McHenry County to acquire Cary Village Hall to create police training center

Police agencies from around the county will be able to use the facility beginning in early 2022

The Cary Police Department, which currently resides on the historic Hertz Estates and was photographed on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in Cary, will relocate to a vacant retention pond near the intersection of Industrial and Georgetown Drives.

McHenry County is set to acquire Cary Village Hall and convert it into a training center for the sheriff’s office and other local law enforcement agencies, the county said.

Pending approval from both the County Board and Cary Village Board, the county will take ownership of the building by Feb. 1, once Cary moves its village operations to a new village hall later this year or in early 2022, according to a news release. The building then will become McHenry County’s first full-scale training center for police departments.

“For years, McHenry County law enforcement has wanted a local site to train and hone their skills to protect and serve their communities,” County Board Chairman Michael Buehler said in a statement. “This agreement with the village of Cary will improve public safety and quality of life while at the same time saving millions of dollars by repurposing an existing facility.”

The county and village already have reached an agreement to transfer ownership of the 20,485-square-foot building to the county for $1, McHenry County spokeswoman Alicia Schueller said. The agreement also calls for Cary to give a portion of its public works facility on the same property to the county for additional training space and an indoor shooting range.

Cary Police Chief Patrick Finlon talks about the insufficiencies of the current building at the Cary Village Hall and Cary Police Department, including the cramped sallyport space, on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in Cary.  The police department and village administration will relocate to a vacant retention pond near the intersection of Industrial and Georgetown Drives.

Officials said the new facility will be used by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies around the county. None of the county’s law enforcement agencies have a dedicated training facility, and they often travel outside the county to complete training. Officials said the county’s outdoor range near Woodstock has limited use because of restrictions and weather.

Approval for the shooting range is expected to come later in 2022.

“We are excited to partake in an opportunity for the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, and our sister agencies, to develop and progress training resources,” McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said in a statement. “This training facility will serve as a powerful, efficient resource that enhances our ability to serve our citizens.”

The new training facility will not only be for police, according to the release. The building also can host training sessions for fire departments, dispatchers and other emergency services, and these agencies will have the opportunity to train together.

Details on specific arrangements for agencies to share the facility still are be worked out, Schueller said.

Cary Mayor Mark Kownick, front, and Cary Police Chief Patrick Finlon talk Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, about the restoration inside the Hertz Estate Great Room, a room inside the building where the Cary Village Hall and Cary Police Department resided at the time. The police department and village administration will relocate to a vacant retention pond near the intersection of Industrial and Georgetown Drives.

Cary has had plans to move out of the facility for several years and began construction on a new village center at 755 Georgetown Drive last year. Cary officials in 2019 said the current village hall had aged and no longer met the village’s demands.

Cary Mayor Mark Kownick said he is glad village officials were able to find someone else to use the building.

“We’re proud that our building will continue to be in good hands,” Kownick said in a statement. “Having the sheriff’s office take ownership of the building and repurpose it is a win-win for the community and for the county.”

The County Board will debate the property transfer at the Oct. 14 Committee of the Whole meeting before putting the decision to a vote Oct. 19. The Village Board also will discuss the measure Oct. 19.