Yorkville city leaders didn't receive , but now they are seeking offers for the old jail.
Aldermen decided Tuesday to accept bids for the former jail at 111 W. Madison St., which a group of residents have been raising money to restore into a museum for about two years. City leaders will accept bids until 4 p.m. Oct. 23 and will open the bids at the City Council meeting that starts at 7 p.m. that day.
"I think it’s going to get restored quicker in the private sector than we’re ever going to get it," Ward 2 Alderman Larry Kot said. "If somebody out there wants it and fix it up, I’m all for it."
The process will just affect the building, which hasn't been used as a jail since 1992. The city will build and retain ownership of a parking lot there as part of an existing plan to replace parking downtown that will be lost as part of the Route 47 expansion project.
The city bought the building and land with state grant money in 2010. The Department of Transportation gave $96,000 for public parking, while the Illinois Bureau of Tourism chipped in $64,000. Since then, volunteers have provided some rennovations to the old jail and twice hosted haunted houses there as fundraisers for future improvements.
The plan to build a parking lot and museum there formed before Mayor Gary Golinski was elected, and city leaders more recently had been exploring other possible parking locations that might be closer to downtown. But the city needs to stick with the parking plans or risk losing the grant money, Golinski said.
Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo supports selling the building, but cautioned that aldermen are not required to accept any of the proposals that surface in the next 6 weeks.
"When the council bought it years ago, I was pulling the hair out of my head," Colosimo said. "I want somebody to buy this and do something with it. I'm all for seeing what people have to offer. If we don't like what's proposed, we're stuck with it even longer. No harm, no foul."
Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling cast the lone vote against seeking offers for the building.
"It's great to have," Teeling said. "It's a historical building, and I don’t think it’s problem. Fun things are done there, and we can continue to do fun things there if the city wanted to. It's a good asset for the city to have. It's not costing us anything."