City of Woodstock Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House Advisory Commission met May 15.
City of Woodstock Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House Advisory Commission met May 15.
Here is the minutes provided by the Commission:
A Regular Meeting of the City of Woodstock Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House Advisory Commission was called to order at 7:00 pm by Chairman Dennis Sandquist on Monday, May 15, 2017 in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
A roll call was taken.
Commission Members Present: Lynde Anderson, Jim Campion, Donovan Day, David Stumpf, Joseph White, and Chairman Dennis Sandquist.
Commission Members Absent: None.
Staff Present: City Planner/Staff Liaison Nancy Baker and Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson
Others Present: City Clerk Cindy Smiley
Approval of Minutes:
Commissioner Stumpf requested that the minutes of the April 17, 2017 Regular Meeting be amended to reflect his recognition and congratulations to Commissioner Prindiville upon his election to the City Council.
Motion by J. Campion, second by D. Stumpf, to approve the minutes of the April 17, 2017 Regular Meeting as amended.
Ayes: L. Anderson, J. Campion, D. Day, D. Stumpf, J. White, and Chairman D. Sandquist. Nays: None. Absentees: None. Abstentions: none. Motion carried.
IV. Public Comment
John Kendall, 726 S. Jefferson, Woodstock, noted he has been doing research on the Old Courthouse Project and found that two studies have been done, one by ULI and one by ArtScape, both of which recommended the buildings be held in a private not-for-profit’s hands and be used as a community center. He stated the City has long looked to outside groups on how to do things and opined it is now time the City displays leadership.
Chairman Sandquist announced the agenda for tomorrow evening’s City Council meeting includes the appointment of Jacqueline Lechner, Tom Ellinghausen, and Wendy Piersall to the Commission. He introduced Ms. Piersall who was present in the audience.
In response to a question from Commissioner Stumpf, Ms. Baker noted that Mr. Prindiville’s resignation from the Commission was automatic upon his election to the City Council.
V. Co-Working Discussion
Noting his report, Garrett Anderson stated he, Pam Cumpata, and Nancy Baker, met to discuss co- working as an economic development tool. He noted the impact coworking spaces could have on the small business culture in Woodstock, expenses needed on the building, and funding sources that may be available for these, stating these budgets are available to the Commission.
Mr. Anderson stated the group arrived at some recommendations for future discussion by the Commission, stating they are basically a to-do list
He stated there are various resources to be gathered to present to 25N or another prospect, noting he and Ms. Cumpata are working on the following:
• Amenities Map identifying business listings.
• Available Parking in close proximity to the Old Courthouse.
• Available office space, meeting space, and shared space.
• Drive Time Data – 10, 20, 30 minutes from the Old Courthouse.
• US Census Data on workers who do not commute.
• Advoocates in McHenry County who can refer users to the coworking space
• Proposal for Business Plan from Mara Hauser of 25N.
Mr. Anderson noted some of these may be more difficult to identify and obtain because this will be the first coworking space in McHenry County. He stated Ms. Hauser has been asked to begin thinking about a Business Plan and begin the process of putting a proposal together.
Mr. Anderson then discussed funding for coworking, noting there are is funding and foundation dollars that could be available describing these further.
He stated a timeline would be helpful, opining a target date should be set for the re-use of the upper floor of the Old Courthouse and the Sheriff’s House recommending this timeline be 18-24 months. He also noted the City has so-far heard from only one coworking operation and suggested the Commissioners and Staff visit other coworking spaces to learn if there are any other variations that would be a good fit for Woodstock. He stated Woodstock is a different market than Geneva and Arlington Heights so there may be a different way to operate a cowork space here. He suggested following these visits, a public meeting be held to discuss the cowork idea noting additional information and research is needed before holding such a meeting.
Turning to costs, Mr. Anderson suggested reaching out to representatives of companies with expertise in the major systems of the building, to see if any would be willing to perform an analysis if these systems on a pro bono basis.
Noting Ms. Hauser of 25N requested a digital map, Mr. Anderson stated one of the next steps should be to create a detailed base map of the interior space including room dimensions, window and door locations, and existing locations. He stated this would be useful in the future for others as well.
Discussion of this followed. In response to questions from the Commission, Ms. Baker stated the City has a pdf of a floor plan but not measured drawings. She stated Ms. Hauser indicated she wanted a CAD floor plan which the City does not have. Commissioner White opined any drawings would be proprietary and, therefore, the property of Gary Anderson, the official architect. He opined this would be “messy” and would not work. Commissioner Anderson opined the City has paid for the drawings and owns them. Discussion followed with Commissioner White urging the City to be “up front” with Gary Anderson. Ms. Baker stated the drawings in question are not measured drawings.
