Friday, March 26, 2010

Building plans approved

The building plans for the first duplex in the south phase of the Woodstock Christian Life Services expansion have been approved by the City of Woodstock.

This approval is widely expected to trigger the request by WCLS for a permit to demolish Grace Hall. Last year the Woodstock City Council approved demolition of Grace Hall, on condition that WCLS secure approval of building plans for the first duplex in the south phase.

A request from the Woodstock Historic Preservation Commission for Landmark designation of Grace Hall was on a City Council agenda, but it was tabled upon motion by Mayor Sager. The Council has been requested several times to "un-table" the request for landmark status, but it has been unwilling to place it back on the Agenda.

This unwillingness of the Mayor or any member of the Council dooms Grace Hall, and only an administrative action is necessary now for the City staff to issue a demolish permit upon approval.

The only thing now that could halt demolition would be a legal action filed in McHenry County Circuit Court.

Approval of a demolition permit will likely be a rubber-stamp action, probably taking about three minutes of City staff time.

I suspect you can watch for a wrecking ball to soon move into position at 318 Christian Way, just off North Seminary Avenue north of McHenry Avenue (Route 120).

It will be a sad day in Woodstock when Grace Hall bites the dust, and this City Council will be remembered as the Council that let its inaction doom a 100-year-old building of architectural and historic significance. Let's hope the previous contractor got all the asbestos out of the building last year.

On the tombstone of Grace Hall, let the following names appear:
Brian Sager, Mayor
Dick Ahrens
Julie Dillon

Maureen Larson
RB Thompson
Mike Turner
Ralph Webster

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