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Elgin Tower Building elevators pass inspection

The ElgTower Building. | Sun-Times Media~File Photo

The Elgin Tower Building. | Sun-Times Media~File Photo

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Updated: March 21, 2013 6:28AM

ELGIN — The Tower Building in Elgin passed long-overdue elevator inspections Tuesday, averting the possibility that the city would close all but its first floor for business.

In an email sent out Tuesday afternoon, Neal Pitcher, head of the William R. Stickling Foundation that owns the 15-story downtown building, wrote, “Both of the Tower Building elevators were tested today and both passed the tests perfectly. They are both now current. At some point over the next month or two, the city will bill us for the new registrations and issue new inspection cards to be placed in each elevator.”

The inspections were conducted by Thompson Elevator Inspection Service of Mount Prospect.

Downtown Neighborhood Association Board President Karin Jones said a $1,544 donation from someone on the DNA board of directors was made to the foundation to cover the inspection’s cost, with the money paid directly to Thompson for Tuesday’s work.

“This was an effort to try and avoid disruption to businesses located in the Tower Building,” Jones stated in an email.

The city had told Pitcher last week that it intended to require tenants on all but the first floor to vacate the building this week if the inspection was not done by last Friday.

The foundation was eight months behind meeting inspection deadlines on one elevator and two years on the other, said Marc Mylott, Elgin’s community development director.

The city relented somewhat on Monday, allowing the yearly inspection to be done Tuesday morning.

Another inspection

Mylott stated in an email that the Tuesday test was the annual one and that the elevators are still due to have a five-year inspection completed by May. Pitcher told The Courier-News on Monday that he hopes to have those done by Friday or early next week.

Last Thursday Pitcher stated in an email to building tenants that Jones had called him, “advising me that a member or members of DNA’s board of directors have offered to personally contribute the $8,500 that we need to have the five-year elevator inspection done. The Stickling Foundation will treat this as a loan.”

The DNA’s office is on the first floor of the Tower Building, 110 E. Chicago St. As for why the donor wishes to remain anonymous, Jones stated, “Our board of directors and staff are committed to the mission of our organization. The contribution was a gesture of that commitment, not an opportunity for self-promotion. DNA is fortunate to have staff and volunteers that share a passion for our downtown.”

Along with the inspections for its manually operated elevators, the Tower Building faces a looming deadline for modernizing them. Last decade, the State Fire Marshal’s Office mandated that the two elevators become automated by 2015, something those who oversee the building say will cost about $250,000.

According to the Tower Building’s website, the Art Deco structure was built in 1929 as a bank and savings and trust and opened just months before the start of the Great Depression. It was added to the U.S. Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places in 2002. The Tower is rendered on Elgin’s “The City in the Suburbs” logo, which was created in 2010.

The organization currently overseeing the building is named after the late Bill Stickling, who bought the 15-story limestone and concrete building in 1978 and owned it until his death in 1999. Stickling formed his foundation in 1997 with attorney Ted Meyers — whose law firm had an office in the Tower Building — and Pitcher, who used to work for Meyers.

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