Commissioner Stumpf noted previous discussion had taken place around whether the Chamber of Commerce wished to be in a shared cowork space and whether they can help bring businesses into that space. Mr. Anderson agreed, noting Ms. Hauser’s opinion the Chamber’s participation would be key to the project. Commissioner Stumpf opined this should be part of the work plan. He also opined the Chamber should help put together the public meeting and bring the community in.
Discussion of this followed with it being noted this would be similar to the ArtSpace public meetings with one of the goals being to educate the public so they understand what cowork space is. Chairman Sandquist stated this would involve focus groups bringing in different segments of the community to have discussions. He opined it would be appropriate for the Commission to educate itself and learn more to prepare for this.
Discussion followed of the timeline. In response to a question from Chairman Sandquist concerning whether Mr. Anderson’s 18-24 month timeline is realistic, Mr. Anderson stated there must be a target date. Chairman Sandquist agreed but opined the 18-24 month timeline is too ambitious.
Discussion followed of the space needs for a cowork area in the Old Courthouse and how it would work with the arts use. Commissioner Stumpf noted Ms. Hauser opined the arts use would be compatible with a cowork space. Mr. Anderson stated Ms. Hauser has said she did not know the amount of space that would be needed for a cowork space but that she did not believe it would take the entire building which he opined is an advantage. Commissioner Stumpf reminded the Commission of its previous discussions of the desire for an anchor tenant which would manage the building, noting if this is a not-for-profit then the art space users must fit within this plan. He stated his main concern with this use is, is it self-sufficient and can it pay what will be required and noted it would be desirable to him to have a single anchor tenant.
In response to a question from Commissioner Day, Mr. Anderson stated if the City would still be the owner, it would be responsible to adding the necessary infrastructure. Commissioner Anderson reminded those present that Ms. Hauser indicated the ADA improvements would have to be made prior to her firm coming in. Chairman Sandquist noted Ms. Cumpata indicated that would probably be the case for any user coming in. He indicated that as cowork space is within the realm of economic development there may be some grant opportunities available.
In response to a question from Commissioner Stumpf, Ms. Baker stated the Friends of the Old Courthouse informed her they would not be attending this evening’s meeting.
Commissioner Stumpf stated he would like to see some visits to other centers before the next meeting to include people who could provide other proposals. He noted the Commission has received information and opined there may be others. He stated the City should try to obtain presentations and proposals from other entities.
Discussion followed of other possible cowork locations to visit with Beloit and Rockford being mentioned as possibilities. Chairman Sandquist stated he will try to arrange for visits to them and will notify Ms. Baker so other members may attend. He noted his feeling that the Commission should visit and obtain information from locations which are the same type of market as Woodstock rather than Chicago.
In response to a question from Commissioner Stumpf, Mr. Anderson stated statistics can be obtained from U.S. payroll data concerning people commuting from Woodstock to downtown Chicago but not what specific companies they work for. Commissioner Stumpf suggested surveying commuters noting this would give them information concerning potential cowork users and noted 50% of the cowork space was used by large corporations. Chairman Sandquist opined one of the focus groups should be made up of commuters. It was agreed this should be investigated further.
Chairman Sandquist noted there was consensus to 1) follow up on obtaining detailed drawings so that Ms. Hauser may submit a proposal; 2) looking into cowork spaces in the area with similar markets to Woodstock, which he will do.
In response to a question from Commissioner Day, Mr. Anderson stated there is currently no timeline for upstairs repair and renovation as the current budget is still focused on the exterior of the building.
In response to a question from Chairman Sandquist, Ms. Baker stated the CDBG application is for $400,000. Discussion followed of obtaining estimates for interior work with Mr. Anderson again noting Ms. Cumpata is reaching out to contractors for estimates for the mechanical systems. Ms. Baker noted there will be some design work required for this due to the building’s age which could make obtaining pro bono estimates difficult.
Commissioner White opined an architect is needed. He opined what is missing is funding, stating contractors know this is a “black hole.” He noted 25N wants to get paid before they will expend any more time. He stated the Commission can’t be asking for everything pro bono and the City must put some money into it. He opined the Commission must ask the City Council for $25,000, noting they must start allocating money for this.
Chairman Sandquist agreed an interior master plan is needed but opined the use must be known before what is needed in the interior can be known. He stated this includes what the occupancy will be, what is needed for ADA, and how the space will be divided up for example. He stated the use will drive the renovation costs for the interior. He noted it must be determined if there will be separate ADA needs for the jail such as will there be a common or separate elevators.
