Izaak Walton Lodge building in Elgin is set to open as satellite office for Hanover Twp.
By Janelle Walker For Sun-Times Media December 10, 2013 12:56PM
Izaak Walton League members had their Christmas event Tuesday in the newly updated building in Elgin. While Hanover Township now owns the facility on Jay Street, the agreement allows the Ikes to continue using the building for their programs. Submitted photo: Izaak Walton League of Elgin.
Updated: January 12, 2014 6:17AM
ELGIN — For the first time in anyone’s memory, the big stone fireplace in the Izaak Walton League building functions again.
That fix was just one of the $70,000 in renovations and remodels performed in the last six months to get the Izaak Walton League clubhouse ready to become the new Hanover Township satellite office.
On Dec. 17, the township will leave its rental space at One American Way and reopen at the 899 Jay St. location, on the city’s southeast side.
The move is part of a partnership with the Izaak Walton League that transferred ownership of the 1939 lodge to the township while allowing the league to continue using the building for its programs.
The building sits on 11.3 undeveloped acres along Poplar Creek and was costing the club $21,000 a year to operate on just $20,000 coming in, said Tom Stewart, president of the Izaak Walton League of Elgin’s home corporation.
Hanover Township was spending $2,200 a month in rent for the office space at One American Way, off Summit Street.
“We own the property, we don’t have to pay rent. That is a long-term benefit” of the township taking over the building, said township Supervisor Brian McGuire. “We can take the money that we were paying in rent and reinvest in the property itself.”
The new location — in an established Elgin neighborhood and nestled in a wooded area with a creek running through it — also sends a message to the Elgin residents inside Hanover Township “that the township isn’t going anywhere” and is committed to meeting residents’ needs, McGuire said.
About 22 percent of Elgin residents live in Hanover Township, he noted.
“This gives them local access to services,” he added. “They don’t have to travel to the township campus in Bartlett or Hanover Park, and are coming right into the neighborhood.”
In addition to having the fireplace repaired, the township has put in new windows, painted and fixed plaster in the first-floor meeting hall, and repurposed a coat closet to become the receptionist desk, said Tom Kuttenberg, director of community relations.
His office will be in the building’s loft, where a larger window was added to let in more light, and the ceiling raised to building’s height.
That natural light will filter down to the meeting room as well.
More renovations are needed, including the basement-level bathrooms and kitchen, Kuttenberg noted. An elevator or lift will have to be installed to give disabled access to that floor, too, he said.
Those renovations likely will be considered in the 2014-15 budget, Kuttenberg said.
In the meantime, programs offered at the Elgin satellite office include welfare and community health services, senior services and senior programming, and employment assistance, Kuttenberg said.