Johnson's Barn Overview

Azemi felt the barn was well within the realm of saving and restoring. Since it is not post and beam construction, moving it is not an option. As a minimum, he would recommend general clean up, wrap the building in Tyvek, re-side, paint, repair windows and seal building against weather and animals. Estimated cost less than $100,000. If the barn is to be used later as a public building, insulation and interior finish would be required as well as fire alarm, exit doors, stairs and possibly a fire sprinkler system. Azemi was impressed with the possible creative use of the silos which frame the south facade.

Ultimate Owner
The bigger question seems to be what entity would take ultimate ownership of the building and for what use. As the barn sits in what will be most likely a St. Charles Park District park, they would be the most likely candidate for ownership. A follow up discussion with Mary Ochsenschlager and Barry Ryan of St. Charles Park District confirmed that the barn would be acceptable for Park District use and ownership on a 2 phase basis:

  • After initial improvements by the developer mentioned above it would be used for interior storage.
  • As a final use evolved, it would be improved as needed.

Other possible options for an end use would be:

  • As a neighborhood operated club house.
  • Ownership could be taken by the Concerned La Fox Area Residents as a civic organization or as an incorporated community in the future.
  • As part of the Prairie Green Open Space complex.
  • As a day care center owned by the developer and leased to a private company.

The developer has concerns that would have to be addressed about the maintenance of the site and building, and prohibiting outside storage.

Similar Examples
Similar examples of preserving barns with creative end uses abound in Kane County. Some examples are:

  • Hanniford Farms Subdivision on Merrill Road, west of Bliss Road
  • Fox Mill Subdivision, community center/pool
  • Peck Farm Park, Geneva Park District
  • Tanna Farms clubhouse, Mill Creek subdivision

The barn should be saved and an ownership agreement worked out with the St. Charles Park District or other entity. The developer should do the "Phase 1" improvements as mentioned above as well as provide a 1" domestic water and 6" fire water supply stubs to the lot. This conclusion is based on the following findings:

  • The building is in fine condition.
  • It is the only structure requested to be saved in the 1250 acre development by CLAR.
  • It is highly visible from the Prairie Green Open Space project and from Brundige Road, a Kane County designated Rustic Road, as well as Rt. 38.
  • Many examples of similar projects exist in Kane County.
  • It is encouraged in the Kane County Development Dept. staff report.
  • Even though it offers over 8500 sq. ft. of usable interior space, it should be saved primarily because it is a highly visible part of the rural landscape.
  • The barn already sits centered in a proposed park site.

It is suggested that all concerned parties work with the Kane County Development Dept. to reach a successful preservation plan for this structure as the development moves through the approval process.