City of Polo, Buffalo Township break ground on new City Hall project at 118 N. Franklin Ave.

‘I think it's really an uplifting thing for our city to look forward to’


POLO — On March 6, the City of Polo and Buffalo Township hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for their new joint building at 118 N. Franklin Ave. that will replace Polo’s City Hall, Polo Mayor Doug Knapp said. 

The $2.06 million project includes a construction cost of $1.93 million and $130,000 worth of engineering costs.  The lot was purchased for $5,000, and the Ogle County Economic Development Corporation contributed funds for site excavation and plot testing. The city and Buffalo Township will borrow $1.25 million in bonds over 30 years for the project. The city put down $500,000 on the project and Buffalo Township, which will have a percentage of the square footage, put down $250,000. 

The City of Polo has looked at a number of options in recent years for a new City Hall location as its current building has encountered issues such as a deteriorating roof and back wall, storage shortages, and public meeting space, bathroom and handicap accessibility limitations. In past years the city council considered purchasing the CedarStone building at 610 S. Division Ave., but decided against it due to issues with an attempted purchase and the desire of citizens and council members to keep City Hall downtown. 

“The new building will solve all of those issues,” Knapp said. “It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. We didn't overpay for anything. It's just the basics, but it will have plenty of storage. We chose to expand the footprint of the building rather than putting in a basement with an expensive elevator. It will have a very nice conference room. It will have a steel roof. It will facilitate the Buffalo Township offices and will have offices for the city.”

Knapp said the current City Hall building at 115 S. Franklin Ave. also has asbestos issues and is “beyond repair.” He said the building will be torn down and a parking lot or a site for Buffalo Township’s recycling operation could be put in its place. 

The construction on the new building began March 4 with digging and the installation of footings and wall forms. The work is being done this spring weather permitting, Knapp said. The project has an expected completion date of Oct. 31 with the parking lot and landscaping. The city and Buffalo Township would move into the building Nov. 1. 

Knapp said the building should be “60 years maintenance-free” and supply chain issues have not been seen in the construction process due to the project not requiring a lot of specialty items. 

The new City Hall building is the latest in a recent long line of ongoing city infrastructure improvements including Polo’s water plant, water tower, lead service line replacement, storm sewers, fiber optic cable, a new mural, and swimming pool sandblasting and painting. 

Knapp called the groundbreaking and seeing the project move along after many years of discussions “very exciting.”

“It's a lot of money and I understand that,” Knapp said. “But other than infrastructure, we haven't spent any money on ourselves. And projects like this aren't going to get any cheaper in the future. If we decided to put it off, the prices of construction and building materials do nothing but go up. This is our home for the future and what we need. We could have bought another facility and tried to make it work for what we needed. This here is designed specifically for our future and what we need to accommodate us and Buffalo Township. It's nice to work together with Buffalo Township for a common cause. I think it's really an uplifting thing for our city to look forward to.”