Parking lot work in downtown Yorkville begins
By steve Lord email@example.com October 23, 2013 6:50PM
Updated: October 24, 2013 10:50AM
YORKVILLE — Contractors have begun work on a new parking lot behind the old Kendall County Jail, at Van Emmon and South Main streets.
Although it is a block away from Route 47, it is part of the project to widen that state highway through downtown.
The lot will provide parking spaces for downtown to replace some of the ones lost to the widening project. With Route 47 becoming four lanes, there is no room for on-street parking there anymore.
In addition to replacing lost spaces, the lot also will facilitate any use of the old Kendall County Jail. Yorkville bought the Old Jail for $160,000 in 2010, using a combination of grants from Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Bureau of Tourism.
The IDOT funds were available because of the connection to the Route 47 project. The tourism funds were available because it was the city’s intention, and as of now, still is, to have the jail turn into some kind of museum or other tourist-type of use.
About a year ago, the city took bids with the intention of selling the jail to a private user who would renovate the building. The city got one bid, which turned out to be ineligible, so any sale is on hold now.
Also on hold is a move to turn the jail, which was used for about 100 years as the county’s jail, into a museum by a private, not-for-profit effort.
The city delayed having the lot built while it considered other locations for it in downtown that might better serve Route 47 businesses. When all was said and done, the location next to the jail still was seen as about the only place for it.
So, some city officials were glad this week to see work being done on the lot.
“I was excited about the parking lot work getting going,” said Alderman Diane Teeling, 4th Ward. “That is awesome.”
Mayor Gary Golinski said he was “surprised” at how quickly the state’s contractor got moving on the construction. He said he also was surprised how deep they dug into the side of the hill on the old jail property.
“That’s one deep hole,” he said.