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posted: 6/13/2012 12:06 PM

Dreams for Geneva's downtown up for review

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  • The proposed master plan for downtown Geneva suggests that the shuttered Mill Race Inn site on the east bank of the Fox River could be redeveloped as a restaurant and banquet facility, plus shops and a boutique hotel.

       The proposed master plan for downtown Geneva suggests that the shuttered Mill Race Inn site on the east bank of the Fox River could be redeveloped as a restaurant and banquet facility, plus shops and a boutique hotel.
    RICK WEST | Staff Photographer, 2008

 
 

More parking structures and adaptive reuse of existing buildings -- including the empty Mill Race Inn restaurant site and the former Geneva Bottling Works plant _ are among the many suggestions in the proposed Geneva Downtown/Station Area Master Plan.

The plan, intended to guide development in the downtown and near the Metra station, is a work almost two years in the making.

The public is being asked its opinion of the 80-page plan. The city will have a meeting on it at 7 p.m. June 27 at the public works building, 1800 South St.

A committee started working on the plan with a consulting firm in the fall of 2010.

The committee reviewed existing conditions and trends for land use, zoning, community and government facilities, parking, access, circulation, transit, cultural and historic resources, parks and open space, and environmental features. It also analyzed housing and retail markets and assessed downtown activity. It held several workshops with residents, businesspeople, property owners and elected officials, and took comments online.

The plan lists five goals:

• Preserve downtown's authentic character while accommodating new infill development;

• Strengthen downtown's role in the city's central business district;

• Maintain downtown as the civic heart of the city;

• Encourage a diversity of residential development types in and near downtown; and

• Make it easy to get around.

The plan shows future land use designations for all properties, and suggests several concepts for developing seven sites in the downtown. Those sites include the former Mill Race Inn restaurant site, the south side of Hamilton between Second and Third streets where a former bank drive-through is, and the empty Geneva Bottling Works plant on Stevens Street, which planners theorize could be converted to multifamily housing.

It recommends expanding diagonal parking on State Street out to Seventh Street, putting a traffic circle at Third Street and Batavia Avenue, extending Seventh north of State, putting a pedestrian-and-bicyclist bridge over the Fox River at Stevens, and another from the east shoreline of the river to Island Park. It also identifies five places where parking decks could be built.

The plan also lists what the committee would like to have happen to civic and community buildings, including City Hall, the post office, the Geneva Public Library, the Geneva school district headquarters, Kane County Government Center, the Metra station and the Kane County Courthouse.

You can view and download the plan through the city's website, geneva.il.us. Click on "Geneva News," then the turquoise master plan button.

If you can't attend the meeting, leave comments on the project website, email them to Community Development Director Dick Untch at duntch@geneva.il.us, or call (630) 232-0871.

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