Tuesday, February 12, 2013
There's a new proposal for the Coultrap building—but it's not to fight its demolition.
In late January, Colin and Glorianne Campbell addressed the Geneva School Board with a passionate plea to save the historic Coultrap building. But in the wake of a School District resolution to demolish the 90-year-old former high school building, the Campbells and other Geneva historic preservationists turn their attention from ways to stop the wrecking ball to preserving Coultrap's relics and memorializing both the building and its namesake. Speaking again before the board—this time at Williamsburg Elementary School, where board meetings were moved after the vote for Coultrap's demolition—Colin Campbell asked board members to establish a committee to develop a list of items that should be salvaged from the Coultrap facility before …
Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources awards a grant to restore the front porch of the museum on Peck Farm Park.
Sunday, February 3
The Geneva Park District received an Illinois Public Museum Capital Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to restore the front porch of the historic Peck House, as well as redevelop the exhibits in the house. “This grant allows us to develop and expand exhibits, create an engaging educational atmosphere, and preserve the historic value of Peck Farm Park,” said Trish Burns, manager of Peck Farm Park. This project is part of the $15 million awarded to public museums across Illinois to improve facilities and develop new exhibits while creating more than 370 jobs. Supported by Gov. Patd Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, these investments will provide the millions of people who visit Illinois’ public museums each …
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A resident calls on the City Council for help saving the 90-year-old school building, but officials say the city can't and won't intervene.
A Geneva resident called on Geneva City Council members Tuesday night to weigh in on the possible demolition of the Coultrap school building, but elected officials said there's not much they can do. Carolyn Givens, 101 Sandholm St., addressed the council during its "new business" portion of the agenda, saying she is "appalled, frankly" that the School District would consider tearing down a 90-year-old building. "I’m appealing to you as a citizen of Geneva to tell the School Board that the old building is worth saving," she said. "They (School Board members) feel the building is a piece of trash they should tear down for lumber, and I think you as individuals should say something. The nails in this building are older than any of us here." …
Monday, January 21, 2013
A Geneva citizens group is still thinking of ways to save the Coultrap building, even as a School Board vote approaches on Jan. 28.
With the clock ticking toward a Jan. 28 vote on the fate of the Coultrap building, historic preservationists are attempting to come up with an alternative to save the former high school, middle school and grade school built in 1923. Speaking at a Historic Preservation Commission meeting on Jan. 15, preservationists in the audience and the dais discussed the Geneva School Board's apparent leaning toward a decision to demolish the building. Commission Chairman Scott Roy said there wasn't much the commission could do to stop demolition until or unless the building demolition came before the HPC—which is unlikely, since the Coultrap property is not within Geneva's downtown historic districts. On Jan. 15, Commissioner Mike Bruno posted a blog …
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Genevans, the Historic Preservation Commission applauded for saving the distinctive downtown landmark, once scheduled for demolition.
At first, it was curious that more people weren't attending Tuesday's Historic Preservation Commission meeting, considering the topic was the Pure Oil Building. But it's also easy to see why the meeting wasn't a big deal. After all, HPC support for putting the Pure Oil building on the National Register is a no-brainer if ever there was one. Historic Prevervation Commissioner Mike Bruno described the domestic cottage-style structure as "one of the most valuable and iconic buildings in (its) place and time." "I don't think there's any question about our vote on this," Bruno said. "We've been neck deep or deeper in the preservation of this building." Indeed, few topics in Geneva during that past year that have generated more conversation, …
Monday, January 14, 2013
At a public forum Monday, evidence mounts against the possible adaptive reuse of the historic building that once was Geneva's high school.
At about 6:35 p.m. Monday, the death knell might have rung for the former Coultrap school. A School Board vote still has to be taken in two weeks, but at Monday's public forum, you could almost hear the building crumbling under the weight of the mounting evidence that it's too old, too far gone and too expensive for any sort of adaptive reuse. The cost to maintain it "as is"? More than $1.6 million, including roof repairs, asbestos abatement, plumbing, tuckpointing and annual utility costs of $69,000. Leasing the facility? At least $1 million for necessary upgrades. Projected cost to renovate for occupancy by students? $15.7 million—conservatively. Creative solutions? The district took a look at moving the Fox Valley Career Center from its…
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Part 5 of a multipart series in memoriam of the many amazing people Geneva lost in 2012.
Janet Safanda's name should be more than a footnote in the Geneva history books. That's because Safanda was instrumental in the movement to preserve Geneva's historic buildings during the fast-growth period of the 1980s, and her legacy lives on in the stories of the day. It's hard not to think of this year's movement to preserve the Pure Oil Building without remembering Janet's similar efforts to preserve the former creamery building that's now a part of the foundation of the Herrington Inn. Back in those halcyon days, the issue of historic preservation popped up a lot in news articles. Developers were building new subdivisions, Tax Increment Financing Districts were new funding mechanisms for development and there were opportunities all…
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
"Landmarking" is an option for anyone in Geneva who wants to protect a building from demolition. Now a citizen's group is beginning the process for the Coultrap facility.
A Geneva Patch blogger and member of the Historic Preservation Commission said Wednesday that a citizens group has started a process to give local "landmark" status to the Coultrap building. Mike Bruno wrote a blog about the local landmarking process, which was published on Geneva Patch at 10 a.m. Wednesday. By the afternoon, a group of citizens had approached city of Geneva's Community Development Director Dick Untch about how to start the process for the Coultrap facility, which is being considered for demolition by School District 304. It's not a quick process. The procedure is as follows: "A public hearing is required to be conducted by the HPC on landmark applications. The landmark designation process requires mailing the public …
Sunday, May 20, 2012
What's your opinion? Geneva's appear to be evenly split on whether the mostly-vacant Coultrap building should be demolished or preserved.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Holy smokes! New plans will go before the HPC, keeping the building facade, but still using it for a bank drive-through.
Without a long review of the plans, you have to give a tip of the hat to Joe Stanton and the St. Charles Bank & Trust for going back to the drawing board and finding another plan to preserve the Pure Oil building and the proposal that could bring the bank to downtown Geneva. Critics immediately will note that the previous argument was that it couldn't be done. And now the plans show that it can. According to a report from the city staff, what's being proposed is an adaptive use of the building as the bank’s drive‐through facility. The revised plan preserves the building’s State Street‐facing elevations (north and east) but also includes the demolition of the southern section of the building, removal of the garage doors, and the punching a…