Dozens Attend Meeting at Colvill Town Hall to Have Input to Cook County CIP

On Saturday morning, December 16, almost 50 people were in the Colvill Town Hall to discuss the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) underway for Cook County and prioritize what improvement projects to complete on the Hovland and Colvill town halls. 

District 1 Cook County Commissioner Deb White and District 5 Commissioner Ginnie Storlie were in attendance to answer questions. The meeting was moderated by Colvill resident Arvis Thompson, who has managed the Colvill town hall for years as a community volunteer.

In the summer of 2022, the county commission began assessing the maintenance and expansion needs of county properties, creating a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). On a 5-0 vote, the commissioners approved a six-figure contract for the architectural firm CR-BPS-Building Performance Specialists to inspect current properties and plans for additional space needed. 

Commissioner White said this was a forward-looking inspection completed to the board's satisfaction. The plans for upgrading the two town halls were extensive and based on expected population changes in the areas, bringing in people who desire a higher standard of public building than the current, decades-old structures. 

The county hosted six public open houses in December 2022 and February of this year to update taxpayers on progress.

The commissioners took some flack from the Colvill meeting participants over the CIP and a perceived lack of transparency on the part of the county. However, when focusing on the proposed list of maintenance and upgrades, the group came together to provide a list of the top four issues for each facility. 

Retired building contractor Steve Sande spoke about how CR-BPS's inspections on the two buildings should be viewed like ones a contractor would do when brought into a home and asked for an estimate to update the house, from roof to foundation. The contractor then presents a proposal to accomplish all that but immediately begins to focus on homeowner priorities--what to do first, etc.

On Saturday, the group listed four priorities for each facility.

Colvill--Safety railings on front steps; Repair/replace the roof; Paint exterior siding and trim; and upgrade the Furnace.

Hovland--Repair entry stairs, Stabilize the foundation, upgrade the furnace, and Drill a well.

The county is currently seeing a project manager to handle all of the projects within the CIP. Commissioner White will ensure that the community priorities outlined at this meeting will be shared with the appropriate project managers.