to use the building, and still somehow plan to make this building useable. I don’t see where this is a wise use of village dollars,” Trustee Mark Kurtz rebutted.
Burrelsman and Kurtz continued to discuss how much the building would cost the village over the years, including maintenance costs and more. Karasek confirmed, when asked by the trustees, that his current plan would be for Shiloh to foot the utility bill.
Trustee Bob Weilmuenster said he would rather see the building torn down and replaced with a new one. After much discussion, it was imagined that a 10,000 square foot space, fully outfitted for the cultural center, would cost upwards of $1.2 million, and make the project a little further out of reach. Vernier mentioned that a new building would also lack the character of the barn.
“I hope when you run for these positions and you get on our board, that you look not only for our bank account, but also for the growth of our community, the amenities that we’re willing to offer. This is going to be something totally unique. Am I happy about spending the money? No, I’m not, but I do see this as a catalyst,” Vernier said. He continued to mention the added revenue for local shops and restaurants with the flux of people visiting the cultural center.
Marquardt has secured a loan through Commerce Bank that would require biannual payments through the year 2024, and the grand total, with interest included, would be $445,652.90. the payments would come from the parks and tourism accounts.
Trustee Tina Warchol proposed spending $300,000 on upgrades for the building, and the vote was tied with trustees Warchol, Powers and Burrelsman voting yes, and trustees Kurtz, O’Neil and Weilmuenster voting no. Mayor Vernier broke the tie to move the measure forward to the February 4 board meeting.
The trustees and mayor voted in the same pattern to borrow the full $400,000 to have extra funds at the low interest rate of 2.95 percent in case the project runs over, or the village wants to use the funds elsewhere.
In Other News:
- The trustees approved moving forward an amended special events permit application. Among the amendments are extra time, which gives the village 90 days to approve the packet. Village Clerk Brenda Kern said the amount of time was critical to allow for reservation of area parks, and also to allow village and state processing of liquor licenses, but noted that the village always tries to work with applicants if their event is sooner.
- The board unanimously approved moving forward a final plat review for the Circle K gas station located at the corner of Thouvenot and Hartman Lane. The gas station, located on a five acre plot of property with room for other structures, has already been built. “This approval got caught up in the system. It’s unusual, but it does happen,” said Marquardt.
- Central School District will get a Safe Route to School sidewalk that will extend a sidewalk from Hartman Lane to Joseph Arthur Middle School. The project will total $27,746.90, and the school district will be on the hook for any costs over that bid. The board will cast their final vote on February 4.
- A second SRTS measure will be moved forward that sees Shiloh working in conjunction with O’Fallon and St. Clair County to maintain sidewalks in Central School District.
- A containment facility at Yorktown Golf Course in the amount of $11,880 was proposed. The building would house lawn care equipment and also serve as a facility to contain leaks and protect Shiloh from the EPA and Department of Agriculture regulations on such leaks. Kurtz was the sole nay vote for moving the measure forward.
- The village and Dierbergs became official owners of 133 acres of property at Three Springs Shiloh. The village owns and will maintain seven acres surrounding a lake on the property. Dierbergs will be moving forward with development plans.