Geneva resident objects to proposal for Mill Race Inn property

Colin Campbell charges that redevelopment idea is too big, too much

GENEVA – While Geneva aldermen are scheduled to hear a redevelopment agreement for the Mill Race Inn property, resident Colin Campbell opposes the size and scope of it, as well as the planned demolition of an 1846 limestone structure that was a blacksmith shop.

Aldermen will meet at a special Committee of the Whole at 7 p.m. Monday to consider the latest proposal, 116 rental apartments, eight townhouses and 2,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 155 covered parking spaces and public riverfront improvements, including seasonal commercial space.

Campbell said many people objected to the last proposal after several charrette planning meetings to get public input as too big.

Campbell said this one is too big, too.

He and a group of like-minded people hired their own design firm and are offering up a suggestion for 84 living units and the preservation of the limestone blacksmith shop, but repurposed as an upscale beer garden or English style pub with local craft brews, light food service and weekend entertainment.

“We are hopeful,” Campbell said. “Our goal is that the council tables this resolution and reconstitute the design group to include four to five Geneva citizens who can represent Geneva. And they can come up with an actual consensus instead of this phony baloney.”

In a long Facebook posting, Campbell wrote, "We are mindful of the fact that the developer originally purchased this property with full awareness of the historic nature of the blacksmith shop, and that the city had the right to deny its demolition."

“This is a known and common business risk that any developer must consider. Neither the City nor the people are obligated to mitigate this risk,” Campbell's posting states.

A voice mail message left for David Patzelt, president of the Shodeen Group, was not immediately returned late Friday.