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The original item was published from 11/25/2018 5:49:37 PM to 12/8/2018 12:05:00 AM.

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Posted on: November 25, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Aurora Receives Governor's Hometown Award

GOvernor_s Hometown Award

The City of Aurora was honored with a Governor’s Hometown Award for its work to brighten up neighborhoods on the Near East and Near West Sides.

Aurora is one of 23 communities statewide to receive the honor from the Serve Illinois Commission during a special reception at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. 

The City’s Neighborhood Group Support Initiative and Rebuilding Together Aurora joined forces on the award-winning “Lighting Up Our Neighborhoods” project. 

With a Powering Safe Communities grant from ComEd and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus , the Neighborhood Group Support Initiative was able to purchase 130 solar-powered motion detector lights, which were distributed to homes in the 2 nd , 3 rd and 4 th Wards, in neighborhoods with darkened, unlit alleyways. Rebuilding Together Aurora and Neighborhood Group Support organized 50 volunteers into teams to install the lighting in backyards and on garages in the central City wards.

“This is the power of One Aurora,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “When we come together for the good of the community, we light the way for others, literally in this case. Congratulations to our City team, Rebuilding Together Aurora and all of the volunteers who helped to make Aurora brighter and safer.” 

Data from the Aurora Police Department shows a drop in violent and property crimes of about 9 percent in the areas where the lighting was installed, comparing the first six months of 2017 to the first six months of 2018.

Residents also say the security lighting project has made them feel safer in their homes and neighborhoods.

"I just wanted you to know that I got my light installed and it works great! I just love it! The alley is now lit up and we no longer have negative activity going on. Thank you so much," a resident of the 700 block of Concord Street wrote to the Neighborhood Group Support Initiative.

The Governor’s Hometown Awards program gives formal recognition to projects that contribute to their community’s quality of life – projects that have strong volunteer support, meet a need, and make a definitive impact.

“It’s rewarding for the City to be able to identify a need of its residents and be able to match it with the appropriate resources,” said Cheryl Maraffio, community coordinator for the Neighborhood Group Support Initiative. 

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