Geneva’s mayor says decision on dam’s future not coming until 2025

Agencies to release public comments, responses by January 2025

Geneva dam, Fox River

GENEVA – Mayor Kevin Burns issued a statement March 11 regarding the ongoing discussion of removing the Geneva dam from the Fox River as initiated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Burns said the timeline for responses to the collected public comments from those for and against removing the dam will be completed and shared in January 2025.

“Please be advised that the city of Geneva through this City Council will not take any action related to the [Geneva] dam until at the earliest March of 2025 and only after we’ve held public meetings for the residents interested in sharing their opinion on this matter,” Burns said.

Burns’ statement countered misinformation that the city has to make a decision in April.

“That is inaccurate information,” Burns said. “No decision by this City Council – after having hosted numerous public meetings – will be required until March of 2025.”

A decision on whether to remove Geneva’s dam, redesign it or leave it as is will not occur for at least another year, Burns said.

In September 2023, the Army Corps of Engineers released a draft Fox River Habitat and Connectivity Study called the Illinois River basin restoration implementation report.

Based on study findings, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended removal of all nine Fox River dams in Kane County in order to restore the river’s natural wildlife habitat and improve water quality.

Burns on March 11 said he and City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins had a virtual meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources – the latest in a series of conversations with them – seeking clarification about the report.

“The city of Geneva is not required to file a letter of interest on the decision to remove the dam, redesign the dam or insist that the dam remain,” Burns said of the dam that is in Geneva.

“We are not owners of the dam. That letter has already been filed because that dam is owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,” Burns said. “The letter of interest has no binding effect, only that the state wishes to continue working with the Army Corps of Engineers and their preferred recommendation is still to remove the dam.”

Both the Army Corps of Engineers and the IDNR have collected public comments and both agencies will be providing answers, Burns said.

While the public comment phase has been completed, the public still can send letters to the agencies stating their positions, Burns said.