Spring 2019

In This Issue
City Council Election Results
Geneva Is 'The Best In The West'
City Forms Speed Control Policy Task Force
Good News For Your Tax Bill
Fire Hydrant Flushing Starts in April
Geneva Named 'Tree City USA'
Find Home Info On 'MyPlace Map'
Geneva Is One Of Illinois' Safest Cities
Put Down Your Phone When Driving
Mark Your Calendars For Fun
'Art On Fire' Program Returns
MetroNet Construction Continues
Try Out Gluten-Free Dining Options
Enjoy Geneva's Live Music Scene
Welcome New Businesses To Geneva
From The Blog: Spring Safety Tips
South Geneva Historic District Update
Downtown Zoning Update Public Hearing
Brush Collection Underway
Yard Waste Bags Need Refuse Stickers
Snow Plowing Gets A Boost
City Wins Snowfighting Award
Quick Links
Share Our Newsletter with a Friend!
Thank You for Your Donation!
The City would like to thank the following donors to the Geneva Beautification Committee:

Linda Haseman
Sam & Carolyn Hill
Clyde and Sharon Jones
Tricia Stewart

Lorraine Kautz
John & Joanne Gerlach
Mike Bruno
Rotary Club of Geneva

Colin & Glorianne Campbell
Geneva Women in Business
In Memory of Terry Des Coteaux
TE & KR Klatt

Marianne Johnson
Christine Bailey
John Barrett
Jerry Eickman

Patricia Burnham & The Paper Merchant
In Memory of Julie Bricher-Schreiner
Katie Bricher-Ryan

Donations are as of March 30, 2019. For more information on the Beautification Committee, visit the City's website.
Mayor's Message 
Dear Neighbors,

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of visiting with journalists from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scotland who were touring select communities in the great State of Illinois. With help from my friends at the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, we were honored and proud to showcase Geneva.

Our discussion was casual and free-wheeling as we shared similarities and differences between our respective countries and, more particularly, our respective hometowns.

A common theme shared with me by our friends from "over the pond" was how gracious Geneva residents and shop owners were, and how hospitable our entire community was throughout their stay in our fine city.

As we all know, Geneva welcomes close to 500,000 visitors annually from all corners of the world thanks to our many corporations that conduct business globally, the authenticity of our historic business district, the eclectic and bustling Randall Road corridor, our growing and highly regarded dining scene and, most of all, our people.

My thanks to all of you who individually and collectively help make Geneva a welcoming environment for everyone, whether they are here on business, pleasure or simply "passing through." 

My best,

Kevin Burns
Geneva Residents Head To The Polls To Elect City Council Members

Geneva residents went to the polls April 2 to cast their vote in the 2019 Consolidated Election, which included several aldermanic seats on the City Council. Here are the unofficial vote totals from the Kane County's Clerk Office as of April 4.

First Ward  Votes  Fourth Ward  Votes  
Tara Burghart  367 Gabriel Kaven   391
Uncontested    Paula Merrington   359
Second Ward  Votes   Fifth Ward   Votes  
Michael Clements  311 Craig Maladra   384  
Tad A. Hemming   263 Tom Simonian   237  
Third Ward   Votes      
Dean Kilburg  294    

The winning candidates will officially start their new terms during the Monday, May 6 City Council meeting. For more election information, visit the Kane County Elections website.
West Suburban Living Magazine Readers Name Geneva 'The Best Of The West'

Readers of "West Suburban Living" Magazine once again ranked Geneva as the premier community for dining, shopping and festivals as part of its 2019 "Best of the West" contest.

Geneva was named the top city readers would most like to live (other than choosing their hometown). No other municipality has earned that distinction as many times as Geneva during the magazine's two decades of competition. Geneva also garnered second-place honors for the best downtown for shopping and "Best Mall/Shopping Center" with Geneva Commons.

The Geneva Arts Fair was chosen as the "Best Craft or Art Show" by readers while Swedish Days and Festival of the Vine both earned honorable mention for "Best Festival or Fair." The Geneva French Market took third place for "Best Farmers Market."

Numerous restaurants, stores, attractions and more were recognized as some of the best in the western suburbs. You can view the entire "West Suburban Living" Magazine voter survey online.

Thank you to the residents, merchants, Geneva Chamber of Commerce and countless stakeholders who all work hard to make Geneva a great place to live and visit.
Public Invited To Geneva's Speed Control Policy Task Force Meetings

Concerned about speeding vehicles in your neighborhood?
The City has established a Speed Control Policy Task Force to make recommendations to the Geneva City Council in June.

