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Batavia aldermen recommend grant for new gelato shop

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Aldermen have recommended giving a $7,706 downtown improvement grant to the owner of a building along North River Street that now houses an Italian gelato cafe.

Aldermen at a joint committee Monday recommended giving the grant to Bruce Harris, who owns the building at 27 N. River St. Batavia couple Andrea and Tora Chiappelli recently opened an Italian gelato cafe, O’ Sole Mio, in the building, which formerly housed the offices of U.S. Congressman Bill Foster. Antonio Natale of Carol Stream also is a partner in the business.

Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream. As part of the city’s downtown improvement grant program, building owners are eligible for up to 50 percent of actual improvement costs, up to the maximum amount set by the Batavia City Council.

The full City Council will vote Monday on the committee’s recommendation. The grant application was for upgrading the electric service in the space to accommodate O’ Sole Mio.

Harris had tried to request a grant earlier this year, but couldn’t because aldermen were in the middle of revising the rules for the program. The electric work was projected to cost $15,412.

First Ward Alderman Michael O’Brien voiced his support for the grant.

“The electric service was in pretty poor shape,” he said. “The money had to be used to make it safe.”

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said the building represents “one of the more historical buildings in the downtown area.”

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