Repair work has begun on the Secretary of State’s facility at 507 W. 209th St. in Chicago Heights.
The staff at the facility provides driver’s tests, driver’s licenses, Real ID cards, license plate sales and other services. The office shut down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was ready to reopen June 1 but on May 31 vandals set fire to the building, causing heavy damage.
The Secretary of State’s Office lost about $150,000 worth of equipment, said Dave Druker, a spokesman for the office.
The Chicago Heights building department has issued permits to the owners of the property, Abizer Yusufali and Maria Hashim.
Gary Miller, director of the department, wouldn’t give an estimate for the repairs, but he did say the building will be getting a new roof, new ventilation system and an upgrade for the bathrooms to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. He said several counters also will be lowered to meet ADA standards to better accommodate customers.
Druker said Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, and Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, has been pushing for a reopening of the facility. At the invitation of DeLuca and Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, staff for the Secretary of State’s Office recently held two special service days in Chicago Heights using mobile units. A service day in December was canceled due to the spike in COVID-19 numbers.