Geneva seeks $5 million state grant for electrical substation to support development

Posted6/30/2020 5:30 AM

Geneva is seeking state funding to assist with construction of an electrical substation that officials say is needed to spur development of an industrial park and other economic activity.

Aldermen this month gave the green light to apply for a total of $5 million in public infrastructure, economic development and shovel-ready grants under the Rebuild Illinois program.


The assistance would go toward the proposed substation and electrical distribution improvements -- a roughly $13 million project -- to service potential growth along the southeast side, Economic Development Director Cathleen Tymoszenko said. The remaining $8 million is expected to be funded through a bond issue and private equity funds.

The city plans to annex 211 acres into Geneva to accommodate the private development of 2.62 million square feet of industrial space, Tymoszenko said. That land is incorporated into the 500-acre Southeast Master Plan area extending from Route 38 to Fabyan Parkway and from Kirk Road to the Kane/DuPage county line.

"The current electrical power capacity in the area is insufficient to support development," she said.

Should the state award the matching $5 million grant -- the maximum available -- the city would build the substation on 1 acre in the proposed industrial park. The project will lay the foundation for long-term growth in a historically rural area deemed underserved by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, officials said.

City leaders had considered tackling the electrical improvements several years ago in a "build-it-they-will-come type of fashion," Tymoszenko said, but later decided to take a more reserved approach and wait until development plans were in the works.

The project is expected to support several community development goals, including increasing the tax base, creating jobs, attracting and retaining businesses, and increasing housing demand. The industrial park alone will likely add about 1,100 construction jobs and 1,200 permanent jobs, Tymoszenko said.

"With bringing in new employees and new workers to the area, you will have (a greater) need for different types of housing," she said. "That will ... bring forward developer and investor interest."

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