The Bright Side

Article by Terry O’Neill, former alderperson in Lake Geneva and activist.

Que sera, sera…” whatever will be will be.”
At times it seems that we have no control over the future. But the future is built on what we do today, and in doing so we give the future its starting point. Where those in the future choose to go is up to them, but they, in many ways, are no different than we are, so we have some insight into what they are likely to do as they go from the starting point that we have given them and head into the future. In the future will the City of Lake Geneva be a better place to live and visit or not? The answer to that simple question, although clouded in a complexity of unknown events, is “yes, it will be a better place to live and visit”.

In forecasting the future, like putting a note in a time capsule, one needs to be optimistic about the future and the people in it, and believe that those living in the future will have benefited from us, as we have benefited from those that preceded us, and that they will continue to build on it and solve some of the issues that we face today.

Let me make a few studied predictions:

  • The business growth of the city will continue to expand to the north on Williams Street going around the Interchange road to US 12, down Sheridan-Springs road, and onto the Edwards Blvd extension across Highway 50.
  • Some the older homes in the 3rd district will be replaced with an apartment complex.
  • Developers will continue to nibble at the Hillmoor golf course property until the city council finally determines its fate (hopefully as a city park).
  • The economic heart of the city itself will split and develop two centers; the downtown area for visitors and tourists, and the Edwards Blvd area for local residents and those in the surrounding area.
  • The downtown businesses will continue to go upscale with more expensive dining, products and entertainment.
  • Several of the current downtown bars will close, freeing up liquor licenses and improving the downtown image.
  • A complete remodeling and expanded functional use of the Riviera will occur.
  • The parking problem will finally be solved with the building of a city parking structure off Geneva Street.
  • Over the last decade there was limited city growth, but the new expansion to the east and south will continue, and overrun the available farm land, then expand into the Hummel property. The expansion will be primarily for compact senior housing developments, and apartments complexes with a couple of affluent home developments being built along the route.
  • The city’s population will increase to 12,500.
  • The police department will increase as needed, but the fire department will double or triple in size to supply 24-hour emergency medical services for the entire lake area, and it will require additional off-site facilities and staffing for them.
  • The influence of real estate, banking and developers will continue to guide the direction and expansion of the city. While they give direction to the city for personal benefit, they will also assure that the city itself remains a peaceful get-a-way place to relax and enjoy as a short break from the hectic urban life for those who live in the Chicago area.

That image, as a safe relaxing get-a-way, a beautiful lake and a great shopping area form the three legged foundation on which the city’s future depends. Lose one leg and, like a three-legged-stool, and the city will fall.

Although the city has an optimistic future, it will depend on the residents of the city and the other communities around Geneva Lake to protect the lake from commercial development and the irreversible impact and damage that it might have. The future is not years from now at some obscure distant point in time, it began this morning, as it begins every morning, and you are part of it.

Terry O’Neill Cartoon of the Week
Cartoon by Terry O'Neill

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