DANVILLE – Potomac officials are starting the new year in a new village hall that also will serve as a police station and community center.
"It was just something we needed," said Mayor Rodney Rogers.
Construction was recently finished on the 4,000-square-foot facility located in Potomac's park, except for some work that remains in the center kitchen.
Village officials began moving into the building about two weeks ago, and the village board is conducting its January meeting there with a public open house beforehand.
The village secured a $384,000 federal loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development program to pay for most of the project, which totaled more than $400,000, Rogers said. The village will pay back the loan using telecommunications tax revenue, he said.
Potomac's loan was part of $54 million in funding in 2005 that flowed to various towns in the 15th Congressional District in Illinois from the rural development department, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana.
In the past, Potomac police operated out of an office at the waterplant, and the village, including the clerk and the village board, shared space in the town's library. Also, there was no community meeting facility.
Rogers said village officials hope the new community space, which makes up about 3,000 square feet out of the 4,000-square-foot building, will be used for a variety of events.
The center also features a 1,200-square-foot, covered patio.
Rogers said the village board wants Potomac-area residents to have input on how the community center can be used.
"We're really looking for ideas from the community," he said. "We really encourage people to come to the meeting and give us ideas about how they would like the community center used."
He'd like to see daytime senior activities, such as bingo and euchre, as well as wedding receptions, birthdays and other private events held there. The facility will be free to nonprofit groups, although there's a rental fee for private uses, he said.
A committee will be formed to oversee the use and rental of the community center. Rogers said they have some preliminary rental rates, but they have not yet finalized them.
In addition to the village clerk's office and an office for the police department, the building has a sound system and a full kitchen in the community center portion. But village workers still need to install cabinets and a sink in the kitchen, Roger said.
"We really didn't have a building like that for rent in the winter time," said Rogers, who added that every town needs a community center.
The new building is the first of a few improvements to the community. In the same park next to the new building, a baseball diamond will be built and completed by May, Rogers said.
Also, some free-standing restrooms will be converted to a shower house, particularly for campers with recreational vehicles who use the 28 campsites in the park, which features road access to the Vermilion River. And new playground equipment will be installed this year, too.
Even with all the changes, Rogers said the village board wants more input.
"We really encourage everyone to come to the meetings to give us ideas," he said.