Include North Downtown in the DRI Streetscaping Project

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After receiving hundreds of signatures on both paper and online petitions opposing the project, the city of Geneva announced in late January that the proposed “Welcome Sign” project would be scrapped, The extra $142,000 from the sign would be added to the existing $1.75 million downtown streetscaping DRI project on Exchange and Castle Streets.

However, the downtown streetscaping will NOT extend any further north than Bicentennial Park, which will send the message to residents living north of the newly-invented downtown “border” that they aren't part of the downtown community, so they won't be getting benches, better crosswalks, and trash cans.

There are several businesses, including four locally-owned restaurants, along Exchange Street that also won't get any streetscaping and won't see any benefits from the $10 million award.

Exchange Street to Railroad Place is 100% eligible for DRI-funded streetscaping, according to the DRI Study Area map.

Please sign this petition and tell the City of Geneva and the Governor's Office that we need to spend at least $142,000 (the cost of the “Welcome Sign”) for streetscaping at the north end of the DRI Study Area Boundary. This streetscaping will provide the added value of connecting residents of the north side of Geneva with the lakefront and downtown, while achieving several goals and priorities from the City of Geneva's Comprehensive Plan.


Comprehensive Plan Initiative “Downtown Critical Mass”
This initiative aims to cultivate a “critical mass of quality public space and residential and business activity.”  Streetscaping in North Downtown will create downtown that is more accessible to residents, and more friendly to existing and future businesses. “Enhanced accessibility” and “downtown streetscape maintenance and improvements” are high priorities for this Initiative.

Comprehensive Plan Initiative “Exchange Street/Hamilton Street Gateway Corridors”
Improving Route 14/Exchange Street between the city limits to downtown is another high priority of the Comprehensive Plan, in order to “instill greater pride in the adjacent neighborhoods, boost quality of life, and create a more positive experience for residents and visitors." The Exchange Street initiative calls for streetscape improvements “along Exchange Street and North Exchange Street to improve the street's safety and appeal,” suggesting upgrades such as “benches, bus stop shelters, waste receptacles and bike racks.”

Comprehensive Plan Initiative “Great Geneva Amenities”
This Initiative aims to “make the lakefront and other key amenities more present in the life of the city by integrating them into the fabric of adjacent neighborhoods and ensuring high levels of maintenance,” and includes several recommendations related to the “Exchange Street/Hamilton Street Gateway Corridors” initiative.

One of the specific goals of the initiative relates to facilitating “access to Lakefront Park from the East Lakeview Neighborhood by providing residents with a safer and more pleasant experience along a pedestrian and bicycle route that would utilize Exchange Street and the enhanced lakefront intersections.”

Streetscape work in North Downtown would certainly “integrate Geneva's lakefront into the fabric of adjacent neighborhoods.” Residents of Wards 5 and 6 would find an inviting and accessible path for the final ½ mile of the walk to the lakefront.