Official website for the City of Aurora, Illinois. Mayor Tom Weisner

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Aurora to Recieve $20M for Vacant St. Charles Hospital Turnaround

AURORA TO RECEIVE $20 MILLION
FOR VACANT ST. CHARLES HOSPITAL TURNAROUND
In its efforts to revive older neighborhoods and repurpose historic but blighted institutional buildings, the City of Aurora is pleased to announce that a plan to rehabilitate the former St. Charles Hospital has received millions of dollars in state tax credits and private investments that will allow the project to become a reality.

The complicated layers of financing and tax credits - totaling $20 million - were assembled in a collaborative effort involving Seize the Future Development Foundation, the Northern Lights Development Corporation, Verigreen Development and Mayor Tom Weisner's office.

The rehabilitation project would transform the long-vacant St. Charles Hospital and former Fox River Pavilion Nursing Home at 400 E. New York Street into a senior independent living community.

But the $20 million project by Verigreen Development is in jeopardy without a legislative fix in Springfield.

Funds provided by the State Historic Tax Credit through the River Edge Redevelopment Zone program would contribute roughly $4 million to this $20 million project that would drive economic growth and beautify the eastern gateway to downtown Aurora. However, the River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) is set to expire at the end of 2016, likely before renovations to St. Joseph Hospital could be complete and residents could move in.

If the River Edge Redevelopment Zone program is not extended, not only would $4 million be lost for the St. Joseph Charles Hospital building rehabilitation, the remaining $16 million in private investments would also likely be lost, and this historic property would continue to stand vacant, at risk of a fate similar to the blighted former Copley Hospital on Lincoln Avenue a mile south.

"It's a fantastic project," said Verigreen Director of Developments David Block. "Everybody wants it to happen, to have a building we'll all be very proud of. The extension of the (RERZ) program would be enormously helpful in making this project come to fruition."

To save this and other worthy redevelopment projects around the state, the City of Aurora is encouraging local lawmakers, including State Rep. Linda Chapa La Via, State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit and State Senator Linda Holmes - all of whom are already co-sponsors of a bill to extend the RERZ - to prioritize the passage of Senate Bill 1642 before the General Assembly adjourns. This bill would extend the life of the River Edge Redevelopment Zone program beyond 2016, giving developers across the state the time to build projects that generate business and revenue that would not otherwise exist in Illinois.

In addition, the City of Aurora is asking residents to contact their state lawmakers to express their support for SB 1642 to ensure that projects like the redevelopment of the former St. Charles Hospital move forward.

The St. Charles Hospital rehabilitation project would beautify a major corridor in the city, restore an historic building to the requirements of the National Register, create 60 construction jobs for local companies and help stabilize an economically distressed neighborhood.

"Buildings here in Rockford vacant for 30, 40, 50 years, to see them all filled, that's all due to the state tax credits being in place," said Gary Anderson, president of the River District Alliance, Rockford's downtown business organization. "What's happened in Rockford is profound and the same thing can happen in Aurora. Developers have all been able to take advantage of empty storefronts that are now full and full for the right reasons, contributing to the street and to the atmosphere and character that as a community we've been trying to build."

Learn more about Senate Bill 1642 here.

Location: Aurora, IL

General

Release Date—July 31st, 2015

Montgomery Road Temporarily Closed for Railroad Crossing Replacement

In an effort to minimize commuter impact, the Canadian National Railroad will begin replacing the railroad crossing on Montgomery Road after the morning peak traffic hours on Thursday, July 30.

Beginning after 9:00 a.m., detour routes will be utilized during the temporary road closure of Montgomery Road. Construction work is expected to be completed by Tuesday, August 4.

The City of Aurora is working with the Canadian National Railroad to encourage residents to utilize the posted detour routes that direct traffic from Montgomery Rd to Eola Rd. then to Keating Dr. to Normantown Rd. and back to access on Montgomery Rd. and vice versa.

For more information on construction projects in Aurora, visit www.aurora-il.org/construction.

 

Location: Aurora, IL

General

Release Date—July 30th, 2015

Aurora Prepares for National Night Out 2015

Neighborhoods throughout Aurora are planning events - large and small - to celebrate National Night Out on Tuesday, August 4.

Known as "America's Night Out Against Crime," National Night Out encourages citizens to lock their doors, turn on their outside lights, and spend the evening getting to know their neighbors and demonstrate a united front against crime, drugs, and violence.

