A Western Illinois town works to preserve its architectural history - Listen to Michelle O'Neill's WVIK News Focus.

September  13, 2012

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People driving around the square in downtown Monmouth can hardly miss the dumpsters next to an old, empty block of buildings. In July, the new owner and developer began the long process of turning them into apartments and stores.  On today's WVIK News Focus, a report from Michelle O'Neill who grew up in the western Illinois town.   LISTEN using the audio player to the right.



The last time i visited, the dumpsters were the first thing I noticed. My mother only knew a little about the project. So I called Paul Schuytema, the Director of Community Development. He told me that so far, demolition crews have hauled away THIRTY-FIVE dumpsters FULL of plaster, wood, flooring, and other debris from the interior. The city hired a Cedar Rapids company, Frantz-Hobart, as the developer. He says its employees and contractors need every bit of their experience with restoration. That's because the property is in the nationally recognized Warren County Courthouse Historic District.

The development director says officials from the city, Midwest Bank of Western Illinois, and Monmouth College also selected Frantz-Hobart because it has the capital to invest, AND long term interest in the project. It has bought the buildings and plans to manage the apartments and retail stores after construction is complete. Schuytema is thrilled with the progress so far.  

A couple of the buildings were previously part of the Maple City Candy Company, which closed several years ago. It occupied space where, years ago, many Monmouth residents bought clothing at stores called, "Her Closet," and its brother next door called, "The Model."  He hopes the restoration will be completed, and ready for tenants and retailers, within a year.