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Local

New coroner's office, multi-use facility, move forward

Committee members try to pin down financing, what to build

Kane County Administration Committee member Mark Davoust makes a clarification during  discussion of the future location of a new Kane County Coroner's building during a Feb. 13 meeting. The issue was continued at the March 13 meeting, as the committee made more progress toward a multi-use building and possible sale of the Fabyan Parkway property.
Kane County Administration Committee member Mark Davoust makes a clarification during discussion of the future location of a new Kane County Coroner's building during a Feb. 13 meeting. The issue was continued at the March 13 meeting, as the committee made more progress toward a multi-use building and possible sale of the Fabyan Parkway property.

GENEVA – A new coroner’s office with ancillary buildings again inched forward Wednesday as the Kane County Administration Committee agreed to work on financing and the sale of the Fabyan Parkway Property.

After more than an hour of continuing discussion, committee member Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, said he would form a working group to look into the financing to present it as a package at the next meeting.

“I believe the general consensus is that we can build – give or take – a 50,000-square-foot multi-use facility in the budget range of $9 million to $10 million,” Frasz said, with the goal of breaking ground for it by fall.

Last month, one of the issues was putting the coroner’s building, the sheriff’s impound lot and fueling station north of Route 38, as St. Charles residents of the nearby subdivision objected.

No one from the public objected at the March 13 meeting.

Chief Information Officer Roger Fahnestock said aerial photos showed the area south of the jail has extra capacity for the sheriff’s fueling station and impound parking lot – to which the St. Charles neighborhood north of Route 38 had objected.

Another option would be to have officers use fuel cards to buy gas, eliminating the need for a fueling station, Fahnestock said.

Committee members discussed building a coroner’s office and then adding on later, but Frasz said that would increase construction costs by 10 percent to 15 percent.

Board member Mark Davoust, R-St. Charles, said the committee’s consensus is to address this as a multi-use facility with a new coroner’s office “at the top of the list.”

“If we do this piecemeal, it will be more expensive," Davoust said. "We have to continue down the path for a multi-use facility.”

Committee members also tied covering the cost of a new building with the sale of the Fabyan Parkway property, which used to house the jail. The jail has been razed, but the county still has some functions there, including the sheriff’s impound lot.

Fahnestock said brokers he talked to offered "friendly quotes" that the Fabyan property could be sold for as much as $6.7 million or subject to an offer.

“Depending on use, the value of the property changes,” Fahnestock said.

Committee chairwoman Deborah Allen, D-Elgin, said it was possible that 20 years from now, county residents might wonder why they sold such a valuable property.

Board member Thomas Koppie, R-Huntley, invoked Daniel Defoe’s novel, “Robinson Crusoe,” in which “the value of a thing falls squarely within its usefulness.”

“I envision future generations … our children’s children ... What will it be like for them in the future to procure a piece of property like that, to build a school or county hospital or any type of facility that would create an environment for the expanse and education and wellness of our society," Koppie said. "That is why I want to preserve that property.”

But board member John Martin, R-Geneva, disagreed.

“The Fabyan property, as it exists today, is … a waste of resources,” Martin said. “We need to liquidate it.”

Frasz said he has reached out to Geneva officials to partner with them on what could go in that location.

“They would like to see the property returned to the tax rolls,” Frasz said.

Though Frasz was successful in having two resolutions included on the committee’s agenda regarding the building and the Fabyan property, the committee members agreed to table the issues until next month while they work on getting more information.

“Next month, we can maybe come forward with an all encompassing resolution,” Frasz said. “How big is it going to be, and the cost, and a preliminary solution to the financing problem.”

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