Orion Village Board: existing building renovations no longer an option

Mindy Carls
Orion O

Renovating and expanding the existing village hall is no longer an option for Orion, village board members decided on Monday, Jan. 17, during a Zoom meeting.

The village could spend $1 million on renovation but not be able to enlarge the building, Lee said.

Mark Lee, branch manager of Klingner and Associates, Galesburg, said his firm considers the other two options to be “nearly a tie.” One is buying and renovating the former Peterson building on Fourth Street, and the other is erecting a new building on the former bowling alley site.

Funds from selling village hall could help pay for renovating the Peterson building, or erecting a new one, Trustee Steve Newman said.

Selling village hall would affect the Orion Area Food Pantry, which has its office and food stocks in the building. The village would work with churches and schools to find a new home for the food pantry.

“Nothing says the food pantry has to be in village hall,” Trustee Mel Drucker said.

Orion is looking for an ADA-compliant floor plan with offices, a conference room and more storage than the current village hall offers.

The Peterson building used to house a car dealership, then Peterson Frame and Alignment and Orion Auto Parts. Lee said his firm recommends demolishing the livery at the back. Making it usable would be too expensive.

Orion would have to buy the Peterson building but already owns the former bowling alley site.

Renovation of the 7,600-square foot Peterson building would cost about $1.6 million, Lee estimated. It is downtown, in a location convenient to residents. A new building on the east end would have 8,600 square feet and cost $1.8 million but need a lift station.

Lee said his company recommends the less expensive option unless location is a factor, and the Peterson building has a better location. Also, a new building is a sure thing with a lot less uncertainty.

The village has applied for a grant from the Rebuild Illinois Main Street and Downtown Capital Program and should hear in three months if it will receive the money, Village President Jim Cooper said. Board members will not decide which option to pursue until the village learns if it will receive the grant.

Board members will discuss the options at the next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7. Check the website, orionil.org, to see if it will be a Zoom meeting.

In other business

• The board reviewed discrepancies between inside and outside water meters in Orion homes. Trustees want more information from Water Superintendent Arnie Sundberg at the Feb. 7 meeting.