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Groups bringing progress to downtown Genoa

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Provided photo)
Genoa’s downtown was spruced up by city workers who planted trees, installed planters and benches and hung light-pole flower baskets. Downtown Genoa also is welcoming new businesses, a major library expansion and a third business incubator. For more information, contact Genoa Main Street Inc. at mainstreetgenoa@gmail.com or 815-784-6961.

For the first time in years, there soon will be major construction underway in downtown Genoa. Genoa Main Street Inc., the city, the Genoa Public Library and private businesses are all focused on changes that promise to keep downtown in the spotlight for some time to come.  

The new construction comes courtesy of the Genoa Public Library which purchased the lot next to its building at 232 W. Main St. They have demolished the structure on the site and will break ground in the spring for a major building expansion.

“The new wing will allow us to meet the growing needs of Genoa residents while remaining downtown,” Jen Barton, library director said in a news release. “In addition to housing more books and resources for library users, the library is an important part of the downtown business community, generating foot traffic and space for activities and meetings.”  

Genoa Main Street Inc. plans to open another business incubator, Genoa Springboard 3. It will be on Main Street in downtown Genoa. While still in the planning stage, interested entrepreneurs are encouraged to contact the organization to begin the application process.

Start-up businesses, home-based businesses ready to move into their own space and out-of-town businesses looking for a Genoa location are eligible to apply. Springboard tenants benefit from a quality location at an affordable price, shared costs and professional guidance from a task force of experts in a variety of fields.  

“The Genoa Springboard program is a great economic development tool for downtown,” Mim Evans, Genoa Main Street executive director said in the release. “Each of our incubators gives new businesses a better chance of success, brings an underutilized building back to life, and attracts additional businesses to Genoa that fill other available space.”

Some new businesses are not waiting for the incubator to open. A pharmacy returns to downtown later this summer. Parag Manier is renovating the space at 228 W. Main St., to house Genoa Pharmacy. Ted and MaryAnn Heck have opened The Corner Thrift Store at 101 W. Main St. The shop carries affordable antiques as well as Ted’s handcrafted furniture.

“The City of Genoa is also investing in downtown,” Linda Underwood, Genoa Main Street president said in the release. “They have installed new benches, planters, lightpole flower baskets and street trees. The teamwork of Genoa Main Street, Genoa Garden Club and the City has downtown looking great!”

“Genoa Main Street was started by concerned downtown business owners and the Chamber of Commerce in 1996,” Underwood said in the release. “Since then we have worked hard to make downtown a great place to live, work, or visit. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization funded by donations from the business community and local residents. Thanks to their strong support, we are looking forward to continuing to promote downtown as the economic and social center of the community.”

For information on Genoa Main Street Inc., downtown business opportunities or upcoming events, visit www.genoamainstreet.com.

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