By TESA GLASS email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — The former Armory is getting a new look, with the goal to creating the Mt. Vernon Market.
The city council approved an agreement with Richard L. Kirkpatrick for design services for the building, which was deeded to the city in October 2012.
“The request comes from Mt. Vernon Festivals and the Branding Committee,” said City Manager Ron Neibert.
It was announced in December 2011 the building would be turned over to the city after the closure of several armory buildings around the state. The new Armed Forces Center on Shiloh Drive was built and the former occupants of the armory moved to its new headquarters, leaving the armory empty.
The Branding Leadership Team began eying the property for its potential to become the “Broadway Market.” The concept, one of the results of a branding study for the city, would make the building a venue for a destination that would include a market, entertainment and a a venue for shows and festivals. The renovation project was also given approval from the Mt. Vernon Historic Preservation Commission, which issued a vision statement in June 2011 of adaptive re-use of the property to “create a hub of recreation and small business commerce for Jefferson County and surrounding areas.”
Asbestos abatement has been completed on the building, windows replaced and the roof repaired, Neibert has reported. While work has been ongoing, the Mt. Vernon Festivals, Inc., has been using the grounds to host the Market Day flea markets, held on the first Saturday of each month.
“The agreement is for conceptual designs,” Neibert said. “It will determine what is needed to accommodate the uses they have in mind for the building, then the organizations can go out and get help with fundraising efforts.”
In addition, Neibert said a second Illinois Tourism Attraction Program grant application is in the works. About $145,000 in grant funds from the program were used for the asbestos abatement in the Market building.
Under terms of the agreement, Kirkpatrick will provide preliminary design and illustration service in order to depict the proposed activities for the renovated facility. The design is expected to be completed by the end of February at a total cost of $5,150, paid in monthly payments “commensurate to the work performed and submitted...”