GENEVA – Do you like architecture that is contemporary glass and concrete or does old world European have greater aesthetic appeal?
About 50 people attended the charrette open house June 26 at at Riverside Receptions & Conference Center in Geneva to ponder the future redevelopment of the former Mill Race Inn property at 4 E. State St.
Different styles were posted on a wall and attendees were told to place red dots – limited to two per person – to indicate the style they like best.
Other possibilities for what to do with the 1.8 acres included a 10,000 square foot destination restaurant with parking and retains the historic limestone structure; mixed use commercial with 22 townhouses; or seven townhouses and 117 apartments and a pop-up retail; or residential without commercial for 10 townhouses and 83 apartments with a new public riverwalk.
Called a charrette, the intense planning process covers the possibilities for the 1.8-acre property. This was an open house, the second in three public sessions held at Riverside Receptions.
Rick Hitchcock of Hitchcock design group said the consulting team will distill the best ideas into one strategy to be presented at 7 p.m. June 27, also at Riverside Receptions, 35 N. River Lane, Geneva.
“We have talked to a whole host of stakeholders and … a tenant mix who might be represented,” Hitchcock said. “We have talked to governmental entities like IDOT and federal interest in the water and municipal and county interest. … We’re trying to think of what residents want.”
Items suggested to the site that are financially feasible are restaurants, retail and residential, Hitchcock said.
Overwhelmingly, people surveyed wanted public access to the river that is pedestrian friendly. They want a gateway to reflect the east side of the Fox River. And they want something that has commercial, retail and some kind of entertainment attraction, Hitchcock said.
“We want to come to consensus of what is the most promising opportunity and work on that plan from here on out,” Hitchcock said. “The sponsors get to have the last word, the city of Geneva … and Shodeen Family Foundation. All of the rest of us are trying to help them make an informed decision.”
A survey on the Mill Race Inn project is live online at www.hitchcockdesigngroup.com/millrace, where the public can still weigh in.