Salem Armory Rezoned For Amusement BusinessThe Salem Planning Commission has approved the use of the former Salem National Guard Armory on North College as an amusement business.
The owner of U.S. Sonet John Andrews has made arrangements to purchase a family fun center in Indiana he wants to relocate in the Armory. It would include arcade games, laser tag, indoor bumper cars, bounce houses, concessions and rooms for private parties. The special use would also allow the building to be used for storage and operation of a communication utility, a location for meetings, events and office space for local organizations to promote community enhancement as well as emergency services.
The vote in favor of the permit was 4-0.
The commission received two letters in favor and one with concerns about potential loitering outside. Andrews told the commission he would be mindful who was outside and the business would have policies about kids being at the facility alone. With final zoning approval, Andrews will now work on financing.
The State of Illinois is prepared to give the building to the city, which in turn would give it to Andrews as part of a redevelopment agreement. Salem City Manager Bill Gruen says the city doesn't want to accept ownership of the Armory until they are certain there is someone willing to provide a reuse of the building.
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