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Yorkville putting old county jail up for sale

Updated: September 20, 2012 4:22PM

YORKVILLE — City officials are looking to sell the old Kendall County jail building, even though the city purchased it just two years ago.

Aldermen indicated they think that whatever the future of the jail building or the property is, it is better off in private hands.

“Government should not be in the business of running a business,” said Alderman Carlo Colosimo, 1st Ward, who opposed the city buying the old jail as a citizen two years ago. “If a private entity can make it an attraction, fine.”

Alderman Larry Kot, 2nd Ward, said he thinks in private hands, “it has a better chance of becoming something.”

The city bought the old jail, at 111 W. Madison St., from Kendall County in 2010 for $160,000. It was purchased with a combination of $96,000 from the Illinois Department of Transportation, and $64,000 from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The latter was specifically a tourism grant because the intent at the time was to turn the old jail into a living or interactive museum.

There still will be a parking lot built on an empty lot at the north end of the old jail, as required by the IDOT funding. But the $64,000 tourism grant might have to be returned because it was specifically for tourism land acquisition, according to City Administrator Bart Olson.

Officials said the price the city decides to take for the jail will have to reflect that payback in it.

Aldermen approved taking requests for proposals, similar to taking bids for the building. A purchaser must submit a price and proposal for use of the land.

The city will take RFPs until 4 p.m. Oct. 23, and open the proposals at 7 p.m. at the City Council meeting that night.

The lone vote against sending the RFPs was Alderman Diane Teeling, 4th Ward, who said it did not cost the city money to buy the building, there will be parking there and it’s an historic building “that’s great to have.”

“I don’t think we should sell it,” she said. “It’s not costing us anything.”

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