McHENRY – Smith’s Central Garage soon could start hosting larger events with help from the city of McHenry.
John Smith, owner of Smith’s Central Garage, is seeking a $50,000 loan from the city to install a sprinkler system at his event center, located at 3315 Pearl St. near McHenry’s Riverwalk. Fire code regulations state that without the system in place, no more than 100 people can be in the building at a time. Once the system is in place, Smith will be able to accommodate larger crowds, according to city documents.
Smith bought the long-vacant former Hostess building in summer 2014 and has spent $800,000 refurbishing the space, including installing a new roof, new insulation and new heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment, he said.
“The important part of economic development is to attract people to the downtown area,” Smith said in a note to the city. “Before, during and after an event, it is logical to assume the people attending an event will patronize other businesses in the area. … There will be no kitchen in the building, so local caterers will benefit.”
The event center includes a catering kitchen with a commercial refrigerator and freezer, tables, chairs, garbage disposal, free Wi-Fi and a sound system. Liquor is on a bring-your-own basis.
A revolving loan fund is an incentive that municipalities can offer to existing and prospective businesses. Loans typically are low-interest funds that can help start up a business or assist in an expansion or update. The Revolving Loan Fund Committee is recommending approval for the project, according to city documents.
The McHenry City Council will consider the request at 7 p.m. Monday at its meeting at 333 S. Green St., McHenry.