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Geneva looks at new substation to spur industrial development

GENEVA – If Geneva invests in ready-to-go electric generation for 200 acres east of Kirk Road and south of Route 38, it could position the city as more attractive to industrial development, officials said.

At a special Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, by consensus, aldermen approved  a proposal from staff to start planning to install an electric substation in anticipation of eventual development there.

“Right now, we have no electric there,” Public Works Director Dan Dinges said. “We’ve got 200 acres of farmland out there we hope to turn into an industrial park at some point. We are going to need a substation in this area.”

Dinges said two transformers for the city would cost $1.2 million and take a year to build. 

Without being proactive, if a developer were to be interested in a site there, the progress would be delayed up to two years – one just to get a transformer and another for design engineering and for ComEd to look at how it would feed power to that substation.

Dinges said a deposit of $250,000 “puts our name on two transformers” and gets the process started.

Once the city takes delivery, they would be stored at the public works facility.  

“Whether I put them in or store them, they will not go to waste. If a substation goes down elsewhere, we can use them,” Dinges said. “There’s a long lead time on transformers … The question is, should we take that step and start that one year clock ticking?”

Dinges said the cost would be spread over two years of capital budgets.

“We need your consensus to plug that into the capital budget,” Dinges said.

Fifth Ward Alderman Tom Simonian said it would be in the city’s best interest to support the proposal as a hedge against losing a development opportunity.

It would also be possible to recapture the investment through annexation agreements, city attorney Chuck Radovich said.

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