People can share any concerns they have by emailing the task force or attending one of the upcoming task force meetings, which are open to the public. All meetings will be held at 7 p.m.:

Wednesday, April 17
Fire Department No. 1
200 East Side Drive
Wednesday, May 1
Public Works Department
1800 South St.
Wednesday, May 15
Public Works Department
1800 South St.
Thursday, May 30
Public Works Department
1800 South St.

Residents from across each of Geneva's five wards have been selected to serve on the City's task force. The group will be working with City staff and make recommendations regarding the speed control policy.

The formation of the task force is in response to resident concerns about speeding and pedestrian safety, the latter which has been identified as a goal in the City's newly adopted strategic plan.

Residents Should See Decrease In Property Taxes Paid To City
The arrival of tax bills each spring does not elicit much fanfare. However, there is some good news to share this year; homeowners should expect to see a decrease in the amount of taxes paid to the City.

For the City's portion of the 2018 property tax bill (payable in 2019), the City's estimated property tax rate decreased by 7 percent. The taxes paid to the City now comprises about 6.5 percent (see chart above) of a homeowner's total property tax bill.*

"Based on a home value of $350,000, the City portion of the tax bill would be $54.75 a month. When comparing that dollar amount to other household expenditures, Geneva residents receive great value," City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins said. "For $54.75, you could get a meal at one of Geneva's fine restaurants, but for that same amount residents receive snow removal, street maintenance, and police and fire protection among other high-quality municipal services."

The contributing factor to the property tax decrease is the continued reduction of the City's debt service payments. All bond debt that is funded with property tax money by the City is expected to be paid in full in 2021.
The final property rates are calculated by Kane County and will be applied to property tax bills anticipated to be issued in May.  

* Based on a home maintaining the same value from 2018 to 2019
Spring Fire Hydrant Flushing Program Starts In April

The City of Geneva will be flushing fire hydrants throughout the community for a four-week period starting Monday, April 8 as part of an ongoing maintenance program.

Hydrants will be flushed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. The water is safe to drink, but residents are encouraged to let their faucets run for a few minutes if they notice any discoloration.

People are urged to limit their water use if possible and refrain from washing their clothes during this time period to avoid staining from rusty water. In the event rusty water discolors clothing, residents should keep their laundry wet and purchase a rust-removing solution packet from a local retailer.

Signs will be placed in neighborhoods to remind residents that the program is underway in their area. Residents also can view a hydrant flushing progress map on the City's website or on Twitter. Work is expected to be completed in early May, weather permitting.

The City flushes its hydrants twice a year to improve the overall quality of the water by cleaning the water mains of rust and corrosion and to ensure that all fire hydrants are working properly.

For more information, contact James Childress, Geneva Public Works System Maintenance and Customer Service Supervisor, at 630-232-1551 or via email.

Geneva Named 'Tree City USA' 19 Years & Counting

It is no secret Geneva loves its trees. They line the streets, have been incorporated into the City's new welcome signs and serve as the focal point for the City's logo. Geneva also was named a "Tree City USA" community, a tradition that nearly spans two decades.

The Arbor Day Foundation once again recognized Geneva's commitment to effective urban forest management. The City earned the "Tree City USA" distinction by meeting four core standards, including maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and an Arbor Day observance.

This spring, the City will begin its spring planting program that will include more than 60 new parkway trees throughout Geneva.

Helping contribute to the cause, the City of Geneva's Natural Resources Committee and Geneva Park District Foundation raised almost $25,000 during February's Wine, Cheese & Trees fundraiser. The money will be used by both groups to plant trees in Geneva's parkways, parks and open space throughout the community.

People interested in a new parkway tree should visit the City's website to learn more about our cost-sharing program.

Check Out 'MyPlace' Map For Trees Planted In Your Neighborhood

Speaking of trees, an enhancement to the City's interactive "MyPlace" map now gives residents the option to see what type of trees are planted in the parkways.

The "MyPlace" map identifies the tree species and available planting sites based on the City's 2018 tree inventory study.

Besides trees, the map also serves as an information hub for residents to learn more about their home. Residents can click or search a particular parcel to find out their pin number, ward, refuse and recycling days, zoning and much more.
Geneva Named One Of Illinois' Safest Cities

Geneva ranked in the top 10 percent of Illinois' safest cities, according to a recent study by SafeWise.

To identify the cities with the best safety records, SafeWise looked at the number of violent crimes in the 2017 FBI Crime Report, the most recent data available. The company also calculated the number of violent crime incidents per 1,000 people in each city.

