Fall 2015 

In This Issue
Third St. Railroad Crossing Closure
City Announces Leaf Collection
New Garage Sale Regulations Approved
County Upgrading Randall Traffic Lights
Mark Your Calendars For Fun
Coming Soon: More Commuter Parking
Pewter Ornament Now On Sale
Student Government Committee
Cheers To Festival Of The Vine
Tour des Fleurs Winners Announced
Calling All Geneva Volunteers
'Art On Fire' Winners Recognized
City Administrator's Office News
Administrative Services Department News
Community Development News: New Historic Window Policy
Community Development News: Housing Your Workforce Seminar
Fire Department News
Police Department News
Public Works News: Hydrant Flushing
Public Works News: Brush Collection
Public Works News: Storm Sewers
Public Works News: Cross-Connect Survey
Economic Development Department News
Giving Program 

Geneva residents wanting to make a donation to one of the City's volunteer committees and non-profit programs can do so through the convenience of their monthly utility bill. Customers should notice the donation checkbox on their bill along with a short explanation on that month's volunteer opportunity. Visit the City's website for more information.


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Thank You for Your Donation!
The City would like to thank the following donors to the Geneva Beautification Committee:
John Addelia
Judy Althoff
Dan and Jane Anderson in memory of Alwanda Anderson
James and Annette Barnes
Doug and Jenny Benjamin
Tom Bloore
Raymond and Shirley Bonczyk
Linda Brodine
Charles and Mary K. Brown
Julie Brown
Ruthie Callard
Glorianne Campbell
Charles and Judy Carroll
Tammy Chiovari
John Christenson
Gregory and Laura Coats
Henriett Coletta
John Copertino
Jamie Daniel
Nancy Dantino
Dick Dickerson
Kristie Dienst
Maureen Dixon
Val Farkas
Lynda Fizor
Terry and Dorothy Flanagan
Jean Gaines in honor of Scott and Bobbi Lebin's 50th Anniversary
Geneva Women's Club
Lisa Goewey
Debbie Gurley
Richard and Deborah Hall-Reppen
John and Susan Hamill
Jeff Hampton, State Street Jewelers
Brian Harrington
Havlicek's Ace Hardware
Kristy Hemshrodt
Katie Hepp
Hogan Design & Construction Corp.
Theresa Jaeger
Dean Kilburg
Brad Kosirog
Lowe's Home Improvement
Tammy Marcozzi
Brendan and Melissa McGuire
Christine McKechnie and Michael Altier
Michelle McManus
Christopher and Joy Meade
Richard and Kathleen Michael
Augustine and Carol Murin
Jac Murray
New Images Hair Salon
Debbie Notaro
Cheryl 'Cookie' Olson
Kelly Pallardy
Steven and Patricia Rambo
The Patten House Restaurant
Graham Rarity
James and Janet Ray
Mike and Debbie Reitz
William and Cathleen Rex
Daniel Ross, Dan Ross Agency
Charles and Carolyn Samuel
Amy Schoenthal
Ronald and Christine Shaw
Meg Sickenger
Ron and Marilyn Singer
Kevin and Paul Skipworth
Alfred and Maryann Snook
Linda Stavrou
Esther Steel
Gayla Steel
Kate Sullivan
Sally Upham
Jim and Sherri Weitl in memory of Alwanda Anderson
William and Shauna Wiet
Rick Williams
John Wisniewski
Fred and Carolyn Zinke

