Closer Look: Local leaders look to 2013
GENEVA – Looking ahead to 2013, Mayor Kevin Burns said Geneva will continue to evolve and increase its success to meet consumer demands.
"From a micro level, our historic downtown – from East Side Drive to Anderson Boulevard – will always take the lead in identifying trends and demands from more the discerning consumer," Burns said. "Our downtown has experienced consecutive sales tax revenue increases in 11 of the last 12 months."
Burns said the retail vacancy in the city's downtown was 15 percent, but is now less than 8 percent.
"It reflects the potential and the promise of the downtown district," Burns said. "It is encouraging to see independent business owners invest their resources to operate here."
The challenge of the new year will be the same as in past years, he said, and that is to "build budgets built on needs not wants, to meet expectations of residents, business owners and guests alike with dwindling resources."
Another focus in the new year will be the growth opportunity for land from Kautz Road to Peck Road, he said.
"We do not need to expand in order to grow, and not enlarge in order to improve," Burns said. "Geneva is open for business, and developers we have met within the last year alone know that."
ST. CHARLES – The notable projects and issues Mayor Don DeWitte foresees for 2013 are carryovers from recent years.
On the heels of opening Red Gate Bridge, St. Charles expects the new year will mark the completion of another road project: the Route 64 improvements, DeWitte said.
The $49.1 million Illinois Department of Transportation project involves reconstructing, widening and resurfacing Route 64 from Seventh Avenue in St. Charles to Route 59 in West Chicago. The project's website states the changes are intended to enhance traffic flow and reduce the potential for accidents.
Work began in April 2012. IDOT is targeting a fall 2013 completion.
The city will continue to seek solutions to make Charlestowne Mall economically viable again, DeWitte said. A market study conducted last year concluded the property needs new ownership, a new image and new attractions.
DeWitte declined to provide specifics regarding the mall, only that there are ongoing discussions with the owners and other parties who have expressed interest.
"The interest created from recent press related to the market study the city had done has clearly generated additional interest that we had not previously enjoyed," DeWitte said.
St. Charles is also working toward establishing a business district on the city's east side starting at Seventh Avenue, DeWitte said. He described the East Gateway Business District as a significant component in potential redevelopment opportunities.
"We're hopeful that the council will be supportive of the initiative, and the initiative will generate incentive to promote new and redeveloping commercial property," he said.
Finally, DeWitte said, the city should complete its revision of the comprehensive plan. The proposal will go to the Plan Commission for review, and the City Council is expected to consider it by the second quarter, he said.
A public hearing on the comprehensive plan is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 8. Click on the comprehensive plan link on the city's website, www.stcharlesil.gov, to view a draft of the document.
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