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updated: 7/13/2013 5:30 PM

St. Charles VFW Post 5036 will find another home

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  • The St. Charles VFW Post 5036 on North Third Street was sold to the city and will be demolished for additional parking.

      The St. Charles VFW Post 5036 on North Third Street was sold to the city and will be demolished for additional parking.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer


A chance for more parking near downtown.

That thought crossed my mind when St. Charles VFW Post 5036 leaders began talking months ago about selling their building to the city.

St. Charles officials also had that in mind. Knock down the building and create more downtown parking.

But something else has come to mind since the city purchased the building and announced its intentions -- how VFW halls throughout the country are faring financially.

These community halls enjoyed great success when World War II veterans were about 10 to 15 years removed from their global conflict. After that, I'd be inclined to think it's been a bit of a struggle.

Restaurants, hotels and conference centers offering large halls for events and weddings have sprouted in the past few decades to compete against the local VFW hall for that business.

You don't want the symbol of your community's veterans to deteriorate from operating in the red for years and, in some cases, become nothing more than an old watering hole.

"We had to do something not only because of financial concerns, but other potential liabilities," VFW board member and Vietnam veteran Duane Buttell said.

"I think, in the end, the members agreed it was time to sell," Buttell said. "The post had a lot of meaning to a lot of families, but it was time for this."

The VFW members in St. Charles made a difficult, but correct, decision in letting the city eventually make better use of the property. The veterans will find another place to welcome other veterans and promote patriotism in their community.

Pizza in familiar spot: Geneva has another pizza and Italian food restaurant on the east side, in the location that for years belonged to Genoa Pizza.

For the past few months, Tivoli's Pizzeria and Grille has been in business at 705 E. State St., in the retail strip next to Dairy Queen.

Workers at the restaurant tell me the challenge at the moment is to get area residents to realize a new restaurant has filled the old Genoa spot.

I tried the pizza last week, and it was quite good. The restaurant has an impressive menu for lunch and dinner, and it provides eight tables for dining in addition to carryout and delivery services.

A couple of readers have sent notes about the great sandwiches at Tivoli's, so another visit has to go on my schedule.

Knowing that Tivoli's is tucked away a bit from State Street, readers Diane and Andy Arrigo said they hope more residents find the restaurant and give it a try.

"Their food is great, and the prices are quite reasonable," they said.

Maybe not better?: "Now that's better," the young lady on the Wendy's TV commercials says about what the fast-food chain offers customers.

For the Wendy's on the east side of St. Charles, the former Wendy's slogan of "Where's the beef?" from Clara Peller would fit better at this time.

That Wendy's location, a big hit when it first opened in the late 1970s, apparently ran out of steam and has been closed for a month.

Was it because of what seems like never-ending Main Street roadwork? The city knows this is a serious issue, as Mayor Ray Rogina and aldermen often encourage residents to shop and eat locally, especially supporting businesses in the construction areas.

These eateries kaput: Wendy's isn't the only burger joint shutting its doors. The Burger King at Houston Street and Batavia Avenue in Batavia will close next Saturday.

That restaurant has served the area for about 25 years, and it was one of the first fast-food places in the region to go up against considerable squawking from neighbors because it was setting up shop near residential areas. It appears to have lost its luster a bit with all of the food choices opening along Randall Road.

A Geneva burger joint has also closed its doors, as the Brothers, Burgers, and Beers restaurant at 7 W. State has the "for lease" signs up in the windows.

This seems like a perfect location for a pizza or burger place, but you wouldn't know it from the quick passing of Sanfratello's, Monterey Place and now 3B's in that spot.

A worthy hobby: An advertisement from Ace Hardware in Batavia touting the arrival of "Broadway Limited" HO scale trains at the store got me to thinking about all of the men who have made train sets and displays a lifetime hobby.

And it also reminded me that it was a hobby that could have captured my attention. But it falls in line with building model cars and airplanes. You know, things that take a lot of patience, skill and time.

So that, unfortunately, leaves me out.

Youth must be served: Geneva aldermen are certainly entitled to voice opinions and, thus, their votes on literally hundreds of city business items during the course of a year.

So I wasn't overly concerned that some aldermen questioned -- and even voted against -- Mayor Kevin Burns' recent appointment of Zac Ploppert to the Geneva Historic Preservation Commission. But I certainly didn't agree.

You don't have to be "historic" to serve on this commission. Ploppert is in his early 20s and has already shown more interest and enthusiasm for Geneva than many of its longtime residents.

I talked to Ploppert often when he ran against Charlie Brown for the First Ward seat a few years ago, and I know his race against current Alderman Mike Bruno had a bit more mud slinging involved. Ploppert lost both times.

But here's the thing: If the city can't embrace a young man who wants the voices of his generation heard in a city he loves, then its leaders should set an age limit on who can volunteer or serve for the city in any manner.

Yes, that would be really stupid. But, sometimes, political rhetoric makes you wonder.

• Contact Dave Heun at

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