For more information on the Beautification Committee, visit the City's website. 
Mayor's Message
Dear Neighbors,
A successful city - regardless of its size - must earn the trust of its citizens and businesses, show respect for the professional staff who deliver the services, provide responsible stewardship of resources, and advance well-reasoned legislation that serves the greater good. 
Now, to be fair, there are more ingredients in the recipe for success than the four I cited above.  However, I am comfortable assuming the vast majority of citizens who call Geneva home can agree with my abbreviated litany.
The City Council will soon begin the development of its 2016-17 budget. More than two-dozen planning sessions and multiple public meetings will be held to coalesce the more than 36 independent budgets into one fiscal spending plan for your consideration.
By design, the budget development process is exhaustive, participatory and deliberate.
The four ingredients I listed at the start will be on full display as we, your elected officials, work hand-in-hand with the City's professional staff to craft a responsible, responsive and forward-thinking 2016-17 budget for your consideration. 
During this exercise, there will no doubt be debate, disagreement and perhaps even outright discord. That is okay as long as we remember to keep focused on earning the respect of citizens, businesses and professional staff as well as pledge to do what is best for the greater good of Geneva.
Failure to abide by just one of these elements will have a cascading effect on the other guiding principles. It risks damaging our legacy of collaboration that has yielded success, helped us weather change and allowed us to manage the unexpected (such as the State of Illinois' attempt to punish Geneva's success by raiding our funds and weakening our autonomy - but all that is the stuff for another column).
So, let us roll up our sleeves and get to work and, while working, remember that we are all in this together.
My best,
Kevin Burns

Downtown Third Street Railroad Crossing To Be Closed Oct. 3-4

Diagram of Railroad Crossing Detour

The Third Street railroad crossing in downtown Geneva will be closed to traffic Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3 and 4 as Union Pacific makes track repairs.

The crossing will be shut down to cars from 7 a.m. Oct. 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 4, weather permitting. Commuter trains will continue to operate on their normal schedule, and pedestrians will be allowed to cross the tracks during the weekend.

Detour signs will be posted directing motorists heading south on Third Street to turn east on Fulton Street and then south on Route 31. The detour will be reversed for drivers heading northbound. See our website for a bigger map.

With the barricades being set along the tracks, downtown patrons will be able to frequent restaurants, shops and the downtown parking deck.

For more information, contact Geneva Assistant Public Works Director Brian Schiber at 630-232-1501 or send him an email.

City's Fall Leaf Collection Gets Underway In October
Geneva residents should mark their calendars for when the City's curbside leaf collection will be in their neighborhood in the coming weeks.
The City is divided into three geographical zones, with each zone collected three times using vacuum equipment. Every street will be targeted one time during each of the three separate leaf pickups.

On The Web

Residents are required to rake their leaves to the parkway no later than 7 a.m. on the Monday of their scheduled pickup week. Leaves placed on the parkway after the crews have passed will not be collected until the next scheduled date.
Leaves should be located on the parkway parallel to the street and about 12 inches behind the curb or edge of the pavement. Placing leaves in the street or curb/gutter is prohibited. Leaves deposited in the street can clog storm sewers, which can later result in street flooding.
The City also has an additional leaf bag collection program that runs from Dec. 1 to Dec. 26. Refuse stickers are not required, but bags containing yard waste, mulch or grass clippings mixed with leaves will not be accepted. Bags should be placed at the curb on people's normal garbage collection day.

Geneva City Council Adopts New Garage Sale Regulations

The Geneva City Council approved new garage sale regulations Sept. 8 in response to certain properties operating sales on a routine basis or for prolonged periods of time.

Permits will not be required, but garage sales conducted in Geneva will need to comply with the following regulations:

  • Each garage sale is limited to no more than three consecutive days;
  • A maximum of three garage sales may take place on any one property in the same calendar year;
  • Garage sale signs cannot exceed 6 square feet and must be placed on private residential property (limit one per lot);
  • Up to four smaller temporary directional signs (4 square feet and no taller than 3 feet) may be placed daily in the City's right-of-way on the day of the event and be removed each evening; and
  • All merchandise must be displayed on private property and should not intrude onto public right-of-way.

"The City does not want to make garage sales an overly burdensome process for residents," Community Development Director David DeGroot said. "We established these parameters to ensure that garage sales are not a nuisance to surrounding properties and that City staff has the ability to respond to complaints." 

Residents with questions or concerns about garage sales can call the City's Building Division at 630-262-0280.

Kane County To Upgrade Randall Road Traffic Lights In October
The Kane County Division of Transportation will be replacing Randall Road traffic signal mast arms and equipment at four Geneva intersections during October.

