43 E. Quincy St., Riverside (Bob Uphues/Editor)

The Riverside Village Board on April 15 approved an ordinance setting the repayment schedule for the village’s outlay of cash to complete renovations for the Parks and Recreation Department’s new headquarters at 43 E. Quincy St.

Parks and Rec, which levies its own taxes as well as collects fees for programs, will repay the village $722,527 over the next 25 years, according to the ordinance passed unanimously by trustees last week.

The fund the department will use to repay the village will come from surpluses derived from program fees. In 2020, the Parks and Rec Department ended the fiscal year with a program fee surplus of $172,372. It will use $125,000 of that total to make the first repayment to the village.

In subsequent years, depending on the amount of the surplus, the Parks and Rec Department will pay at least $25,000 annually to pay off the investment made by the village to complete the project.

The former Memorial Hall at 43 E. Quincy St. had housed village recreation programs from 1968 when Riverside bought the property from the Riverside American Legion, until 1988, when the village sold it.

In late 2019, Riverside again acquired the property, paying about $248,000. Since the building is considered a village asset, the Parks and Rec repayment schedule does not include the cost of the property.

Initially, the village had estimated it would cost $405,500 to convert the building into the new Parks and Rec headquarters, but costs soon ballooned after officials found out they needed to add expensive fire alarm and fire suppression systems, which included constructing a new water line to the building.

The renovations also included constructing ADA-compliant bathrooms, heating and air-conditioning improvements and plumbing and electrical improvements that pushed the costs to $722,527, about 78 percent over budget.

The new headquarters, which includes a new multipurpose program space, opened to the public in March. In time it will host dozens of programs for children and adults and it will be available to be rented out for private events.

The Parks and Rec Department’s former headquarters at the water tower, 10 Pine Ave., remain available for programs and will also house the department’s early childhood program.