Geneva was named the 27th safest city out of 269 Illinois communities listed on the study. Geneva has a violent crime rate of 0.41 per 1,000 people and a property crime rate of 8.25 per 1,000 people.

For comparison purposes, other communities ranked:
Violent Crime Rate
Property Crime Rate
17  Hinsdale  17,765  0.34  6.64 
19  Lake Zurich  20,012  0.35  15.84 
27  Geneva  21,941  0.41  8.25 
39  Yorkville  19,155  0.52  8.61 
87  Naperville  147,934  0.92  11.60 
Thank you to the Geneva Police Department for working hard to make our community one of the safest in the state.

SafeWise is a leading resource for all things safety and security. The company tests out various safety products to figure out how they work and whether or not they are worth the money. The full survey can be found on the company's website.
Geneva Police Participating In National Distracted Driving Awareness Month Campaign
The Geneva Police Department is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police, and more than 100 local law enforcement agencies to remind motorists to stay off their phones while driving.

Motorists will see increased patrols and enforcement zones throughout Illinois in the month of April as part of the national Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign. Geneva Police will be ticketing drivers who text or use their cellphones while driving.

Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes during the past decade. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, more than 3,100 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. This represents a 9 percent decrease in distracted driving fatalities from 2016, but there is clearly more work to be done.

Texting while driving distracts a driver visually, manually and cognitively. A driver's eyes are off the roadway in front of them for an average of 4.6 seconds while sending or receiving a text message. This is equivalent to driving blind at 55 mph for the length of a football field.

The Geneva Police Department recommends these steps for a safe driving experience:

  • People expecting a text message or needing to send one should pull over and park in a safe location.
  • Drivers can designate a passenger in the vehicle as the designated "texter" or caller.
  • Motorists should not engage in any social media scrolling or posting while driving. Cellphone use can be habit-forming and it is not more important than paying attention to the roadway.
  • To avoid distractions, drivers can put their phone in the trunk, glove box or on the back seat until they arrive at their destination.

The distracted driving enforcement campaign is supported through federal funds administered by IDOT. For more information, contact Geneva Police Commander Brian Maduzia at 630-232-4736 or via email.

Mark Your Calendars For Fun In Geneva This Spring

Spring has finally arrived, and that means plenty of fun is in store in Geneva!

Geneva Earth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 13
French Market
Sundays starting April 14
Citywide Garage Sale
Friday and Saturday, April 26-27
Swedish Days
Tuesday to Sunday, June 25-30

Take a glimpse at upcoming summer events on the City's website.

Leave Your Artistic Mark On City's Fire Hydrants

Geneva residents can bring their artistic creativity into the community this spring by participating in the "Art on Fire" hydrant design program.

The City, in collaboration with the Cultural Arts Commission, is seeking artists to adopt and paint fire hydrants throughout Geneva. More than 90 hydrants have been painted the past six years as part of "Art on Fire." Many residents and visitors take notice of the artwork in the downtown and surrounding areas.

Established by Mayor Kevin Burns in 2013, the program is a way to showcase Geneva's artistic talent and bring art into the community.

The program is free and open to the public, but participants need to submit an application to the City by Friday, May 10. The application can be found on the City's website or picked up at Geneva City Hall, 22 S. First St.  

"Art on Fire" does not mandate a specific theme, but the program encourages artists to incorporate the character of the hydrant's surrounding environment into their design. City staff reviews and approves all application designs to make sure they do not compromise the visibility of the hydrants for firefighters in an emergency. Artists will be allowed to paint their hydrants during May and June.

The City's Public Arts Advisory Committee and Cultural Arts Commission will again judge the hydrants and award prizes to the top three design winners this summer.

People can take a virtual tour of all the decorated hydrants on an interactive map posted on the City's website. The map will be updated this summer to include all the 2019 submissions.

MetroNet Construction Continues This Spring

MetroNet has contractors working in various parts of the City installing its fiber-optic network in utility easements. Here is where crews are working in April:

General Boundary Area
Hawthorne Manor, The Meadows, Riverbank, Riverbank Crossing and Geneva Gardens
The Union Pacific Railway tracks, Western Avenue, the area just north of the Allendale subdivision/the City's southern border limit and the Fox River.

Randall Square & Sterling Manor
Randall Road, Fabyan Parkway, Viking Drive, Kaneville Road, Peck Road and the Union Pacific Railway tracks.

For more information, including a larger version of the map, visit MetroNet's construction webpage. Residents can ask questions online or call MetroNet at 877-386-3876.

The City also has created a MetroNet construction page with additional background.
Economic Development Department News: Gluten-Free Dining Options

Have you ever noticed that some restaurant menus include the letters "GF" after the entrée name or note that diners should ask their server about gluten-free options?

