Renovations underway at Baker Community Center in St. Charles

Posted2/12/2017 6:00 AM
  • Renovations are nearly complete at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles, including work in the building's lounge area, entrances, and office spaces.

    Renovations are nearly complete at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles, including work in the building's lounge area, entrances, and office spaces. Courtesy of Dave Heun

  • A plaque honoring Melvin Peterson has been added as part of the renovations at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles.

    A plaque honoring Melvin Peterson has been added as part of the renovations at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles. Courtesy of Dave Heun

It's quite a spit-and-polish project unfolding at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles.

Renovation work continues in the building's lounge area, entrances, and office spaces, and preparations continue for the new elevator, which should be available to the public soon.

This facelift for the 92-year-old building should be impressive when it is complete. It isn't quite ready, but it won't be long before the renovated building and impressive Melvin Peterson Lounge will be on display. The park district is targeting a ribbon cutting and open house for April 12 and 13.

A reworked lower level entrance with new canopy will take visitors right to the elevator.

"The elevator works, but not for public use yet," Melvin Peterson said a week ago. It's possible it is operating now, as inspectors were giving a final check last Thursday.

Peterson has been on the Baker Center board for more than 70 years and has spent a fair chunk of recent years pushing for the installation of an elevator.

After all, he'll be 96 years old in couple of weeks, so he knows how important it is to have an elevator in a public building that has a few levels.

"We toured the building work recently, and there is still some furniture to come in for the lounge and some brass plaques for the outside," said Peterson. "I've been very fortunate to be around this long, and to have the lounge named in my honor."

That lounge will have new carpeting, a newly repaired floor clock and the piano that was made in 1926 at the Cable Piano Company in St. Charles, Peterson added.

The Baker Center board will be responsible for taking care of the outside of the building, while the park district, in moving many of its employees to that site, will keep tabs on the inside of the center.

Workplace setting:

When 25N Coworking first opened at 25 N. Third St. in Geneva a few years ago, it was nice to see a business find a home in a location that had long been an empty bank building.

Now, the shared-office space operation has moved to a new location at 25 N. River Lane, leaving the old bank building seeking another tenant.

But the move for 25N Coworking, a site for independent workers or those who need an auxiliary office, just happens to be into one of my favorite local business settings.

Plenty of desirable office locations exist in the Tri-Cities, but the setting at North River Lane, with Riverside Receptions on the other side of the brick courtyard and stone or stucco structures, gives the sense you are working in a nice, secluded village in Europe.

Of course, that dreamy notion gets an abrupt dose of reality for anyone working in that section of Geneva who has to negotiate a turn out of the parking areas and onto State Street during any busy time of the day.

In the meantime, here's to hoping 25N Coworking founder Mara Hauser continues to have a winner here.

About those teas:

On occasion, readers will ask if any "afternoon teas" are offered in the area. To ask me a question like that, the answer might be, "Sure, you can buy tea in the afternoon at any store that carries it."

Obviously, the better answer to pass along is that Little Traveler on Third Street in Geneva offers afternoon tea from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays in February. Anyone with questions about these events can call (630) 232-4200.

Classic stuff:

When the Geneva boys basketball team recently rolled into Batavia with a 24-0 record, you figured there would be plenty of adrenaline flowing on both sides of the gym as students settled in to cheer on their teams.

Geneva rolled right out with a 25-0 record, and the game was highly entertaining.

But there were some good laughs along the way, because another great aspect of high school basketball is the creativity students display with "themes" to get under the skin of opponents.

The Batavia students, all dressed in Bulldog red, packed the bleachers. Suddenly, a student wearing a long, white-hair wig and toga, and carrying a large staff, approached the students. He raised his hands, as if calling a higher power, and slammed the end of the staff to the ground. And with that, the student body parted.

So, "Moses" once again had parted the Red Sea -- and it was hilarious.

This same crew of students went to St. Charles East not long ago decked out in doctors' gowns and masks to poke a little fun at the flu outbreak. And, yes, while the flu isn't funny, this joke certainly was.

It goes back to a truth about that time in your life as a teen. Your mind is not yet clouded with thoughts of careers, raising a family or financial or health matters.

It is full of funny ideas for important events at your school.

Jinxed the deal?:

When a reader asked me about a month ago what was going on with the Blue Goose grocery store negotiations for a new store in downtown Batavia, I asked around about it.

At that time, city officials and the developer confirmed many complicated facets were still on the table to discuss and that a new store might not be possible until 2018.

It made me wonder if this whole thing was ever going to see the light of day.

It isn't. At least not at the Wilson Street retail strip that was being considered. Blue Goose pulled out of the deal a few days after my note about the complexities bogging down negotiations.

An idea for a different spot in Batavia may surface, so one that comes to mind is the vacant Avenue Chevy location.

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