New Geneva library under construction, hopes to open in November
New Geneva library under construction, hopes to open in November
There's no arguing it's a big construction site. Maybe bigger than what many of us expected.
And the shell of what will be the new Geneva Public Library later this year certainly towers above the nearby homes in that neighborhood along Seventh Street, between Campbell and Franklin streets.
It's not like it was a secret that the new library was certainly going to be far bigger than its current site on James Street. Yet, it has been surprising enough for people to either ask what is going up on the site, or whether we really needed a library this big.
You have to stay abreast of local news to know the answer to the first question. And the library had to assess the question about size more than a year ago in order for neighbors to provide feedback regarding the project. It was important that the closest neighbors fully understood how their neighborhood landscape was about to change.
"We did work with neighbors and the community to establish square footage," library spokesperson Paula Krapf said. "After we purchased the property, we invited neighbors to review a concept for a 64,000-square-foot library."
The feedback from that meeting made it clear to library officials that they needed to trim back the size to the current 57,000 square feet, Krapf said.
Still, there have been a few comments trickling around town that the new library actually won't provide much more space than the current site. In just using the eye test in looking at the new structure going up, that can't possibly be true. According to Krapf, it is not.
"We've stated all along that the new library will allow us to offer expanded collections and programming, and we know how important this is to the community," she said.
"We purchase new materials every day. In fact, we've experienced an increase in the number of items checked out from the library for almost two years now."
The current library has one meeting room and one program room used for all events. The new library will have a large meeting room, a small meeting room, a kitchen and lab space, and a separate program room for kids on the lower level. A dedicated room for crafts, a teen program area, and a technology area are also included.
The only unknown at this point is when the library will actually open. That will be determined by what sort of weather we get in the coming months, but the library is still hoping for sometime in November.
"A lot of thought and planning went into the new library, and this process has involved community feedback through multiple methods," Krapf said. "It's a tremendous privilege to build a new library for our community."
Those grocery options:
My mention the other day about the National Food Store that operated on North Third Street in Geneva in the 1950s and '60s reminded me that not long after some stores in the area closed, residents were wondering out loud if we had enough grocery options in the Tri-Cities.
My recollections of this region don't go back so far that I would remember a Jewel store operating in the spot where SavWay Fine Wines & Spirits currently operates in Geneva. But I certainly remember when Blue Goose was a key grocery store in downtown St. Charles along Illinois Street.
And a place called Frank's was on the east side of Geneva, while Batavia had Berkley Finer Foods on its east side. Other than that, Dominick's hadn't quite made its splash in the region.
And the grocery store world was primed for a political time bomb of sorts in the late 1980s when Jewel first proposed a store on the east side of St. Charles, where the Amli Apartments now sit along Kirk Road.
Jewel already had a spot along Randall Road in St. Charles, so detractors feared it would kill Blue Goose and other downtown businesses for one to sprout on the east side. The city denied the request and, after that tussle, it held off on any new grocery stores for a few years.
But, over time, wiser heads prevailed. That new Jewel came onto the scene on the east side of St. Charles, just farther north than originally proposed, and a few Dominick's stores had sprouted as well.
Eagle had spots on the east side of St. Charles and west side of Geneva. But other than the Jewel, those others came and went over time.
But now we have a couple more Jewels, and grocery options in our Target and Walmart stores, at the huge Costco Warehouse or Meijer store, and at smaller places like Trader Joe's, Aldi, Fresh Market and Fresh Thyme. And, of course, Blue Goose is bigger and better than at any time in its history as a key part of First Street.
They all seem to do fairly well in terms of drawing loyal customers.
Maybe it was a story to share with others over time: a key earmark of progress is for your communities to add grocery stores.
Teeing it up again:
TriCity Family Services is bringing back its golf outing fundraiser, this year hosting an event Monday, June 24, at Prairie Landing Golf Club in West Chicago.
Like many organizations, TriCity Family Services let the golf outing concept kind of fall off the radar during the last recession. But it's had them every couple years or so for supporters who enjoy the game and like to help promote mental health awareness.
Anyone who hasn't played Prairie Landing Golf Club should try it, just for that reason alone.
Those who want to take advantage of the early bird rate of $165 per golfer or $660 for a foursome needs to do so before May 27.
Cost covers the golf round, lunch and dinner, and the event will include on-course golf games, raffles and awards. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and golf at 12:30 p.m. The dinner is set for 6 p.m.
Girl Scouts raising funds:
A fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois should appeal to anyone who enjoys rock climbing, rappelling or hang gliding.
It's all there for those who attend the Over the Edge 4 Girl Scouts and Air Fair event Saturday, June 1, at Pheasant Run in St. Charles.
The Air Fair part comes into play because it provides an opportunity for participants to rappel the 16 stories of the tower at Pheasant Run while raising funds from those supporting their efforts.
Over the Edge 4 Girl Scouts is limited to the first 92 participants, ages 11 and older, who will raise proceeds through peer-to-peer and do-it-yourself fundraising through the Girl Scouts organization tool kit and special website. No experience or prior training is needed to register for the event.
The event staff provides the technical support and equipment needed for Over the Edge 4 Girl Scouts.
Interested girls can register at girlscoutsni.org/ote or check out ways to support the rappelers through overtheedgegsni.com.