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City pushes for progress on McIlvaine house

GENEVA – The city hopes to see more progress on Clifford McIlvaine’s decadeslong home-improvement project as spring approaches.

Kane County Judge David Akemann on Monday granted the city’s request for a continuation of the case until 10:30 a.m. April 12. The city previously had asked for a hearing for demolition or repair of the property at 605 Prairie St.

Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for St. Charles, said installation of the roof has not begun.

“The roof cannot be constructed until temperatures rise,” he said after the hearing. “We are hoping Mr. McIlvaine makes significant progress in the spring. If we fail to see the progress we think we should, we will proceed with our motion for demolition or repair of the property.”

McIlvaine started the project in 1975, and city officials want him to comply with a court order to finish the project. The project was supposed to be completed by the end of September, according to the order.

The city sued McIlvaine in 2010, pushing him to get the project finished. A work schedule later was agreed upon in court. McIlvaine faces a $100 a day penalty for every day he is behind. Luetkehans estimated that if he finished the project in July, he would have to pay $40,000 in penalties, plus attorney fees.

McIlvaine complained to Akemann about the city’s summary of the case in court records.

“I understand that you need a correct statement of the facts,” McIlvaine told Akemann.

McIlvaine recently corrected the plumbing system in his house as ordered by the court and St. Charles city officials. McIlvaine had been warned that he had to prevent his cistern water system from connecting to the city’s water supply or the city would proceed with an application for demolition or repair of the house.

A cistern is a tank for storing rainwater. McIlvaine’s cistern water was tested twice, and one test revealed the presence of E. coli, bacteria that comes from feces.

McIlvaine has signed a court order saying he will not use it for bathing or drinking water, and the city wanted to make sure the system does not pollute city water. He had been jailed for two weeks in August after a previous judge found him in contempt of court.

“We don’t want to put the rest of the homeowners in the city at risk,” Luetkehans said. “We don’t want to risk their health.”

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