Many Geneva restaurants have responded to the growing popularity of the gluten-free diet by expanding their menu and making the selections easy to find. Check out some options on our "Read The Shop, Dine, Experience Geneva" blog.

Make sure to subscribe for future blog updates.

Enjoy Geneva's Vibrant Live Music Scene

For those that enjoy live music, Geneva is the place to be this spring and summer.

The Shop, Dine, Experience Geneva blog provides plenty of options to check out music of various genres in the City's historic downtown.

Grab some friends or make a date night complete by enjoying Geneva's vibrant live music scene.

Check Out New Geneva Businesses

Find the latest businesses that now call Geneva home with our interactive New Business Map. Thank you for supporting our local merchants and commercial outlets.

Police Department News: From The Blog - Chief Shares Spring Safety Tips
I know that there are some who love our Illinois winters, but I for one was ready for spring to start.

With warmer weather heading our way, it is a good time to provide some basic crime prevention tips. One of the most common crimes that we experience nearly every spring is burglary to motor vehicles. These are usually crimes of opportunity. This means offenders look for unlocked cars that have valuables in plain sight. The most commonly stolen items are money, sunglasses, computers, purses and other similar items.

We also have experienced cases where offenders utilized the garage door opener in an unlocked car to gain access to the garage. There are some simple steps that we can all take to lessen the likelihood of becoming a victim of this type of crime, including:

  • Always lock your car doors and close your windows if your vehicle is unattended.
  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
  • If you do have to leave your valuables in your car, make sure that they are not in plain view.
  • Never leave your keys in your unlocked and/or unattended vehicle.
  • Park your car in a lighted area at night if possible.
  • Consider installing motion detecting outdoor lighting.
  • If you see something unusual in your neighborhood, say something. We would much rather check into a situation while it is occurring. That is what we are here for.

Last but not least, please keep an eye out for pedestrians. Geneva is a very walkable community and a true destination spot for residents and visitors alike. Please watch your speed and limit your distractions as you travel through the community.

The Geneva Police Department will be participating in the national Distracted Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign in April. We will have officers patrolling to assure that we are doing all we can to make our roadways as safe as is possible.

Eric Passarelli
Geneva Police Chief
Community Development News: The Latest With The South Geneva Historic District
Here is a quick primer to help catch you up to speed on the proposed South Geneva Historic District.

How Did This Start?
The proposed district includes the nomination of 20 properties for historic district designation generally near Route 31 south of Cheever Avenue. The nomination was initiated by Geneva residents in late 2018, unlike the proposed South Geneva Historic District in 2011 that was initiated by City staff in response to a strategic plan goal adopted by the City Council.

The City hosted a public meeting Jan. 3 to provide information and answer questions regarding the details of the proposed district and nomination process.

A public hearing was held before the City's Historic Preservation Commission March 19. The applicants and all interested parties were invited to present testimony in support of or in opposition to the proposed district. With more people interested in providing feedback, the hearing was continued to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 16 at FONA International, 1900 Averill Road.

Next Steps
Once all testimony has been received, the public hearing will be closed, and the Historic Preservation Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council to approve or deny the application. The City Council will then make the final determination to approve or deny the proposed historic district.

More Information
The applicants' property justifications, as well as objection forms and letters of support, are available on the City's website.

For details on these projects, as well as future development projects in Geneva, subscribe to the City's Development Projects Map updates. 

Downtown Zoning Update Public Hearing Continues In April

Following the adoption of the Downtown Station-Area Master Plan in 2012, the City began the process of preparing zoning ordinance adjustments - known as the Downtown Zoning Update - to implement the plan.

The project's goal is to review current zoning regulations and adopt zoning amendments that match up with the master plan's recommendations.

City staff held community workshops with affected property owners, business owners and residents earlier this year to address questions and concerns.

The Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the proposed amendments at a meeting March 7, and the Plan Commission began a public hearing March 28. The public hearing has been continued to Thursday, April 25 at Geneva City Hall, 109 James St.

Once the public hearing is closed, the Plan Commission will make recommendations to the City Council on the proposed changes.

Related documents, including the proposed amendments and zoning designations, are available on the City's website.

For details on these projects, as well as future development projects in Geneva, subscribe to the City's Development Projects Map updates.

Public Works Department News: Brush Collection Starts In April

As yardwork moves higher on many people's spring to-do lists, Geneva residents can take advantage of the City's monthly brush collection that started in April.  

