HCS, village accept terms on move

The Village of Hinsdale and HCS Family Services have finalized an agreement to relocate the agency and its food pantry to the former Hinsdale Humane Society pet shelter at 22 E. Elm St.

At Tuesday’s village board meeting, trustees unanimously approved the deal for the agency to move out of its overcrowded space spread across three floors of the village’s Memorial Building to the one-floor, 5,550-square-foot facility, nearly double its current footprint. The 10-year lease agreement provides HCS with rent-free use, while the agency intends to spend $420,000 of its own funds on building upgrades.

The relocation plan first emerged a year ago but was stalled over parking. HCS had proposed a new 20-space lot on the north side of the lot, but officials balked because it encroached on adjacent park land.

Instead, the village will switch the on-street parking on Elm from the east side of the street to the west side.

“We also agreed that we would put in a sidewalk there,” Village President Tom Cauley said, estimating the sidewalk installation cost at $45,000.

The village and HCS have been working on finding a more suitable spot for the organization for several years, officials say, as client demand for the pantry has steadily outgrown the capacity of the nearly 100-year-old Memorial Building’s basement.

The Hinsdale Humane Society vacated the Elm Street location four years ago for its new home at 21 Salt Creek Lane, and the building has sat empty since then. Under a 1928 agreement with HCS’ predecessor, the Hinsdale Nursing and Relief Association, the village must furnish free space for the service organization.

The 10-year lease can be extended by up to three additional five-year terms. The village will pay for utilities and is responsible for maintaining the building’s exterior.

Both village officials and HCS representatives at the meeting signaled strong support for the arrangement.

Susann Oakum, a HCS food pantry volunteer and Hinsdale resident who lives near 22 E. Elm, expressed her approval of the relocation.

“I think it’s going to be more efficient, it’s going to be time-saving and I think it’s going to enhance our neighborhood,” said Oakum, adding that she’s become more aware through her service of the considerable number of Hinsdale residents who utilize the pantry.

Cauley also praised the plan.

“Having their own space with their own parking, I think it’s a win-win,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any downside to this.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean