Watch reactions to the Village of St. Jacob's newest building
The mayor's desk in the old St. Jacob Village Hall had served the town's elected leaders for decades.
Current St. Jacob Mayor Richard Schiefer estimated that he spent roughly 30 years at that desk. So, coming into his office now and not seeing it was a little different.
"Letting some of that stuff go kind of has sentimental value," Schiefer said.
However, leaving the desk and other such ties to the past behind was a small price to pay for the village government getting a new home. Schiefer said he does not miss the old building at all.
"I don't. No, I don't," Schiefer said.
The village welcomed its citizens into the walls of the new Village Hall, located at 213 N. Douglas St., during an open house April 25. The Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce also hosted a ribbon-cutting to kick off the day. Though the building was officially completed last November, the event marks the project's public debut.
"I'm thrilled to see as many people that came by to see the hall. That shows your excitement — that the citizens are excited as well as I am as mayor," Schiefer said.
Around the project's groundbreaking, which was last April, the village received federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Community Development Initiative Grant. The grant was made to support rural development in Illinois, and allowed the village to pursue the project.
The new hall replaces the original building from the 1800s, as the old facility had inadequate space, and was not in line with standard energy code and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The historic building was demolished in December.
The new hall provides handicap accessibility, private offices for the village clerk, building clerk, building inspector, police chief and mayor and easily accessible council chambers. The building also has a garage for St. Jacob police officers.
St. Jacob Police Chief Steve Howe said the change is a vast improvement.
"This space is probably 10 times bigger than what we had," Howe said.
Richard Schmidt, a 78-year-old St. Jacob resident who has lived in the town his whole life, said he thinks the new hall is good for the community, and he hopes that it will help entice some people to move to the village.
"The old building was in terrible, terrible shape, and so it just is a blessing that we have this new building," Schmidt said.
Schmidt's wife, Susan, agreed.
"It's very much needed. It's very much overdue. But we are really happy to have it now," she said.
Jane Mohme said that she was impressed when she saw the new hall.
"It looks really clean, and it makes me feel good about the community," Mohme said.
Moving forward, Schiefer said he hopes the building is just the start of growth for the village. The mayor said the town is looking forward to the building of new subdivisions, renovations to its activity center and prospects of a possible Dollar General store.
"I think it just shows that the community is moving forward. We are growing," Schiefer said.