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Mill Race Inn Demolition Permit Review

The Building Division has received a permit application  from the Shodeen Construction Co. for the selective demolition of the long-vacant Mill Race Inn property.

The Applicant is seeking approval for the removal of the superstructure and portions of the existing foundation that surround the circa 1846, limestone paper manufactory building.  The historic structure was identified in a report prepared in January 2014 by City of Geneva Preservation Planner, Michael A. Lambert, and was clearly visible during a June 2016 site visit by invited members of the City Council, Staff, and Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). The limestone building perimeter walls and circa 1894 roof are readily evident within the existing, vacant structure. The building was renovated in 1933 by August Wilson & Son for the establishment of Ann Forsyth’s iconic Mill Race Inn restaurant.

The proposed, selective demolition work will retain the existing, concrete foundation walls of the restaurant building and gazebo that lie within the floodplain, adjacent to the east bank of the Fox River. All other concrete foundation walls will be removed in their entirety.

Asphalt parking surfaces will be largely unaffected (except at areas immediately adjacent to and affected by the proposed demolition work); asphalt paving is proposed to remain in its existing condition.

Selective demolition work will include the abatement of asbestos at locations identified by a professional, environmental engineering consultant. The proposed work includes the disconnection of all on-site utility services and the removal of several trees, primarily those in close proximity to the existing structure. 

Upon completion of the proposed, selective demolition work, the site will be graded to brace remaining foundation walls and to facilitate interim stormwater management for the site. Upon completion of the selective demolition, the former Mill Race Inn site will be seeded and fenced for safety and security while re-development investigation and planning continues.

Upon completion of the selective demolition (resulting in the removal of all post-1945 additions), the architectural and structural integrity of the circa 1846, limestone paper manufactory building will be evaluated, professionally, for consideration as a local or national historic landmark and feasibility for rehabilitation and incorporation into future redevelopment proposals for the Mill Race Inn site. 

Demolition work is expected to commence immediately following review and approval by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA); the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), and the City of Geneva.