By Christopher Johnson


Interest in what is happening in the village of Pecatonica has been on the rise recently as an effort being put into place by a historical protection commission is forcing the hand of the community’s leaders.

On Thursday, July 1, members of the Pecatonica Village Board met in special session as part of its regular monthly package of municipal planning.

A scheduled working commission, the Committee of the Whole, which was to precede the monthly meeting was canceled by village administrators ahead of the Special Board meeting.

Aside from paying the bills and approving contracts for work in the village limits, another issue was discussed regarding preservation of the history of the river community.

For many weeks now, a group of citizens within the community have been sharing efforts in an attempt to prevent the destruction of a piece of Pecatonica’s past, which faces the potential to be deemed “historically significant.”

The property located just blocks from the Pecatonica River is managed and owned by the Pec Playhouse Theater.

The Pecatonica Granary on the northern edge of the village has been a fixture of the community since the late 1800’s. Even though its designed purpose has long been eliminated.

The facility still remains a primary focus, according to members of the action commission, and it needs to be protected from complete elimination.

Pec Playhouse’s Board of Directors held an informational meeting at Moss Hall at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds on June 16.

During that meeting, according to PPT representative Penny Wiegert, discussion was held regarding what had to be done and how soon things have to be managed, as the community theater group works to rebuild to a functioning capacity.

Wiegert explained to village officials that several citizens had raised concerns about PPT’s decision to raze the buildings on its property, which would include the granary.

The PPT representative stated that after listening to concerns at the June 16 meeting, the PPT Board of Directors did some additional research and held a special meeting to discuss the concerns expressed at the informational meeting.

It was learned that the PPT had come up with a compromise for those wishing to save the granary.

Wiegert explained that if the Save the Granary Committee can prove that it is an organized group with established leadership, the PPT  would like to meet and invite the leadership of the commission in an effort to offer a formal proposal.

Village President Bill Smull and his field of Trustees made the decision that there would be no razing of any buildings within the community for a period not to exceed six months. A moratorium was put into play.

During the halt time, action taken by the Save the Granary Committee will be required, as they attempt to receive approval from the State of Illinois to confirm the location on north Main Street as a historically significant structure, preventing its demolition.

The village moratorium also influences mural painting, as a recently established beautification program just began to materialize.

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