Preservation News Roundup: January 2019

Below is a roundup of Illinois preservation news stories for the month of January 2019 and updates on some of Landmarks Illinois’ major advocacy efforts. You can also receive these monthly news roundups directly in your inbox by signing up for our newsletters at the bottom of the page.

LI continues to advocate for preservation of former Rock Island County Courthouse

Rock Island officials attempted this month to proceed with the demolition of the Rock Island County Courthouse, but Landmarks Illinois took steps to ensure the historic and architecturally significant 1897 building was not torn down illegally as state and local agencies have yet to issue the required permits. On January 16, LI sent a letter to the Rock Island County Public Building Commission stating the organization was prepared to take legal action, if necessary, to ensure Rock Island was in compliance with laws that protect historic resources such as the former courthouse.

Later in January, a Rock Island judge issued a court order for the immediate demolition of the courthouse – a move Landmarks Illinois reiterated was a failure to comply with state preservation laws. Since listing the Rock Island County Courthouse on its 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, LI has continued to advocate for preservation and reuse of the building. LI has also continued discussions with state agencies, local advocates and city officials this month, including the Rock Island mayor, to protect the historic courthouse from an illegal demolition.

Read more from the news: 

Slow the wrecking ball
Quad City Times Editorial, January 29

RICo must follow the law, the will of the people
Dispatch Argus, January 29

Rock Island will issue order to stop courthouse demolition
Dispatch Argus, January 28

City of Rock Island won’t grant permit to demolish historic county courthouse without state approval
WQAD, January 28

Landmarks Illinois threatens to sue over courthouse demolition
Quad City Times, January 18


2019 Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Schedule Announced

The Illinois State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) released the 2019 schedule for the new Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, which took effect this month.

The schedule includes key dates applicants should take note of, including June 5, 2019, when SHPO will hold a mandatory meeting in Springfield for those applying for the statewide tax credit. According to SHPO, this in-person meeting is required for all Round 1 applicants. See the full SHPO 2019 tax credit program schedule here.

To help real estate, historic preservation and building industries professionals understand new incentives like the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, Landmarks Illinois is hosting a half-day seminar on February 20 in Chicago. The event, hosted by LI’s Real Estate & Building Industries Council (RBIC) will give guests the opportunity to learn about the federal and state historic preservation tax credits and other financial tools available throughout Illinois. Registration and event details available here.

Landmarks Illinois recipient of AIA Illinois Service Award

The AIA Illinois Board of Directors announced in January it would honor Landmarks Illinois at its AIA Illinois Service Awards ceremony. Landmarks Illinois is the recipient of the 2018 President’s Award for the organization’s decade-long effort in advocating for the passage of legislation that created the new statewide Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

The ceremony was originally scheduled for evening of January 30 in Chicago. However, due to weather, it was rescheduled for February 4. Stay tuned for highlights from the upcoming event!

Read more about the award:

2018 President’s Award – Landmarks Illinois
AIA Illinois announcement

Searl, Osmond, Landmarks Illinois Recognized with 2018 Service Awards
AIA Illinois announcement

Yorkville accepting proposals for redevelopment of Old Kendall County Sheriff's Residence & Jail

The United City of Yorkville in Kendall County is accepting Request for Proposals through March 26 for the sale of the Old Kendall County Sheriff’s Residence and Jail. The historic, 5,000-square-foot property was included on Landmarks Illinois’ 2003 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois when it was owned by the county. LI is now assisting the city, which currently owns the property, to market it for rehabilitation and reuse.

The property is located at 111 Madison St. across from the beautiful historic county courthouse and provides a unique opportunity in downtown Yorkville for a commercial, residential or mixed-use project.

The building is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, which provides the opportunity for a developer to use the 20% Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit as part of a redevelopment project. A developer also could apply for the newly established 25% statewide historic tax credit. TIF assistance from the City of Yorkville is available as well.

Learn more at the city’s website.

Landmarks Illinois announces 2019 Legendary Landmark Honorees

Landmarks Illinois will host its 14th annual Legendary Landmarks Celebration on March 7, 2019, at the Hilton Chicago. Every year, the event honors civic and cultural leaders, and earlier this month, LI announced this year’s LLC would honor Wintrust and Murphy Development Group as 2019 Corporate Legendary Landmarks and dedicated civic leaders Judith & Raymond McCaskey as 2019 Legendary Landmarks.

Read LI’s press release on the announcement here.

Registration and event details can be found here.

LI President & CEO Bonnie McDonald on WBEZ's Morning Shift

On January 16, LI President & CEO Bonnie McDonald joined WBEZ Morning Shift Host Jen White to discuss two Chicago area Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that had been nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Unity Temple in Oak Park and the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago are among a total of eight Frank Lloyd Wright-designed sites that were nominated this year. During the Morning Shift segment, McDonald discussed the architectural and historic significance of these two Chicago area buildings as well as Wright’s influence on American architecture.

Check out the full segment here.

State begins much-needed work at Springfield Fairgrounds

Thanks to a $30 million funding package for improvement to the state fairgrounds, approved by the General Assembly in 2018, the Coliseum building in Springfield is now getting much-needed repairs. Landmarks Illinois called attention to the aging State Fairground buildings in both Spring and DuQuoin by including them on the 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.

This past month, the state approved a bid from a contractor to make improvements to the Coliseum building and construction work began. The Coliseum is the largest building on the Springfield fairgrounds, and was designed by W.H. Reeves in 1901. The building was closed in 2016 after inspectors deemed it unsafe. The focus of the current work on the site is the roof. Repairs are expected to be complete in time for the 2019 State Fair in July. Once the building reopens, it will reportedly be called “The Coliseum of Champions.”

The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is also seeking funding for an additional estimated $2 million to $2.5 million required to fix the Coliseum’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Read more from the news: 

‘The Coliseum of Champions’ Slated To Open In July
Northern Public Radio, January 29

Illinois State Fair Coliseum repairs underway
WICS, January 17

Illinois accepts $10M bid to repair state fair coliseum
Associated Press, January 10

Springfield company wins bid to fix fairground’s Coliseum
The State Journal-Register, January 9

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