It’s been nearly three months since a broken water pipe washed out the offices of the Riverside village government, and forced them to move into temporary headquarters. And although, Village Manager Kathleen Rush had hoped that employees could be back in a renovated space by this month, it may not be until summer that the offices are ready for use.
“I’d say it’s going to be three months; that’s the conservative estimate right now,” Rush said.
The office area remains completely gutted and unusable. Crews finally began removing the drop-ceiling tiles and grid this week. This week also marked the first time that an electricianarrived to start assessing the condition of the electrical system.
The repair of “both the electrical and HVAC is complicated by the need to do estimate prices as we’re doing the work,” Rush said.
So far the village has received about $5,000 in reimbursements from the village’s insurance carrier, although Rush estimated the total damage to the village offices at $100,000. “and that doesn’t even take into account the inconvenience aspect,” Rush said.
Another inconvenience is that Rush, who has been able to remain in her office since the flood will soon be relocating out of the Riverside Township Hall entirely. Crews will begin moving files and furniture to the former Youth Center building to the east of the village’s main fire station.
She’s expected to be working at the Youth Center, a drafty building that used to house the village’s Public Works Department, by March 7.
“It’s going to be challenging,” said Rush, who will be out of direct contact with other village hall staff remaining in the former courtroom at the township hall.
The condition of the village offices have also made absentee voting for the March 21 primary impossible.
“The township is going to direct it during their hours, because there no place for us to do it,” Rush said.
According to Rush, the village does have complete plans for the renovation of the village offices, which will include a separate conference room. Previously, the only table in the office that could accommodate large architectural plans or several people was located in Rush’s office.
But work is being held up for reasons relating to both insurance and surprises such as asbestos abatement. For example, the floor in the area previously inhabited by employees of the village’s Building Department is covered with asbestos tile. The village does not have the county permit necessary to remove it.
It will also take new office furniture at least six to eight weeks for delivery, and the order can’t be placed until there’s a definite time frame on construction.
At the same time, work is also progressing on other portions of the Riverside Township Hall affected by the Dec. 11 flood, including a second floor kitchen and third floor passageway between a meeting room and Township Assessor Schofield Gross’ office.
The building is actually owned by Riverside Township, which rents office space to the Village of Riverside.