Demolition of 112-year-old Kroehler YMCA underway in downtown Naperville – Chicago Tribune
The razing of the former Kroehler YMCA building started this week in downtown Naperville.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago contracted a demotion company, which was issued a demolition permit from the city this month, to prepare the site to sell to an undisclosed buyer.
Before the sale can go through, the building and the contaminants in the soil must be removed, according to officials.
Work to clear the property is expected to take a month.
Crews began dismantling the 112-year-old structure Monday, five months after the Naperville City Council rejected a request by Naperville Preservation Inc. to make the shuttered property, at 34 S. Washington St., a city landmark.
Council members said they struggled with the decision but decided the city shouldn’t prevent owners’ ability to use their property.
Built in 1910, Kroehler YMCA operated until June 2020, when the facility was permanently closed as a result of mounting repair bills and the stress put on the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
Efforts are being made to preserve elements of the century-old structure.
The building’s 1910 cornerstone and the decoratively engraved lintel over the front door are being preserved for the buyer, who according to the YMCA, has expressed interest in preserving the elements for possible incorporation into a new building design.
Katy Broom, director of public relations and communications for the Y, said in an email there might be a time capsule in the cornerstone.
“But we can’t be sure for a few weeks yet,” she said. “If there is one, we’ll work with our stakeholders to develop a plan for how any contents would be shared, distributed, displayed, or otherwise used.”
Artifacts from the building were collected by the YMCA and Naper Settlement officials before demolition began.
The Naperville YMCA advisory board plans to collect oral histories of the Kroehler YMCA and hold a commemorative event in 2023.
Also being preserved are 300 original bricks from the 1910 building that will be offered to the community for a minimum donation of $112 each to commemorate the 112 years the Y operated in downtown Naperville.
The bricks, available this fall, will be affixed with a plaque bearing the inscription “Kroehler YMCA 1910-2022″ and may be purchased by contacting the Fry Family YMCA on 95h Street in Naperville at 630-904-9595.
Officials say proceeds will benefit scholarships to families who visit the Fry Family YMCA and the Safe ‘n Sound program.