It's been a good year, with much to be proud of and worthy of reflection.
Not the least of the events of 2013 is Burns' re-election as mayor. From a historical perspective, that might be at the top of my list. Burns defeated challenger Bob McQuillan 2,114 to 1,401, a margin of victory that reflects about a 60-40 decision in favor of the incumbent. With the win, he became the longest-serving mayor in the long, fabled history of Geneva, IL.
Here are some of the noteworthy events of 2013, from the mayor's own list and in no particular order. Keep in mind that he's not claiming these as accomplishments of his administration, simply underlining some of the important happenings of the year.
- The election of Mike Bruno as 1st Ward alderman.
- The retirement of Alderman Sam Hill.
- The recent agreement to construct the third level of a commuter parking deck. (Construction to begin in Spring 2014.)
- Construction of the Kautz Road / Route 38 overpass begins.
- Appointment of Tom Simonian as alderman of the 5th Ward.
- New Restaurants: Smuzi, Al-Tiro, Bar Louie, Box Car, Early Light Café, Gourmet Pizza Company, Menchies Frozen Yogurt.
- Significant investment in and redesign of Delnor/Cadence Hospital campus.
- New businesses announce their arrival soon: Fox River Distillery, Penrose Brewery, Nobel House (at 305 W. State St., the former Bistro Thai/Tavalino), Patten House at 124 S. Second St., Firehouse Pizza at 17 N. Fourth St.
- Significant Downtown Investment: Geneva Bank and Trust (Mayor's Choice Award), Perlman’s Jewelry, restoration of the former Fashion Walk.
- Completing Phase 2 engineering for East State Street.
- City buying 617 E. State St. and razing the structure for a redevelopment opportunity.
- Geneva Commons sale.
- Vacancy rate continues to decrease at Commons and downtown.
- Vacancy on Randall still almost half of national average. (About 5 percent in Geneva versus 9 percent nationwide.)
- Final Dancing with Geneva Stars a success (to be replaced with new Eat Your Art Out) scheduled for February 2014 at The Herrington.
- Geneva earns — yet again — the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Award for Budgeting Excellence.
- Advancement on the redevelopment of Settler's Hill.