GALESBURG, Ill. (KWQC) – Plans to have a community and event center in the former National Guard Armory building in Galesburg are shot down, at least for now. The city has been gathering input and exploring options for months. Monday night, council voted to no longer pursue the project at this time.
The decision came after a lot of passionate discussion among city leaders and some input from some residents. Mostly empty for about a decade, many are ready to see something happen with the old armory. However, it seems the community remains divided on what and when that should be.
The building needs quite a bit in upgrades. Nearly $3.5 million from a recent bond sale had been set aside for this project. With no community center in town many argue there’s a big void and it would be something good for families. Others say money could go elsewhere and that taking on such a large project would burden an already strained budget.
“We invest millions of dollars and we have a problem with the budget. Right now, I think it’s like a $1.9 million deficit,” said Alderman Angela Bastian.
“This money was supposed to be meant as a big project. Something that would really show people we are investing in this community,” said Alderman Jeremy Karlin.
Out of several options in front of them the vote was 4 to 3 to no longer pursue the project at this time. The question remains: what happens to the historic building? Council could still decide to use some funds for upgrades like heating and plumbing to at least make the building usable in some way versus not at all. The city manager will also put together a list of other projects where the $3.5 million could go to, such as streets or parks.