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County wants to sell Sixth Street site for new Geneva library

GENEVA – Geneva Library District trustees are considering the purchase of the former Sixth Street School, 210 S. Sixth St., Geneva, as a site for a new library.

Trustees this week discussed the site and approved hiring Polach Appraisal Group of Wheaton for $5,500 to do an appraisal of the property, which currently is owned by Kane County.

The library district had planned to buy the property in 2004 for $1.02 million as a new library site, but county officials at the time did not finish the paperwork, and the deal did not go through.

The building currently houses the Regional Office of Education.

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said the county is ready to sell the building to the library district as part of a process to consolidate the space it uses. 

“If the [library] board wants to go to that location, it seems like a wonderful place for a Geneva library,” Lauzen said. “I’d be delighted to work together with the library. I have respect and affection for [library board President] Esther Steel.”

The library has the right of first refusal when the county would sell the property. According to county records, the board formalized the library’s right of first refusal Dec. 12, 1989. Lauzen said the county has not put the building on the market yet while waiting to see what the library district will do. 

“There have been two previous – perhaps outdated – appraisals, and we are in the process right now of receiving the current appraisal,” Lauzen said. “How I understand this is supposed to work – we bring ours, they bring theirs and we sit down and come to an agreement.”

Lauzen said as the county is serious about selling the property, officials have given the library 60 days to get an appraisal and then to negotiate a sale price.

“If the library wants to move forward, we are very serious. We will do everything we can to accommodate them and be good public partners,” Lauzen said. “We all serve the same constituency. It’s a gorgeous, safe, centralized location, and I’m very happy to work for a good conclusion. If it does not meet their needs, we will offer it to somebody else.”

The regional school office would have to move, but Lauzen said to which county property is not established yet. The former school, built in 1924, is on a 90,000-square-foot lot with a 24,332-square-foot, three-story building.

Library Trustee Bob Shiffler said his concern was buying a site without knowing what size building to put on it.

“I do not have another site in mind,” Shiffler said. “I am not sure how long it would take to put a building plan together, but if we have to do it in 60 days, we have to get started real soon.”

Library director Matt Teske said the board plans to meet with architect Michael Mackey again about a building plan for a new library, but has not set a date yet.

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