Declan Birk,3, and his big brother, Carsten,5, each got a blue fire fighter helmet from the Manhattan Fire Protection District. Their mom, Tara Birk, helped the boys inside the ambulance cab during the touch-a-truck event. | Erin Gallgher/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 13, 2014 6:19AM
Attendees at Saturday’s ribbon cutting for Manhattan’s new village hall was like a who’s who of the area’s local government. Dozens of elected officials past and present paid homage to the historical moment of opening a “professional” 17,000-square-foot office.
“It’s a long time coming,” said Trustee David Beemseterboer, who has been a board member for 15 years. “To do it with no taxpayer dollars is an amazing feat.”
The village paid cash for the $1.625 million building with another $1 million budgeted for remodeling. Both are being funded by impact fees, according to Mayor Jamie Doyle. The village had cash in the bank that was earmarked for the project, he said.
Formerly known as the STARCON building, and the Tipperary banquet hall before that, the state-of-the-art facility is a substantial upgrade from the village’s existing 1,000-square-foot digs. It will be shared by the village hall and the police department.
“We’re moving the village forward,” Doyle said. “We have a professional building now.”
Doyle said the village will be in a better postion to attract businesses because of the building’s professional image.
State Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, who was in attendance, called the move “fiscally responsible.” He said that modernized technology, especially in the police department, will help the village improve services to residents.
To celebrate, the village hosted an open house with touch-a-truck complete with vehicles from the fire and police departments, emergency services, the township and public works. Kids climbed high into the air to honk the horns of back hoes, fire engines, snowplows, ambulances and more.
Doyle was joined by past mayors Jack Fitzgerald and Michael Naughton, who now is a trustee. Other trustees in attendance included John Tyk, Tom Doyle, Mike Adrieansen and Tom Biscain. Village Clerk Mattie Becker also attended. Former Mayor Bill Borgo was not present.