Creston board: New library plans being scaled back due to unexpected funding gap

At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Creston Village Board of Trustees heard an update from Creston-Dement Public Library Board President Doug Kroupa on the status of the planned new library in the village.

Village approves donation for Creston Booster Days fireworks

CRESTON — At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Creston Village Board of Trustees heard an update from Creston-Dement Public Library Board President Doug Kroupa on the status of the planned new library in the village.

A referendum passed last June that allowed the Creston-Dement Public Library District to issue $2.2 million in bonds to build a new library building at the corner of Main and Cederholm Streets on land that was donated years ago for a new library. The library district went out for bids for the project in April and received bids of around $3.1 million, Kroupa said. 

The library was unable to accept any of those bids due to an $800,000 grant from the State of Illinois that it planned on receiving that won't be funded by the state, Kroupa said. The library district is currently scaling back its plans for the new library and doing redesigns that will make the project about a third smaller. Kroupa said another bidding process is planned for October or November. Library officials originally hoped to start work during early summer 2023.

"We're pinching pennies in every way, shape and form that we can to make sure that we're still meeting the functions that we need," Kroupa said. "We've completely excluded any of the money that would be coming from the state. If they fund it, fine. If they don't, we really don't care anymore. We're going with the $2.2 million that the referendum passed for and making sure we can construct everything."

Redesigns have included less parking, less signage and the possibility for future expansion being left open. Kroupa said nothing in the plans that has to do with safety or security will be altered in redesigns. The library's land footprint will stay the same.

The price of the library is expected to cost $275-325 per square foot.

"That sounds like a lot of money, but a typical library is ranging from $750-1,000 per square foot," Kroupa said. "If you go to Rockford, they're a little bit higher than that."

Kroupa asked the village board for possible variances on the new library including waiving a requirement for a dumpster enclosure, and some electric and parking issues along with waiving building permit fees. Village President Tom Byro said Creston's engineer and building inspector would look at the redesigns and come up with answers, but no problems with those requests are foreseen.

Kroupa said it's possible construction on the new library could start in November if the process moves fast enough.

Fireworks

The board voted unanimously to donate $3,000 for the Creston Booster Days fireworks this year. Booster Days is scheduled to take place in the village Sept. 15-17.

Last year, the village donated $2,500 for the fireworks. The total cost of the fireworks this year will be $6,000, which is $500 more than last year. The fireworks show will be the same as last year.

"I heard a lot of comments from especially out-of-town people on how good they were last year," Village Trustee Curt Ward said.

Development

Byro said a developer is looking at land along Illinois Route 38 within village limits to put up four warehouses. The village has had conversations with the developer already.

Byro said Creston has been trying to get ahold of representatives from the Lee-Ogle Enterprise Zone to see what incentives could be available for the developer.

"There's money there," Byro said. "These people are interested in getting something going out there. We are working on that."

Water leak

Byro said the village is currently working to determine the source of a large water leak near the Creston Commons subdivision. The village is using 20,000-30,000 more gallons of water per day as it was at this time last year, almost twice as much as last year. American Leak Detection and village officials plan to work to locate and remedy the leak. The cost to locate the leak will probably be around $2,000.

"Hopefully we can get this thing figured out," Byro said. "We're losing water. How long we've been losing it, I don't know. I sure hope we can figure out something."

Properties

Village Attorney Russell Crull provided an update on the six properties that the village is trying to get cleaned up. Two of the six properties brought themselves into compliance to have litigation dismissed and another will come into the village's ownership once the village pays to have buildings on it demolished. Two other property owners have had default judgments against them in court and demolitions can occur at the village's expense for those as well. One property remains active in court, Crull said.

Demolitions would be done at the village's expense and it would look to recoup those costs through liens on the properties.