Vandalism at Shimer is 'just sad': Bates

This shattered door window in an office at Metcalf Hall on the Shimer Square campus in Mount Carroll is just one of many acts of vandalism that have been occurring for quite some time, according to officials from Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation. GROWTH plans to begin construction this spring on converting some of the buildings into apartments.

By SAMANTHA PIDDE

Shimer Square has recently seen a lot of vandalism occurring within its vacant buildings, the Mount Carroll City Council was told Tuesday, March 22.

Mayor Carl Bates reported that officials from Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH) have said a great deal of damage to the former Shimer College campus and buildings.

"It's just sad, it's extremely sad," said Mayor Bates about the vandalism.

The mayor said that while a broken window and similar vandalism is not new for the campus, there has been considerably more vandalism than usual. Bates reported the inside of the library has been destroyed, with all of the bookcases and glass cases broken.

"This situation is very unfortunate and disrespectful to not only GROWTH, but to the Mount Carroll community members that treasure this campus as an asset that should be protected and preserved,” GROWTH Construction Director Andrew Fisher wrote in an email to the Mirror-Democrat.

“As we continue to work diligently on closing nearly $40 million of investment into this campus, we plead to members of the community to help us prevent any future destruction to the campus by keeping a watchful eye on Shimer Square until we are in active construction," Fisher said.

It is anticipated groundbreaking will occur this spring as GROWTH begins construction on converting some of the buildings into apartments.

In addition to the vandalism, Mayor Bates and council members discussed another problem occurring at Shimer Square: pet owners leaving considerable amounts of dog excrement on the grass.

"I love pets. People need to pick up after their pets," Mayor Bates said, noting that when he walks his dog on the campus, he has seen a lot of dog droppings.

Ald. Mike Risko agreed something needs to be done about pet waste at Shimer Square, pointing out there are trash receptacles and plastic bags available on the campus quad for dog owners to use.

"It doesn't matter, the people who aren't going to pick up just aren't going to pick up," Bates lamented.

Local business owner Len Anderson told the council he has encountered dog waste on sidewalks in the downtown area.