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Joliet receives prison study grant

4/18/2018, 11:19 a.m.
The Illinois State Historic Preservation Office said that the City of Joliet will receive approximately $40,000 in grant funding to ...

Thetimesweekly.com

The Illinois State Historic Preservation Office said that the City of Joliet will receive approximately $40,000 in grant funding to complete a Conditions Analysis and Structural Assessment on all structures within the 16-acre western compound of the former Joliet Correctional Center.

Grant funding is being awarded through the State of Illinois Certified Local Government Matching Grant program and will cover 80% of the total project costs with the City covering the remaining 20%.

The City plans to issue a Request for Proposals to obtain a consultant to conduct this assessment in the late spring.

The former Joliet Correctional Center, also known as the Joliet Prison, operated for 144 years until the State closed its doors in 2002. The physical condition of the facility quickly deteriorated following its closure however, many of the buildings retain a high level of architectural integrity.

In December of 2017, Joliet secured a five-year lease agreement with the Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Department of Central Management Services that provides the City with control, oversight and temporary usage of the prison grounds and buildings.

“This assessment will help the City and interested parties to determine the condition of each building as well as the cost to stabilize, repair, rehab, and/or demolish buildings,” commented Jayne Bernhard, city planner and staff liaison to the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission.

“The assessment will contribute to the identification of potential sustainable and appropriate reuses for the various structures at this site.”

Through a partnership with the Collins Street Task Force and Joliet Area Historical Museum, the City has made significant progress in its efforts to stabilize, preserve and promote this significant historic resource.

Recent work has included efforts to cleanup up brush and debris as well as catalog artifacts through in-kind donations from local trade unions, businesses and community volunteers.

The City is also partnering with the Museum and the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry on a grand opening event at the prison in late August.