The project was originally scheduled to take place in August but has been postponed to this fall. The following Randall Road intersections are scheduled for signal upgrades:

  • Gleneagle Drive
  • Christina Drive
  • Fargo Boulevard
  • Keslinger Road

The project scope will entail changing the traffic signal mast arms, reprogramming the signals and modifying the signal heads to allow for flashing yellow turning movements.

City officials are planning to meet with Kane County engineers to finalize an official project schedule. We will post updates on our website as the County makes information available.

Questions and concerns should be directed to the Kane County Division of Transportation's John Guddendorf at 630-816-9671.

Mark Your Calendars For Fun This Fall In Geneva
Fall Events

The Greater Geneva Art Guild will be celebrating community arts and culture during the "Art Works" show Friday and Saturday, Oct. 16 to 17 at the Geneva Public Works Department, 1800 South St. The event highlights local area artists showing and selling their art, including acrylic, oils, watercolors, photography, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, music and more. 
Boo! Geneva's downtown shops invite little ghosts and goblins to trick-or-treat from 2-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. Look for the "Trick-or-Treat here" sign in the window.
Step into a winter wonderland during Geneva's Christmas Walk & House Tour Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 to 5. Join Santa as he lights the Great Tree Friday evening on the historic Courthouse lawn. The House Tour will feature five spectacular homes decked with boughs of holly and festive décor.
Enjoy an afternoon of musical entertainment at four of Geneva's historic churches on Sunday, Dec. 6 during the Steeple Walk hosted by the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission.
New Fourth Street Commuter Parking Lot Coming This Fall
A minimum of 70 new commuter parking spaces will be coming to downtown Geneva this fall.

Trees and brush have been removed from the future parking lot at Fourth Street and Crescent Place. Construction is set to begin in October and is expected to be completed by mid-November, weather dependent.

The parking lot will be designated for commuter permit parking during the day but will be open for free public parking during the evenings and weekends.

The project has been a high priority in the City's Capital Improvement program. The parking lot and expansion of the Third Street Commuter Parking Deck were needed to accommodate parking that will be lost as part of Union Pacific's future plans to add a third rail line, which will remove 145 existing surface parking spaces.

For more information about the Fourth Street parking lot construction, call Assistant Public Works Director Brian Schiber at 630-232-1501 or send him an email.
City's 2015 Pewter Ornament Now On Sale
Looking for the perfect gift for those who live in or love Geneva? The City's newest pewter ornament featuring the restored Patten House is now available for purchase.

The 2015 ornament depicts the home on the front and history of the building on the back. The ornament is being sold for $12 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday at City Hall, 22 S. First St. People can also purchase the ornament online by visiting the City's website.

Built in 1857 by owner George Patten, the home at 124 S. Second St. served as a temporary Kane County Courthouse from 1890 to 1892 after a fire destroyed the original courthouse. Since 1919, the house had been owned by the Nottolini family, and for a time between 1920 and 1930, the building was called the South Park Hotel.

Nancy Luyten purchased the property to start her new Cajun-flaired restaurant venture in 2014. Before the first meal was ever served at the Patten House of Geneva Restaurant and Bar, the 157-year-old home underwent a significant interior and exterior restoration to make this historical gem shine again.

The City also sells other Geneva-themed merchandise, including bracelets, picture frames, golf balls with tees, tote bags and more. Quantities are limited. For more information, call Sherri Weitl at 630-232-7494.

Student Government Committee Ready To Learn About Geneva's Operations
"Officially Speaking" - Student Government Committee

The City's Strategic Plan Advisory Committee has had a student liaison serve on its panel to get insight from our teen population. Now that effort has been expanded into a full-fledged committee of its own to provide additional opportunities for high school students to learn about their local government.

The Student Government Committee (a subcommittee of SPAC) also helps the Geneva High School Student Government Day, which is held twice a year. Students shadow employees from across the City to learn their role within our organization. In the afternoon session, students participate in either a mock city council meeting or a roundtable to discuss City issues.