"National Night Out is a great opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to keeping Aurora a safe city in which to live, work, and raise a family," said Mayor Tom Weisner.

What started out on August 7, 1984 as an event that drew about 2.5 million people in 23 states, last year's National Night Out was celebrated by over 38 million people and 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

"A strong neighborhood is a safe neighborhood," said Aurora Chief of Police Greg Thomas. "Neighbors knowing neighbors builds strong bonds and sends the message to criminals that they are being watched and their behaviors will not be tolerated."

Everyone in Aurora can participate citywide by turning on their outside lights from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4.

Residents are also invited to participate in events being held throughout Aurora. Larger neighborhood events with family entertainment, free food and more include:

  • Aurora Township Youth Center, 313 Gale St., 5 p.m. -7 p.m.
  • Eastwood Community Center, 1644 Grove St., 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Forest Ridge, 1213 Second Ave., 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Pigeon Hill Neighbors @ Garfield Park, 817 Forest Ave., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Gayles Memorial Baptist Church, 730 Gillette Ave., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. 
  • GRENO @ Georgetown School, 995 Long Grove Dr., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Hometown, 102 Town Center St., 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
  • Main Baptist & New Community Churches @ Main Baptist Church, 814 E. Galena Blvd., 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Northwest Territories, 842 Foran Ln., 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Buenas Nuevas Community Church, 402 Sherman Ave., 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • TBOC @ Grand Blvd. Center, 1226 Grand Blvd., 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Additionally, residents have planned more intimate neighborhood events throughout the City. Residents in the general area of the:

  • 50-100 Block of Root Street will convene at 74 N. Root St., 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • 100 block of Fourth Street will be hosted at 163 S. Fourth Street, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
  • 300 block of Evans Ave. and the general Bardwell School area - hosted by the Tomcat Neighborhood Group - will meet at 343 Evans Ave., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • 700 block of Downer will be hosted at 726 Downer Place, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • West Park & Blackhawk neighborhood will convene at 425 West Park, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • The Willows of Fox Valley, 193 N. Gregory Ave., 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 
  • The Northeast Neighbors will congregate on porches throughout ‘the flower streets' of Daisy, Lily, and Violet Streets, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Share your National Night Out photos by using the hashtags #AuroraNNO or #SummerInAurora on social media; or email photos to MyAurora@aurora-il.org. Please identify people in the photos and location where photos were taken.

For more information about National Night Out events in Aurora, please contact Cheryl Maraffio at 630.256.3400 or MyAurora@aurora-il.org.

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Location: Aurora, IL

General

Release Date—July 30th, 2015

Downer Place Remains Closed This Week

Downer Place will remain closed this week to through traffic between Lake Street and Locust Street. Detours are posted to aid commuters.

The temporary closure is part of the Lake Street Storm Sewer Separation Project. During this project, 2,400 feet of sewer are being replaced with a separated sewer system designed to separate rainwater and sewage during storms and alleviate sewage backups in basements and pollution discharged into the Fox River. The entire project is anticipated to be complete by the end of August.

For more information on construction projects in Aurora, visit www.aurora-il.org/construction.

Location: Aurora, IL

General

Release Date—July 27th, 2015

Applications Now Being Accepted for Citizen Police Academy

The Aurora Police Department is accepting applications for the fall session of its Citizen Police Academy which will run for 10 consecutive Thursdays, beginning August 27.

The academy allows Aurora residents and business owners the chance to learn how the police department and its officers function on a daily basis by exploring a wide variety of interactive topics.  The difference between criminal and civil law, gang and drug awareness, use of force, investigations, and juvenile law are among the subjects taught.  Participants also engage in practical exercises that cover building searches, crime scene processing, and traffic stops.  All instructors in the CPA are Aurora Police Officers and the academy is free of charge.

The fall class is the 40th Citizen Police Academy offered by the Aurora Police since it began in the early 1990’s.

Classes meet every Thursday night from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Aurora Police Department Headquarters, 1200 E. Indian Trail.  Interested applicants must submit to a background check which makes pre-registration a must.  Participants must be at least 21 years old and live or work in the City of Aurora; or own property within the city limits.

Seating is limited. Applications are downloadable by clicking on the police department tab on the City of Aurora website at www.aurora-il.org ; or by calling (630) 256-5342 or (630) 256-5385.  Deadline to register is August 20. 

Location: Aurora, IL

General

Release Date—July 27th, 2015

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