The 1941-built Rock River School building, 3001 E. State Road 59, known by some as the former Abundant Grace Church and Religious Center, was razed on Saturday, clearing the way for a new 8,500-square-foot structure, which will serve as an office, staging and storage facility at the Milton location of Illinois- based Tallgrass Restoration LLC. The company restores natural wetlands and installs conservation developments, a recent press release stated.
With an application in process with the Town of Milton for a conditional use permit and variance, company Chief Executive Officer Peter Layton and his wife, Meg Schmitz-Layton, said groundbreaking for the new building is expected to begin this month.
John Favreau of Janesville-based Evergreen Construction designed the steel- construction building, Schmitz-Layton said.
Plans call for the current Tallgrass Restoration offices, 3129 E. County Road N, to be remodeled into office space for Layton and Schmitz-Layton. Currently, Schmitz-Layton, an independent franchise consultant working with Minnesota- based FranChoice, said she and her husband share their time between homes and professional pursuits in Milton and Illinois.
New plans are also being developed for a wooden red barn located on the property, Schmitz-Layton said. She envisions a community center housed within the structure where local artists, environmentalists and creators of outdoor educational programming might organize broader opportunities for the public, she said.
“We will kick out all the bats and use the space as a free prairie, art and education facility where scouts and Hoo’s Woods (Raptor Center), and garden
clubs can come. They would have to facilitate it through me, but they could bring people to engage more with nature,” she said. Completion by next summer for the barn’s repurposing was anticipated, she added.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Tallgrass Restoration has 49 employees. The company is one of two branches operating under a parent company: Tallgrass Group LLC, located in Arlington Heights, Ill. A second branch, called Tallgrass Land Conservation LLC, functions as a wetlands bank, Layton said. That project began with the purchase of 115 acres along the Rock River in Afton, Ill. As the company restores wetlands, it receives credits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Natural Resources. Those credits can be sold to other companies engaged in development projects where wetlands mitigation is required, Layton said.
You can also read the story online here.