The Student Government Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month (during the school year) in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 109 James St. To learn more about this new board, visit the City's website and watch them featured on Geneva Broadcast Network above.

Check Out Our Festival Of The Vine Photo Gallery


Want to relive the excitement of the 2015 Festival of the Vine celebration in September? View our online photo gallery highlighting all the food, fun and entertainment that produced another successful festival.


Many thanks to the Geneva Chamber of Commerce for organizing the event. 


Beautification Committee Announces Tour des Fleurs Garden Contest Winners

The Beautification Committee's inaugural Tour des Fleurs fundraiser was a resounding success! The pubic voted for their favorite gardens, and the winners were announced at the Festival of the Vine Sept. 13. Funds raised in the contest will allow the all-volunteer group to continue its mission of beautifying downtown Geneva.

First Place (left)
The first place winner was "It's Miscella" located at the corner of Third and James streets by the U.S. Post Office. Pictured (from left) includes Steve Rambo, Patti Rambo, and Beautification Committee Co-Chair Dorothy Flanagan.

Second Place (center)
The second place winner was "Le Potager" located at the corner of Third and State streets by State Street Jewelers. Pictured (from left) includes Christine Shaw, Debbie Notaro, Flanagan and Sheila Persinger.

Third Place (right)
The third place winner was "Karen Maladra, Esther Steel & Vivian Wissing" located at the corner of Second and James streets by the Geneva Public Library. Pictured (from left) includes Beautification Co-Chair Sherri Weitl, Mark Wissing, Esther Steel, Flanagan and Karen Maladra.

Calling All Volunteers: We Could Use Some Helping Hands

Do you enjoy volunteering? Throughout the year, the City of Geneva will offer various opportunities to lend a helping hand in sprucing up our community.

Two projects listed on our website seek individuals or groups to adopt and maintain gardens outside City Hall and the Third Street pedestrian mall. Other opportunities will be posted throughout the year.
These projects are great chances for Scout groups and individuals to give back to their hometown. If one of the volunteer opportunities fits your schedule, please contact the designated City staff member.
'Art On Fire' Hydrant Design Winners Honored

Several Geneva residents were honored in September by the City Council for their artistic contributions to the City's 2015 "Art on Fire" hydrant design program.

Tatiana Hamilton won first place for her "Apala" design located on Lincoln Avenue south of Union Street. Kassidy Keenehan's "Cookie Monster" (Lincoln Avenue and Center Street) and the Keyzer Family's "Come Fly With Me" (Dodson and Harrison streets) hydrants earned second and third place respectively.

Mayor Kevin Burns thanked all artists who participated in the program, which he initiated to have individuals "adopt" and paint fire hydrants this fall to display creative artwork throughout Geneva. More than 60 hydrants have been painted since the program's inception in 2013.

People can take a virtual tour of all the decorated hydrants on an interactive map posted on the City's website.

"Art on Fire" does not mandate a specific theme, but the program encouraged artists to incorporate the character of the hydrant's surrounding environment into their design. City staff reviewed and approved all application designs to make sure they did not compromise the visibility of the fire hydrants.

Thank you to all the artists that participated!
City Administrator's Office News: City Monitoring State Budget Discussions
LGDF Comments At Illinois Senate Hearing & Mayor Burns' Response
LGDF Comments At Illinois Senate Hearing & Mayor Burns' Response


Geneva's municipal leaders are keeping a close eye on the ongoing State of Illinois budget discussions and potential ramifications they might have on local governments.

The City adopted its fiscal year 2015-16 budget in the spring again keeping spending in check despite a still uneven economy as well as unfunded state and federal mandates. However, the Governor and other state legislators have proposed reducing income tax revenue given to municipalities (known as the Local Government Distributive Fund or LGDF) by 50 percent to help with the state's ailing budget problems. That would be a $1 million impact on Geneva, and would have a significant impact on City services if that proposal came to fruition.

