SPRINGFIELD — An ornate Chicago church slated for closing has made an annual list of endangered historic places in Illinois.
St. Adalbert Catholic Church and other sites on that list — which includes courthouses, mansions and 11 schools — are particularly vulnerable because an unsure economic climate in the state and the impasse over the state budget makes funding uncertain, according to the historic preservation group Landmarks Illinois.
Local governments and institutions own many of the sites, Bonnie McDonald, president of Landmarks Illinois, said Thursday. But municipalities and counties are nervous about releasing any funding to save the buildings because they’re not sure if they will receive their state appropriations, she said. Illinois has been operating without a budget for the current fiscal year since July.
“We’re hearing concerns about the future of the state and the state budget,” McDonald said.
The group released the list Wednesday as part of its annual preservation report. The list includes schools in Rockford, Champaign and Highland Park, a YWCA building in Springfield and a youth facility in St. Charles, as well as the Harley Clarke mansion in Evanston and more.
The Archdiocese of Chicago announced in February it would close St. Adalbert, 1650 W. 17th St., amid a realignment of Pilsen parishes. It cited the high cost of needed repairs at the church, which was built in 1914. The church’s two iconic towers that pierce the neighborhood skyline are crumbling, and have been covered in scaffolding for months as donations are sought for the $3 million needed to fix them.
Landmarks Illinois’ report said other sites on the list also face challenges because of the slow economic recovery in many communities and a lack of financing.
McDonald said the Massac County Courthouse, which is on this year’s list, is struggling because the county is seeing revenue declines from the state and lower property taxes.
“We’re seeing these really tough decisions that have to be made,” McDonald said.
McDonald said the group is trying to highlight opportunities to save the buildings and “raise the profile of the conversation about how the public-private partnership can help.”
Landmarks Illinois has been putting out an annual endangered historic places list since 1995. The group says that since then, a third of the listed properties have been saved and fewer than a quarter have been demolished.
Contributing: Mitch Dudek