By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The city has received a deed from the state for the former Armory property on Broadway.
In December 2011, it was announced the building was expected to be turned over to the city with the signature of Senate Bill 40 by Gov. Pat Quinn. The bill was passed in the legislature after the closure of several armory buildings around the state with the intention of giving the buildings back to the community. The armory on Broadway was abandoned in January 2011, after it was replaced by the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Shiloh Drive.
The bill was signed, however, the deed to the Mt. Vernon Armory has sat on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. According to City Manager Ron Neibert, a signed deed was received this week from the Governor’s office.
“We are looking over the agreement documents and making sure everything is in order before the deed and agreements are presented to the council for action,” Neibert said. “Once it is presented to the council and accepted, it will be sent back to Springfield for execution.”
The Branding Leadership Team has taken on the armory as a “Broadway Market” concept. The Broadway Market would be a venue for a destination that would include a market, entertainment and a venue for shows and festivals. Under current plans, the market would be open Thursday through Sunday and include 50 percent locally crafted arts, goods and gifts, 25 percent locally produced farm goods and 25 percent locally prepared foods.
The renovation project has also gotten the thumbs up from the Mt. Vernon Historic Preservation Commission. In June the commission issued a vision statement of adaptive re-use for the property, stating a community market will, “create a hub of recreation and small business commerce for Jefferson County and surrounding areas.”
But, asbestos abatement would be the first step after acquiring the armory property. A inspection of the property in July revealed the amount of asbestos in the building is estimated to cost $300,000 for removal. In an effort to receive outside funding for the abatement, an Illinois Tourism Attraction Program grant was applied for in August, with the hopes the funding will be granted and would be used toward asbestos removal.