Another hot topic in Springfield has been the idea to freeze property taxes. It is important to note that this measure would not help the state's budget woes but only cut revenue to local municipal, school, park district and library governments.

Mayor Kevin Burns took the time to address some of his concerns about the matter during the Sept. 21 City Council meeting, specifically in regards to comments made by the State's Budget Director Tim Nuding in the video above. 

Administrative Services Department News: City Hires New Finance Division Manager
There may be a new face overseeing the City of Geneva's Finance Division, but Rita Kruse brings 12 years of government finance experience to the position.

Kruse comes to Geneva after serving as the Batavia Park District's director of finance for the past two years managing budgeting, tax levies and payroll among other duties.

Geneva's Finance Division is responsible for maintaining the City's financial assets and investments, overseeing utility billing, as well as helping payroll. The Division assists in the preparation of the City's annual budget and prepares the comprehensive annual financial report.

Prior to working in Batavia, Kruse was the assistant finance director for the Village of Addison and an accounting manager with the Village of Downers Grove. She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.

The Geneva Finance Division, 15 S. First St., is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The staff can be reached by calling 630-232-0854.

Community Development News: City Changes Historic Window Policy
HPC windows

Property owners within the City's historic district now have more options when considering window replacement.

The Geneva Historic Preservation Commission recommended modifying the City's existing window policy to be consistent with the standards of the National Park Service (NPS) and Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA). In summary, the change allows residents to install windows of alternate materials "when historic wood windows are non-existent or beyond reasonable repair and replacement windows meet specific design requirements." The City Council approved the recommendation in September.

Regulations adopted in 2010 required windows in historic buildings be preserved or replaced with wood models. Wood windows, made prior to the 1940s, are likely to be built of old growth wood, harvested from trees that were allowed to grow naturally. This results in a stable, dense wood that mills well, holds paint and stain, is not as attractive to insects, and has natural rot resistance.

Modern wood, derived from tree farms, grows quickly due to best-management practices. While useful in maintaining a steady supply of lumber, speedy growth is not always a good choice for new windows. Fast growing wood is less dense and, therefore, not as durable. Higher percentages of sapwood in modern wood also is attractive to insects that do not differentiate a live tree branch from a window sill.

What does this mean for older windows? In short, a new wood window will not last as long as a historic wood window. Many studies demonstrate that historic wood windows - when properly maintained and fitted with a storm window - can be as energy efficient as new models.

Although the NPS, IHPA, and the City continue to encourage the retention and rehabilitation of existing wood windows, guidelines of each organization recognize that new wood windows may not be as durable and that some alternate material windows can closely match the details of historic versions.

Before undertaking a window rehabilitation project, consult with the City's Preservation and Building Divisions for design and permit requirements.

Community Development News: Housing Your Workforce Seminar

Fire Department News: Home Safety Inspections

GFD logo

Fire safety should be a top priority for every family. If adults and children practiced and encouraged fire safety in their home, tragedies would be significantly reduced.  

To increase community education in fire safety, the Geneva Fire Department offers free residential home inspections as a service to the residents of Geneva. The home inspections will cover many areas of potential hazards and will equip residents with the knowledge to keep families safe year round. 

Residents interested in participating in a voluntary inspection, please call the Geneva Fire Department at 630-232-2530 Ext. 2067 to set up an appointment.

Police Department News: Halloween Safety Tips
The Geneva Police Department would like to take this opportunity to provide some safety reminders for those who plan on trick-or-treating this year.

The downtown trick-or-treating event will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 at participating businesses. The Police Department recommends neighborhood Halloween trick-or-treating be done between 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

Before you head out for Halloween fun, make sure to follow these safety guidelines:
  • Wear light colored clothing or some type of reflective material for better visibility
  • Ensure costumes fit and are worn in a manner that prevents tripping
  • If children wear masks, make sure they can see clearly and their visibility is not obstructed
  • Small children should always be accompanied by an adult
  • Trick-or-treat in groups
  • Go out in daylight when possible and carry a flashlight for use if out after dark
  • Only give and accept wrapped candy
  • Examine all candy before allowing children to eat it
  • Carrying hard props such as swords and daggers should be avoided. Substitute hard props with foam rubber options.
  • Stay within familiar neighborhoods. Only visit homes where you know the residents.
  • Watch for traffic

The Geneva Police Department hopes everyone has a fun and safe Halloween.

