City approves Rialto funding, new courthouse agreements

Brock A. Stein | 1/17/2018, 11:26 a.m.
The Rialto Square Theater will get its infusion of cash from the City of Joliet and projects related to the ...
The Rialto Theater in Joliet. Photo by Brock A. Stein

The Rialto Square Theater will get its infusion of cash from the City of Joliet and projects related to the new county courthouse will move forward after votes by the city council this week.

Under the terms of the intergovernmental agreement with the Rialto, the city will pay half of the $500,000 amount following the approval this week. The second half of the payment, due July 1, comes with several requirements.

First, the theater will have to have booked or hosted at least 30 performances between January 1 and June 30 this year. Performances aimed at school-age children and traditionally held during the day are excluded under the terms of the new agreement.

The theater’s management will also have to provide quarterly reports on March 31, June 30, and December 31 that show its work toward securing a dedicated source of funding. In addition, the theater’s management team will also have to provide a draft plan for its planned property maintenance by July 1 to qualify for the back half of the payment.

Council member Larry Hug was the lone ‘no’ vote against the approval of the agreement.

In addition, the city council this week also approved an intergovernmental agreement with Will County that will clear the way for the construction of a new courthouse and the re-opening of Chicago Street. The reopening of the street has been identified as a key component in efforts to revitalize Joliet’s downtown providing more straightforward access to amenities like the Rialto Square Theater.

Under the terms of the agreement, the county will deed land needed for the re-opening of Chicago Street in addition to handling the removal of asbestos from the current courthouse building at 121 N. Chicago Street. The county will also be responsible for installing new street lighting at the new courthouse location that conforms to Joliet’s decorative lighting standards.

For its part of the agreement, the city will construct a “unified” parking lot from the existing courthouse parking lot and the city-owned lot at Union Station. The city will also be responsible for the demolition of the current courthouse location once construction is completed on the new location which broke ground in December. The county will reimburse the cost for demolition up to $300,000. The city will also receive a parcel of land from the county that sits south of Lafayette St., east of Des Plaines St. and North of the Rock Island train route as part of the agreement.

Joliet city council member Jan Quillman said that the projects have been a long-time in the planning stages.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time,” she said.