It was a decision three years in the making, and it ran from near certainty to "oh, well" in the course of those three years.
At a special meeting on Saturday, the Geneva Library Board voted 6-0 to not purchase the Cetron property at 715 Hamilton St.
The library's website posts this simple message: "As a result of inspections and evaluations made during the due diligence process, the Library District decided not to proceed with the purchase of the Cetron property. The Board and staff will be working on the next steps and plans for our future."
The Library Board had hoped to purchase four parcels that would have taken the property line all the way to West State Street. Library officials listed at least 10 solid reasons for making the purchase, including the need for additional library space right now, the present limits for new programs and asked-for amenities, parking, the expansion of the downtown Geneva footprint and future needs for a district that stretches all the way to LaFox.
The Geneva Public Library presently is about 27,600 square feet in size, all in. Based on present and projected population, the library needs 40,000 to 65,000 square feet, Library Board President Esther Steel said in an interview in 2010.
But there was pushback from many community members who like the present location of the library at the corner of Second and James streets. In the April elections, four of the six candidates seeking election opposed the move.
In that race, incumbents Steel and Steven Andersson and challenger Mark Adams won the three open seats. Andersson and Adams opposed the library's move to the Cetron location.
The library still has the right of first refusal for the former Sixth Street School property, presently the home of the Kane County Regional Office of Education.
One of the reasons the board chose not to pursue the Cetron purchase likely has to do with the inspection of the property and cost of environmental cleanup. According to articles in the Kane County Chronicle and Daily Herald, board members were asked not to comment about the specifics of the due diligence or environmental-cleanup costs.
The Cetron building and additional property, once valued at about $4 million, would have been purchased for about $2 million if the library deal had gone through. The Geneva Public Library signed a contract to purchase the Cetron Building in March of this year.