Commissioner Anderson agreed, stating if a contractor is brought in at this point, the figures will be “all over the place.” He agreed a master plan is needed and stated he has a difficult time seeing one elevator serving both buildings. He stated accessibility will be a major problem, opining it will be difficult to get ADA-acceptable entrances. Commissioner Anderson stated an architect with engineering assistance will be needed, noting most firms have these as consultants. He stated having this information would enable the City to go to a contractor to ask for an estimate. He opined it would not be a help right now to request estimates from contractors.
Commissioner White stated he would like to meet with Gary Anderson so see if he has “the horses” to make this project move. He stated an architect has to start with a concept. He opined the Commission needs to figure out the big questions of what “this thing” is going to look like, for example will it be a complex or two buildings standing alone. He would like to know what Mr. Anderson sees and what his dream is.
In response to a question from Chairman Sandquist as to Gary Anderson’s experience and his dream or vision for this project, Ms. Baker stated he has worked on many historic projects and noted the Commission was established to create the vision
Chairman Sandquist opined the arts use was much more easily understood than the cowork space, noting the art space is more concrete. He stated one question is what is needed to move forward with more planning with this use.
Commissioner Stumpf noted all these things can be done in parallel with the art community working on what this will look like. He opined it is not too early to engage an architect knowing these are the two big things the Commission is looking at. He opined the Commission has enough vision right now, stating the architect should be starting to look at this and coaching the art space group as to what he needs to proceed.
Commissioner Day noted when he worked with Gary Anderson, Mr. Anderson had a passion for the building and described working with him. Mr. Day stated he has seen Mr. Anderson’s portfolio noting his unique talents. He opined that it would be a good idea to approach Mr. Anderson to hear his thoughts about the project.
Following further discussion, it was the consensus of the Commission that Gary Anderson should come before the Commission to discuss his vision for the building and how he would approach the project.
Commissioner White stated he would also like to ask Mr. Anderson about the qualifications of his team regarding structural and environmental issues and sustainability and would like to know who does the firm’s cost estimating.
Commission Stumpf asked if the other firms should be considered.
Commissioner Campion stated he does not feel it is necessary to go that far at this time. He noted he would like to invite Mr. Anderson to come share his thoughts, which would be informative, but not to interview him. He stated he would be comfortable with the City paying Mr. Anderson for the visit.
Commissioner Stumpf asked if Mr. Anderson has a work product. He also asked what Mr. Anderson has done to date and if the City has written reports from him. Ms. Baker noted he has done plans and bid specs for the City and also a baseline analysis so the City could know what needed to be done first. In response to a question from Commissioner Stumpf, Ms. Baker stated an example could be made available to the Commission. Commissioner Stumpf opined the Commission should review these documents before inviting Mr. Anderson to appear. Ms. Baker stated she would make the Phase 1 Window Project plans and bid specifications available to the Commission via Dropbox. Commissioner Day urged the other members to visit Gary W. Anderson’s website.
(At this point in the meeting, the City Clerk left the meeting due to illness and the remainder of the minutes were prepared from Staff Liaison Nancy Baker’s notes.)
VI. Future Use Research Updates and Discussion
Commissioner Day reported that he met with a former owner of the La Petite Creperie restaurant regarding the use of the Sheriff’s House space for a restaurant. The former business owner felt that the space can still be used for a restaurant, however the lack of accessibility was a major issue and that some potential customers could even get into the building due to the front stairs.
Another restaurant owner he spoke with regarding the Sheriff’s House suggested looking at 1776 in Crystal Lake and an example of fine dining in a smaller space.
VII. Downtown Plan Presentation
Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson explained that he is in the process of developing a new Downtown Plan. He highlighted the process and stated that public input is a key component. There are several opportunities for input and he encouraged Commission members to take advantage of those opportunities including attendance at various city commission and local organization meetings, one on one discussions, and a survey on the city website.
Mr. Anderson asked for input regarding the redevelopment and reuse of various properties in the downtown and asked what additional uses the Commission would like to see in the downtown. Commissioner Sandquist suggested a destination hotel and other members also liked that use.
Commission members were also asked to contact G. Anderson if they had any suggestions regarding other downtowns that should be visited for ideas that might be applicable to Woodstock. Commissioners should also contact him if they are aware of data about downtown Woodstock.
VIII. Staff Update
N. Baker reported that the Phase 1 Window Project is officially complete and plans are being prepared for Phase 2 Courthouse Windows and the Sheriff’s House and Jail roofing projects in anticipation of a summer bids. The masonry analysis project has also started.
Motion by D. Stumpf, second by L. Anderson, to adjourn this regular meeting of the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House Advisory Commission to the next regular meeting on Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:00PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Ayes: L. Anderson, D. Day, J. Campion, D. Stumpf, J. White, and Chairman D. Sandquist. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Absentees: none. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.
Organizations in this Story
121 W Calhoun St
Woodstock, IL 60098-3218