Geneva has purchased yet another piece of property near the Metra train station, with the goal of adding to the supply of public parking lots downtown.
The city council Monday bought a vacant lot at 530 S. Fourth St., at a cost of $253,204. The lot lies between a parking lot for the train station and an empty, decrepit house the city bought in September 2013.
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Monday's deal was part of a land exchange between the city and Shodeen Inc., which has owned the lot since 1982.
The city agreed to give a public riverside plaza near the Herrington Inn on River Lane to Shodeen. The plaza had an estimated fair market value of $102,245, but the city marked it down to $81,796. It also gave a $25,000 repair credit, effectively knocking the sale price to $56,796, according to a memo on the subject. Railings along the plaza are rusted, and a set of stairs from State Street to the plaza are crumbling. The plaza was on the north end of the Herrington Inn and accessible by those stairs or by walking between the main inn building and its Pump House banquet building.
Then the city bought the land on Fourth Street, which was appraised at $310,000. The appraisal was higher than the fair cash value of $120,000 that was listed on the property's 2013 tax bill, but Mayor Kevin Burns said that was because the appraisal took in to consideration the "best and highest use" of the one-third acre site.
Burns also said the city is working on a possible plan for a commercial user to pay part of the cost of building a parking lot on the two parcels.