Historic Place Designation Facilitates Proposed Redevelopment of Fairview Building in Normal
A former health facility in Normal is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The county-owned Fairview Building was a tuberculosis sanitarium from 1919 to 1965. It then served as the offices of the McLean County Health Department until they moved to downtown Bloomington in the 1960s. 1990.
“The building illustrates the significant history of the methods developed for the treatment of tuberculosis, an extremely deadly communicable disease for which no cure was widely accepted until the end of World War II. Fairview has remained an essential part of the system McLean County Health Center at a time when the treatment of tuberculosis was becoming increasingly effective as a result of advances in procedures for identifying and improving infected patients,” said the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. who announced the designation.
The department’s state office of historic preservation had recommended the Fairview building for historic status along with 14 other sites in Illinois, including a 160-year-old farmhouse in Mercer County and a Chicago movie palace.
“Each of these places tells a unique story that is part of Illinois’ rich history. They provide a physical link to the past,” said Director of Natural Resources Colleen Callahan.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of properties that deserve special attention and preservation. In general, properties must be over 50 years old to be eligible for listing, the Department of Natural Resources said. A listing imposes no obligations on private owners, but makes properties eligible for certain financial incentives.
These incentives would help a proposed redeployment of the Fairview property off Main Street in Normal as affordable housing for seniors. The Laborers Home Development Corporation, an offshoot of the International Union of Workers, has proposed a 46-unit complex that depends in part on tax credits to fund construction.
“The existing structure will house some units, but this building will primarily house tenant services, such as a community room, tenancy manager office and maintenance staff office,” said Laborers Home representative Tim Ryan. Corporation, in January 2021.
The first application for these tax credits was not granted, which is not uncommon, Normal city staff said. A second application deadline is approaching.
The Laborers Home Development Corporation has renovated the former Bloomington High School in downtown Bloomington into affordable housing. And the company has also expressed interest in an affordable housing project in Uptown Normal, south of the train tracks, once the Uptown underpass is built.