Grumbling Normal Council Grants More Time To Africano | WGLT

Grumbling Normal Council Grants More Time To Africano

May 2, 2017

Engineers expect at least three of the five months of the demolition time required for the ISSCS Administration Building will involve asbestos removal.
Credit Emma Shores / WGLT

The Normal Town Council has decided to give the owner of a deteriorating building more time to tear it down.

Nicholas Africano is missing a Tuesday deadline to demolish the administration building of the old Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children's School at One Normal Plaza.

Alderman Kevin McCarthy says that the years long delay is frustrating.

"We don't want to be sitting here doing this. But, it is what it is. And it seems like this is the only way we're going to get it done," said McCarthy.

McCarthy said this is the second election cycle he has listened to frustrated Beech Street neighborhood residents and it's past time to finish the job.

Other council members went along with the five month extension to the agreement, none happily. Council member Kathleen Lorenz said she didn't want risk sinking more time and money into removing the eyesore by going to court.

"This was for me a shaky deal. And it just got a little shakier. But, it was kind of a no win situation and really the lesser of the two evils," said Lorenz.

Council member Jeff Fritzen said it is prudent to extend the agreement, but it's not an enthusiastic yes vote from him.

Under the deal, the town will pay  Africano a half million dollars in demolition costs. In return, Africano will renovate the school's nearby infirmary building and oversea demolition of the administration building. He will also have the option to buy the administration building lot from the town if he pays the town back for demolition. The town also gets a parcel of land at the corner of Beech and Osage. 
 

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.