GENOA – Genoa’s economy may be seeing the light shining through the clouds.
That’s what the Joe Misurelli, the city’s administrative consultant, told a small group gathered Thursday at Genoa City Hall for the annual state of the city address. The event was sponsored by the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Last year, we had this meeting a week after Brown’s announced it was closing. That was a major problem for the city,” Misurelli said. “But the Pig [Piggly Wiggly] came to the rescue, and I understand it is doing very well there.”
Eggleston’s Pharmacy indicated a commitment to remain but ended up closing as well. The new Genoa Pharmacy opened Oct. 7 downtown with the help of a low-interest loan from the city’s revolving loan fund. Genoa Pharmacy received a seven-year $75,000 loan at 3 percent interest to help pay for shelving, equipment and cash registers.
“We now have more square footage in grocery and pharmacy than we did before Brown’s closed,” Misurelli said.
Other business successes include the reopened Cafe 72, Kerry Collins Photography and the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce relocating to 111 N. Sycamore St., the opening of Genoa Dental on Pearson Drive, and two antique stores on Main Street.
Although residential building permits have not rebounded to the levels seen before 2008, Genoa has fared well with a high of nine permits issued in 2010, Misurelli said. Three have been issued in 2013.
While changes to the city’s landscape are visible, Misurelli also discussed some of the infrastructure improvements and plans for more.
In the past two years, $4.1 million in infrastructure improvements to the sewer system on the east side of the community and several street projects have been finished. More than $3 million of that was state and federal funds, Misurelli said.
Looking ahead to 2014, Misurelli said Lloyd Landscaping is considering building a garden center and landscaping business at the former junkyard at 622 Park Ave,
Owner Bill Lloyd was scheduled to appear in front of the Genoa Planning Commission on Thursday night. Misurelli said the agreement could be presented to the Genoa City Council as early as Dec. 3.
That news excited Kevin McArtor, chairman of the city’s economic development commission.
“That property has been empty for a while,” McArtor said. “I’m glad to hear someone is looking to revitalize that area.”