Metro-East News

The Red Barn was going to be demolished. Now there’s a ‘shred of hope’ for saving it.

Shiloh trustees debate ‘Red Barn’ renovation

In 2017, the Shiloh Board of Trustees debate the idea of spending $400,000 to turn the Red Barn on Country Road into a cutural arts center. That idea eventually was rejected.
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In 2017, the Shiloh Board of Trustees debate the idea of spending $400,000 to turn the Red Barn on Country Road into a cutural arts center. That idea eventually was rejected.

The village-owned Red Barn has gotten a brief reprieve from Shiloh officials, who decided this summer to tear it down but now are considering one last development proposal.

They aren’t revealing the name of the developer or type of project. A final decision is expected in the coming weeks.

“Someone has been working on an idea, and it would be a neat thing if it happened,” Mayor Jim Vernier said. “But we’re not sold on it 100 percent. The board and I are waiting for more information.”

The village already has received bids for the barn’s demolition, and that path could be taken at any time, the mayor said. The low bid was $38,600.

The former dairy barn at the end of Country Road dates back to the early 1900s. It was renovated in 1984 for a restaurant, and it later housed a string of other eating and drinking establishments before the village bought it in 2009.

Today, the barn has boarded-up windows, structural problems and mold and water damage from a leaky roof. Some people consider it a local landmark; others call it an “eyesore.”

Red Barn RK.jpg
Officials are considering one last proposal for development of the Red Barn in Shiloh before proceeding with plans to demolish the local landmark. It was built in the early 1900s as a dairy barn and later housed a string of restaurants and bars. It’s been owned by the village of Shiloh since 2009. Progress file photo

“If we could save the barn and create some activity, that would be better for the neighborhood than a vacant lot,” Vernier said, noting that is why the village Board of Trustees agreed to postpone demolition and consider the 11th hour development proposal.

“I guess you could say there’s a shred of hope out there,” the mayor said.

The village bought the historic barn for $185,000, which included 8.3 acres of land. It was once used to store public works equipment, holiday decorations, fencing and barricades, but it has stood vacant for more than five years.

Trustees have considered several proposals for private purchase or development and even looked at turning the barn into a cultural arts center, but they haven’t been able to agree on a project that’s suitable, affordable or realistic.

In June, the board voted for the second time to seek bids for demolition. The first was in 2016.

“It is what it is,” Vernier said in June. “We’re just done with it all, and we’re going to move on now.”

The barn has three levels — 6,300 square feet on the first floor, 2,200 square feet on the second floor and 1,600 square feet in the basement. The property was reduced to about 5 acres when the village expanded the size of nearby Sierra Park and rented a small patch of land to AT&T for a cellphone tower.

Teri Maddox: 618-239-2473.
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