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Local News

Will County Board approves courthouse financial agreement with Joliet

Board also approves competitive bid process for Eagle Building demolition

JOLIET – Both the Will County Board and the Joliet City Council have signed off on a long-sought intergovernmental agreement in which the city will contribute $10 million to the county’s courthouse project as an incentive to keep it downtown.

The County Board unanimously approved the agreement Thursday, with board members Gretchen Fritz, R-Plainfield, and Steve Balich, R-Homer Glen, absent.

The Joliet council agreed earlier this week to chip in $500,000 annually for 20 years to help the county pay back bonds associated with the multimillion construction project, estimated to cost about $160 million.

The new courthouse would be built just west of the existing courthouse on the former First Midwest Bank property.

County Board Democratic Caucus Chairman Herbert Brooks, D-Joliet, said the agreement “paves the way” for an exciting time for both the city and the county.

It sets in motion the city’s plans to revitalize the downtown area, he said. Brooks said the County Board’s Capital Improvements Committee will begin discussions next month about Joliet’s desire to open up Chicago Street – the city’s main street downtown that was cut in two sections decades ago by the county’s judicial complex.

A deal could take place this spring so city officials can begin design and engineering work on the project.

Eagle Building demo

The County Board on Thursday also authorized the Will County executive’s office to competitively bid out the demolition of the three-story Eagle Building at 20 W. Washington St. in Joliet.

The antiquated building could be torn down as early as this spring, and will be followed by the creation of additional surface parking this summer, said Dave Tkac, deputy chief of staff for Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr.

The building, which has long housed county sheriff’s offices, is no longer needed, and the county has plans to construct a new sheriff’s facility on Laraway Road.

Asbestos removal will be required before demolition of the building. Previous base-level estimates from the county executive’s office ranged between $250,000 and $450,000, but other factors unique to the building may increase overall costs.

Tkac said bids are due Feb. 2.

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