GENOA – From Mayor Mark Vicary’s perspective, Genoa had another great year, in part because of his administration’s aptitude at finding funds to pay for city initiatives.
“There’s an incredible amount of good work that goes on at the city behind the scenes,” Vicary said during his State of the City address at Genoa’s Veterans Home on Thursday, an annual update hosted by the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce.
The annual address highlighted new business and economic development over the past year, and a number of projects conducted by the city’s Public Works department, such as a half-a-million dollar water tower repair project over the summer, a 10,500-square-foot Dollar General store and a new facade improvement program to encourage development such as the Genoa Food Hub, a partnership through the DeKalb County Community Gardens. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers also came to town and are in the process of building a training facility.
Vicary said street improvement is a goal for the coming year.
“It’s not lost on anybody in the city that we have some streets in urgent need of repair,” Vicary said. “Street repairs carry the highest cost of all improvements, and we’re currently in the process of identifying some fiscal tools at our disposal which will enable us to address these issues sooner rather than later.”
The Dollar General, 101 Kearney Drive, went up in January. Smoking Grill & Pizzeria, 528 E. Main St., doubled in size and added an arcade space. Liquor ‘n’ Wine, 540 E. Main St., also expanded its space, and Open Door Coffee, a mobile cafe, began operating in the summer and is hoping to set up a brick-and-mortar spot soon.
The newest edition is Gillerson’s Gastro Diner, 313 W. Main St., which Vicary said was “highly anticipated” and opened its doors with the help of the city’s revolving loan program.
Alyssa Seguss, the city’s administrative director, said development is up in Genoa. In 2019, the city issued 200 building permits, ranging from sheds, to finished basements, to expansion projects by local businesses.
“Each and every one of these projects, big or small, represents growth in the community and an increased value to the city,” Seguss said.
She said 17 new homes were built, compared with the 18 homes built between 2016 and 2018.
“It’s the greatest number of homes built since the Great Recession,” Seguss said.
Vicary said Genoa’s size doesn’t stop it.
“We run on fumes.” Vicary said. “We don’t have the Walmart, Hy-Vee, Jewel, we don’t have the sales tax base that these other communities have. But we somehow manage every time to find our way through, and it’s because of the incredible effort, good work and team that we have who all come together and find money.”