Brush pickup is intended for the disposal of tree limbs and branches that are removed by the property owner for normal maintenance and upkeep, not for lot clearing. Kramer Tree Specialists, the City's vendor, will not collect material produced by a private contractor.

The brush program divides the City into two zones, with each zone taking several days to complete. Crews will begin picking up brush the weeks of:  

Zone 1
Zone 2
April 1
April 8
May 6
May 13
June 3
June 10
July 1
July 8
Aug. 5
Aug. 12
Sept. 2
Sept. 9
Oct. 7
Oct. 14
Nov. 4
Nov. 11

Residents living on any of the border streets listed above are included in Zone 1.

Since collection days can vary, residents should place brush and limbs on the parkway by 7 a.m. Monday on their scheduled week. Crews will not return to a neighborhood until the next scheduled pickup.

Tree branches must be stacked with the cut ends facing in one direction toward the curb or edge of the pavement - not in the street. Branches and stumps cannot exceed 12 inches in diameter, and tree limbs should be less than 12 feet in length.

Residents should not tie bundles of branches with rope or wire. No foreign materials, such as construction debris, fencing, lumber, wire, grass, flowers, and garden waste will be collected.

For more information about Geneva's refuse and recycling services, visit the City's website or call the Public Works Department at 630-232-1501.

City's Yard Waste Program Underway
After two free weeks of collection in March, Geneva residents will need to place a refuse sticker on each bag as part of the City's yard waste program.

Yard waste should be placed in Kraft brown paper bags and should not weigh more than 50 pounds. Accepted yard waste items include grass clippings, vines, weeds, leaves, plants, pinecones, small branches and garden waste.

Starting in April, a refuse sticker will need to be affixed to each bag as part of the regular yard waste program, which runs through November.

Tree limbs exceeding 1 inch in diameter should be disposed of as part of the City's monthly brush collection that starts in April.

Residents also can pay for an optional yard waste cart with Lakeshore Recycling Services, the City's waste hauler. Refuse stickers are not required with cart service, which is billed to the resident.

More information about Geneva's refuse and recycling services can be found on the City's website or by calling the Public Works Department at 630-232-1501.

Check Out The Latest Addition To Geneva's Snow Plow Team

When the next snowfall arrives in 2019, the City's Public Works Department will have more muscle at its disposal to clear Geneva's streets.

The City purchased a tandem axle dump truck with a Peterbilt cab and chassis that arrived in late March. The vehicle boasts a 12-foot reversible snow plow with a carbide blade that is anticipated to last up to six snow seasons. The mild steel snow plow blades used on most of the current fleet are typically replaced throughout one season since they wear out or break.

The truck also features an 8-foot wing plow that provides additional snow clearing capability on wider roads or those with shoulders. Equipped with a 250-gallon water tank, the vehicle will be able to apply pre-wet salt that will activate quicker to melt snow and ice on Geneva's roadways. Now, two of the City's snow plow trucks will have this functionality.

Outside of winter, the truck's stainless steel body will be used for hauling logs from tree removal, asphalt and stone for street repairs, spoils from dig sites, and topsoil and mulch for parkway restoration.

To learn more about the Public Works Streets Division operations, visit the City's website or call 630-232-1501.

Geneva Wins Salt Institute's Snowfighting Award
snow plow
Geneva was one of 55 municipalities and agencies in the United States and Canada to be named a 2018 Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting Award winner from the Salt Institute.

The City has received national recognition for the sixth consecutive year for excellence in environmental consciousness and effective management in the storage of winter road salt. Geneva again earned high marks on the Salt Institute's checklist that graded safety and service, equipment, materials usage, snow plowing performance, tactical operations before and during a storm, storage and safety, and environmental measures.

The City put those procedures into practice in 2017-18 when the Public Works team plowed 34 inches of snow during 23 various winter weather events. Plow operators used 2,209 tons of salt to keep Geneva's 244 lane miles safe for motorists.

Having enough road salt on hand before storms hit requires advance planning and facilities that provide safe and efficient storage, according to the Salt Institute. The winning communities must also display proper maintenance and good housekeeping practices.

The Salt Institute is a non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.

About Geneva
Located 40 miles west of Chicago along the Fox River, Geneva is home to 21,495 residents and serves as the seat of Kane County government. The City's character is found in its distinct architecture, historic buildings and picturesque natural areas. With festivals and events year-round, Geneva is a special destination for unique and award-winning shopping, restaurants, galleries and more. Home to excellent schools, library, parks and a vibrant cultural arts scene, Geneva continues to be one of the premier cities in the Chicago area to live, work, play and raise a family. For the latest news, visit the City's website.