GENEVA – As Geneva begins its 183rd year, Mayor Kevin Burns said the city is poised to welcome new economic development and enhanced environmental stewardship and reaffirm that Geneva is a “safe and accepting community.”
In 2018, Burns said he expects some big-box stores on Randall Road to be filled, as well as new restaurants and businesses opening throughout the community.
Among these will be a new Burlington Store at 2000 S. Randall Road, which expects to open in the spring, Burns said. That is where the now closed Dominick’s was located and Burlington, an apparel store, will share the space with Fresh Thyme, an organic food retailer.
Though a lawsuit has brought construction to a stop at the moment, Burns said city officials were hopeful that things will work out between the parties. The dispute is between two owners, Wauconda LLC, which owns the former Dominick’s, and Geneva Center 2015 LLC, which owns the former Gander Mountain, at 2100 S. Randall Road.
“The city remains optimistic that when all is said and done, we will be celebrating and welcoming our friends at Burlington and Fresh Thyme to our community,” Burns said.
Also on tap for the new year will be the expected redevelopment of the former Mill Race Inn site and the Cetron property, Burns said.
The historic Mill Race Inn restaurant was demolished in 2016. Developer Shodeen Inc. created 4 East State Street Holdings LLC to purchase the 1.4-acre property at 4 E. State St., but no plans for redevelopment have been put forward as of yet.
The Cetron property at 7 Richards St., had been proposed for apartments. But the owner, Marquette Properties, withdrew the application in the face of public opposition.
“We hope to receive renderings of developments along the eastern corridor, including the old Mill Race Inn site,” Burns said.
Another issue to look forward to in 2018 is enhanced environmental standards, such as establishing a comprehensive stormwater management program, Burns said.
“Exploring new and innovative ideas [will] continue our efforts toward reducing Geneva’s carbon footprint,” Burns said. “We’ve done it for years. Now we’re going to start bragging about what we’ve done.”
Geneva is a signatory to the agreement for the Metropolitan Mayors’ Caucus’ Greenest Region Compact 2, he said.
“We endorsed a resolution in the spirit of that compact, and we are not just compelled but motivated to advancing issues important to sustainability,” Burns said. “This also comports to our commitment to advance a new strategic plan that the council supports and engages the community in doing so.”
Burns credited a forward-thinking City Council on revenue enhancement so that the city is strongly positioned to make improvements that people rely on, but don’t see, such as infrastructure, water, wastewater, stormwater and electricity.
The city also is committed to being known as a safe and accepting community, Burns said.
“We are … reaffirming our commitment to creating a safe and accepting community for all who visit, all who call Geneva home and all who desire to put down roots here … regardless of who they are or where they come from,” Burns said.