"An important milestone on our journey:" Groundbreaking ceremony remarks from Library Boar
Library Board President Bob Shiffler at groundbreaking for the new Geneva Public Library at 227 S. Seventh St., July 27, 2018
On behalf of the Library Board of Trustees, I would like to thank you all for attending today’s event, an important milestone on our journey to a new library. When we reach the end of this journey later next year, this block will be the site of a new library facility where the community can gather and that will support life-long learning in an ever-changing environment, all while making it more convenient to visit and accessible for all to use. To quote Albert Einstein, “The only thing that you absolutely need to know, is the location of the library.” In the Geneva Public Library District, the only thing you will need to know is 227 S. Seventh St., Geneva, Illinois.
Many things have occurred to get us to this day. In 2015, we began gathering input on future library needs through several focus groups and a community survey. In March 2016, we closed on the purchase of this property so that we could maintain a downtown presence with a new facility. After completion of a detailed needs assessment in 2016, it became evident that we needed to move forward with planning for a new library to address deficiencies in our current facility and to provide the required services and resources for Library District residents. The Board made the decision to proceed to referendum and initiated a schematic design phase to determine building size and cost estimates and to complete a preliminary site plan.
The referendum question was approved in April 2017, and we thank the voters for allowing us to issue $21.8 million in building bonds to finance the construction and furnishing of a new 57,000-square-foot library. After the referendum, we initiated work on the detailed design, including holding a series of design forums so that public input could be incorporated into the final design. In July 2017, we sold the first $9.4 million in bonds to cover the initial design and construction costs, and later last year we completed the reviews with the Historic Preservation Commission.
This year, we participated in hearings and reviews with the Plan Commission and the City Council and received unanimous approval to proceed from both groups. Following those approvals, we issued the bid package and have subsequently awarded the construction contract to IHC Construction Companies LLC.
We had a terrific crowd join us for groundbreaking.
That brings us to this celebration today.
Getting to this point has been a real team effort, and it is appropriate that we recognize the many individuals and groups who have contributed to this project.
First and foremost, we would like to thank the voters of the Library District for sharing our vision for the Geneva Public Library and for approving the financing for the new library.
Thank you to the Kane County officials and staff for working with us to procure this great location. Thank you also to the City of Geneva; the mayor, the City Council, the city staff, the Historic Preservation Commission and the Plan Commission, for working with us to get the required approvals.
Thank you to the Citizens for Geneva Library for your many contributions leading up to the successful referendum and to all those who displayed the 700+ Vote Yes signs throughout the District.
Thank you to the Geneva Park District for working with us to ensure that we could continue to provide a neighborhood park on this site. Thank you to District 304 and to the Chamber of Commerce for your ongoing support and for helping us to provide valuable services to the students in all grade levels and to local businesses.
Thank you to everyone who attended the various informational meetings, the public hearings and the design forums. Your input was very valuable and much appreciated.
Thank you to the Friends of the Library for your ongoing support, involvement, and volunteer efforts.
Thank you to the Geneva Library Foundation. The Foundation has graciously undertaken a Capital Campaign to provide private funding for extras for the new Library, as well as to fund an endowment for ongoing financial support. Included in the Campaign are some unique donor recognition opportunities. If you are interested in getting more information on the Campaign, please contact Mike Longo, Foundation president, or Dana Hintz or Paul Conterato, Board representatives on the Campaign Committee. Or contact Christine Lazaris or me and we will connect you with the right people. Thank you to the Foundation for your work on this campaign.
We also want to thank StudioGC for completing this outstanding design and the Lannert Group for their work on the site plan. Thank you to Independent Construction Services, our owner’s rep on this project. And thank you to IHC Construction Companies LLC for bidding, and we look forward to working with you to complete the project.
We would like to thank the former Library Board members who helped to lay the groundwork for this project.
And we would like to thank the Library Administration and staff. Your work contributes on a daily basis to helping District residents realize the tremendous value of a library and builds confidence in the future of the Geneva Public Library.
As you can see, many, many people have contributed to this important project. Please join me in a round of applause for all these people and groups.