Hinsdale Arts center’s landlord surprised by vacancy
Updated: July 31, 2012 2:19PM
HINSDALE — Hinsdale officials who lease the village-owned building to the Hinsdale Center for the Arts were not forewarned its closure was imminent.
In mid-July, members of the center’s board talked to village officials about possibly using an additional building in the Katherine Legge Memorial Park for programs, one which previously was used for school district offices.
“We were under the impression they were thinking of expanding,” Village President Thomas Cauley, Jr., said.
On July 13, Village Manager David Cook sent an e-mail to the center’s board asking what type of programs were they thinking of using the extra buiding for, how many people would be occupying it and other questions, Cauley said.
The center’s board also had a copy of a memo the village had prepared in 2009, when the building became vacant, Cauley said. The building was inspected to determine what improvements would be necessary if it were to be used by the public. The building has only one unisex bathroom on each floor and no sprinkler system, Cauley said. The memo reported if the building were to have “a more intense use,” it would need life-safety upgrades that could cost as much as $100,000, Cauley said.
But who would pay for any improvements was not discussed, Cauley said.
“We had not even gotten to the point of how much it was going to cost. The first issue was to figure out what they were going to use it for,” Cauley said. “If they are going to have children in there, I want it to be safe.”
A week after the village sent the email asking about the center’s expansion plans, “I was just stunned to hear they closed their doors,” Cauley said.
The village renewed the center’s lease on its existing building last year. The center pays $10 a year and has that rent locked in through 2015.