Public Works Department News: Fire Hydrant Flushing Continues In October

hydrant The City of Geneva has begun flushing fire hydrants throughout the community for a four-week period starting Sept. 28 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 laundering their clothes during this time period to avoid staining from rusty water. In the event rusty water discolors clothing, residents should keep the laundry wet and call the Geneva Public Works Department at 630-232-1501 to request a rust-removing solution packet.

Signs will be placed in neighborhoods to remind residents that the program is underway in their area. Residents also can view the hydrant flushing progress on the City's website. Work is expected to be completed in late October, 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 Bob Van Gyseghem, City Superintendent of Water and Wastewater, at 630-232-1551 or send him an email.

Public Works Department News: Brush Collection Program Concludes This Fall


Geneva residents looking to tidy up their yard should take note that the City's 2015 monthly brush collection ends in November.

The program 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 crews will not collect material produced by a private contractor.

The remaining 2015 collection dates are the weeks of:


West of the Fox River
East of the Fox River
Oct. 5
Oct. 12
Nov. 2
Nov. 9


For full program details on how to prepare your brush properly, visit the City's website.


Public Works Department News: Help Keep Storm Sewers Clear Of Leaves & Debris
"At Your Service" - Storm Sewers

Geneva is fortunate to have such a wonderful natural resource like the Fox River in "our backyard." The City and its residents need to all pitch in to make sure we protect the river from pollution so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.


The latest "At Your Service" video takes a look at the importance of keeping trash and debris out of our storm sewers, which drains into the river. Also with the arrival of fall, making sure storm sewers are free of leaves will help prevent street flooding during storms.

For more information about our storm sewers, call the Public Works Department's Water Division at 630-232-1551.


Public Works Department News: Cross-Connect Survey
If you have an underground irrigation system on your property, we need to hear from you!

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) requires that all water systems in the State of Illinois have an effective Cross-Connection Control Program. Cross connections within the public water supply are a serious concern, as they can allow contaminants or pollutants to enter the public water system through what is called "backflow." Backflow occurs when a drop in water pressure causes your water to flow in the opposite direction. This can allow contaminated or polluted water to flow back into your drinking water.

Given IEPA regulations and the dangers that exist from unprotected cross connections, it is necessary to establish and maintain an effective control program to ensure both the integrity of the City of Geneva's water supply as well as to protect our water customers.

One necessary component in this program is a survey of the water system to determine where cross connections exist. Surveys are being sent out to homes in your next utility bill. You can also find more information and an online version of the survey on the City's website.

The City of Geneva is proud of the water that we deliver to you every day. By working together and cooperating in this critical program, we can further protect our water from potential contamination. Should you have any questions, please contact the Geneva Public Works Water Division at 630-232-1551. 

Economic Development Department News: New Businesses, Meeting Venues & Small Business Saturday

Welcome! Geneva welcomed many new businesses this summer. From frozen yogurt and French cuisine to violins and rock stars, find out who's new in town and who will be coming soon on the City's website.

Tis the season for holiday parties and family gatherings. Check out our website for a list of Geneva's unique meeting venues and restaurants that can accommodate large groups and make your gathering extra special.

Remember to shop local this holiday season! Between the national favorites at Geneva Commons and along Randall Road and the 200-plus independent retailers in our downtown shopping district, Geneva has something for everyone on your list. Find a complete list of Geneva businesses online and plan on heading to downtown Geneva for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28.

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. Geneva's character is found in its historic architecture, adaptive re-use of historic buildings, mature landscapes and open space with more than 700 acres of park land. With festivals and events year-round, Geneva is a place to connect with others for shopping, dining or browsing art galleries. Home to excellent schools, library and parks, 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.