Joliet's historic courthouse nears demolition despite preservation calls

It looks like the old Joliet courthouse is one step closer to coming down.

The Will County Board’s Executive Committee voted against a resolution to investigate adaptive reuse options. With that, the board has now voted five times to approve steps to demolish the building.

Nine bids are being reviewed for demolition and the committee expects to approve a contract sometime this month. Then we should learn when the building will meet its fate.

Some call it a landmark while others say it is an eyesore. The courthouse is in downtown Joliet by the train station and sits on Route 66.

"We're standing on the crossroads of Route 66, we are by five wedding venues, right, so there could be a lot of value in this building," said Quinn Adamowski, the Regional Advocacy Manager with Landmarks Illinois.

The Brutalist concrete building is from 1969 and was the backdrop for the Drew Peterson trial. The county board voted back in 2019 to tear it down and, in late 2020, it closed. That’s also when the new Will County Courthouse opened across the street.

The county preliminarily estimates the cost of demolition to be $2.5 million.

Preservation groups, like Landmark Illinois, have said the county should save that cash and look at other options that could benefit the area, like a hotel, convention space or housing.