Downtown Genoa braces for a surge of activity

GENOA – For the first time in years, there soon will be major construction under way in downtown Genoa. Genoa Main Street Inc., the city, the Genoa Public Library and private businesses are making changes that promise to keep downtown in the spotlight for some time to come.

The new construction comes courtesy of the Genoa Public Library, which purchased the lot next to its current building at 232 W. Main St. The structure on the lot was demolished to break ground in the spring for a building expansion.

“The new wing will allow us to meet the growing needs of Genoa residents while remaining downtown,” library director Jen Barton said. “In addition to housing more books and resources for library users, the library is an important part of the downtown business community, generating foot traffic and space for activities and meetings.”  

Genoa Main Street Inc. plans to open another business incubator, Genoa Springboard 3, on Main Street. While still in the planning stage, interested entrepreneurs are encouraged to contact the organization to begin the application process. Start-up businesses, home-based businesses ready to move into their own space and out-of-town businesses looking for a Genoa location are eligible.  Springboard tenants benefit from a quality location at an affordable price, shared costs and professional guidance from a task force of experts in a variety of fields.

“The Genoa Springboard program is a great economic development tool,” said Mim Evans, Genoa Main Street executive director. “Each of our incubators gives new businesses a better chance of success, brings an underutilized building back to life, and attracts additional businesses to Genoa that fill other available space.”

Some new businesses are not waiting for the incubator. A pharmacy returns to downtown this summer. Parag Manier is renovating the space at 228 W. Main St. to house Genoa Pharmacy. Ted and MaryAnn Heck have opened The Corner Thrift Store at 101 W. Main St. The shop carries affordable antiques as well as Ted Heck’s handcrafted furniture.

“The city is also investing in downtown,” said Genoa Main Street President Linda Underwood. “They have installed new benches, planters, lightpole flower baskets and trees. The teamwork of Genoa Main Street, Genoa Garden Club and the city has downtown looking great.”

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