Highland News Leader

St. Jacob to receive federal money to help build its village hall

A drawing of what the new St. Jacob Village Hall will look like once construction is complete.
A drawing of what the new St. Jacob Village Hall will look like once construction is complete. Provided image

St. Jacob will be receiving $790,000 in federal funding to help build its new village hall.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth announced the money for St. Jacob last week. The funds will be provided through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Community Development Initiative Grant, which was initiated to help rural development in Illinois.

“This federal funding will help boost communities across Illinois, serving to improve road conditions, build new and improved village halls, expand hospital facilities and help lighten the burden of a university,” said Durbin. “I will continue working with Sen. Duckworth to ensure that our state’s rural communities have access to the critical federal investments that drive economic growth.”

In total, Illinois will receive $117.92 million from the grants. Other grants also went to the city of Paris, Ill., Olivet Nazarene University Foundation and Pinckneyville Community Hospital District.

“This funding will go a long way towards helping ensure our communities have the resources they need to support local families and our state’s growing agricultural sector,” Duckworth said. “By improving transportation systems and expanding rural community spaces, we can grow local economies and boost our entire state’s economy.”

St. Jacob Mayor Richard Schiefer said that while receiving the funds is exciting, the money is still part of a federal loan that the village will be paying back over the next 20 years. However, Scheifer is proud of what the village officials have accomplished.

“I am happy to see it progressing the way it is through the efforts of the people who worked on the project,” Schiefer said. “It’s nice to see they what they have accomplished.”

The plan for the new hall was presented and approved in December 2015. The new building is being constructed to coincide with current energy code and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The current village hall was built in the 1800s and is not up to date or compliant with ADA standards. The new building will coincide with current energy codes and will be made handicap accessible by meeting ADA guidelines. The new building will also include private offices for the village clerk, building clerk and the village mayor. Village officials also want to add a garage where St. Jacob officers will have a space to park their vehicles. The new building will also have new council chambers which allow easier access to the facility after hours.

The new hall will be located near the present village hall, which is located at the corner of 3rd and Douglas streets. According to Schiefer, paperwork and certain processes needed to be taken to obtain the funds, but the project is expected to be completed around May 1.

“(The old village hall) served its purpose, and now its time to move on,” Schiefer said. “We’re attracting more people to come into the village. We are moving forward.”

Schiefer also said that village officials are hard at work developing the St. Jacob. New subdivisions have been built and businesses are being improved. The village officials are also working on getting additional funds to refurbish Douglas Street, the main street in the village, according to Schiefer

Schiefer said that village officials are hoping that updating the area will bring more people to live in St. Jacob. That the next step will be to refurbish the village water tower, Schiefer said.