The head of the McLean County Museum of History says this year's list of endangered historical buildings highlights a flaw in state policy. El Paso Gridley High School is on the list put out by the group Landmarks Illinois, as are schools in Pekin, Harrisburg, Jacksonville, and Springfield. Museum Director Greg Koos says even though their central locations benefit small town communities, grants won't pay for rehabilitation.
Landmarks Illinois also points out new schools tend to go on the outskirts of communities, which increases busing costs. Proponents of demolishing El Paso Gridley High School argued last fall that energy to operate the existing school and repair costs are the most expensive option over the next 20 years. The Council notes that community objections resulted in a tabling of the demolition option. The Council is promoting a bill to allow school rehab to qualify for state funding.
Koos discusses the community value of historic schools.
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