A former savings and loan building in East Alton made the list for the most endangered historic sites in Illinois.
Citizens Savings and Loan Association Building has stood on the cutout of a hillside on Berkshire Boulevard for decades. The building’s main entrance is connected to the sidewalk by a suspension bridge that once crossed a reflecting pool.
But now the building is on Landmarks Illinois’ list of most endangered buildings. The round, futuristic building has suffered years of deterioration, vandalism and lack of care, according to Landmarks.
A private owner donated the building to the village of East Alton last year, and in February, the village considered demolition, due to its poor condition and failure to sell.
“Despite their initial plans for demolition, the village has been receptive to partnering with Landmarks Illinois, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and local advocates to explore reuse options,” read a statement from Landmarks Illinois.
Demolition is currently on hold, according to the group, but challenges remain in funding and marketing the building to keep it standing.
Landmarks Illinois issues a list every year to draw attention to the most endangered historic places. This year’s list includes 11 sites, the majority of which are owned by municipalities or institutions.
“The challenge for governments and institutions to maintain and invest in their own real estate, whether historic or not, is a growing budget issue where officials are facing hard choices,” read the statement. “Compounding the issue, public officials often don’t view the rehabilitation of historic buildings as rectifying deferred maintenance, as a responsible long-term investment, and as a catalyst for local economic development.”
Landmarks Illinois has issued the list for 21 years, in an effort to bring attention to the buildings and help community leaders see that historic buildings can be revitalized and kept in productive use, they said.
“The sites named to the list are all exceptionally important not only to local residents, but the local economy,” said Landmarks Illinois president Bonnie McDonald. “By calling attention to the potential for reuse and revitalization of these historic places, we are encouraging job creation and economic development of these historic places, we are encouraging job creation and economic development across Illinois - something everyone can support -as well as preserving the unique spaces and buildings that create a sense of place in our cities and towns.”