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

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Phillips Park Zoo Celebrates 100 Years

Phillips Park Zoo celebrates its 100th Anniversary with a free celebration for the entire family on Saturday, August 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at its beautiful and historic campus located at 1000 Ray Moses Drive in Aurora.

The event includes workshops with zookeepers who will introduce visitors to the animals living at the zoo and live animal encounters with experts from Save Our American Raptors, the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, Indian Prairie Animal Hospital and Incredible Bats. There will also be fun entertainment from comedic juggler The Truly Remarkable Loon, music from Dave Rudolf, and magic by Randy the Magician.

"The Phillips Park Zoo has been home to many exciting animals and even more wonderful memories over the past century," said Zoo Manager Randy Johnson. "We are looking forward to celebrating with some very special animal guests and inspiring a whole new generation of animal lovers who will come to learn and care for the animal world for the next hundred years." 

The celebration honors the opening of the zoo in 1915, when it originally housed exotic animals. Since then, the mission of Philips Park Zoo has changed to bring people in contact with animals native to North America - from cougars, elks and wolves to alligators, eagles and otters.

Prairie Pro Photography and The Light of the Heart will be on hand for photos and activities. Several food vendors, from Dick's Mini Donuts to Pie Boss, will be have delicious treats for sale.

Phillips Park Zoo's 100th Anniversary Celebration is sponsored by the Phillips Park Zoociety, the Friends of Phillips Park, and the City of Aurora.

Location: Phillips Park Zoo, 1000 Ray Moses Drive, Aurora


Release Date—August 24th, 2015

Aurora Event Helps Entrepreneurs Take Business to the Next Level

The City of Aurora is partnering with ACCION Chicago to offer a free opportunity for small business owners to network and gain additional assistance with launching or expanding their businesses.

Three moderated panels will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway.

Topics include:

Access to Capital: Funding Your Small Business
Risk Mitigation and Insurance: Protecting Your Small Business
Marketing and Sales: Driving Profit for Your Small Business
Experts from a variety of fields will speak and answer questions from participants.

The event is free, but participants must register at

The event is sponsored by ACCION, the City of Aurora, The Hartford, and the Waubonsee Community College Small Business Development Center.

For more information, contact Haley Marceau at

Location: Aurora, IL


Release Date—August 20th, 2015

Open House Scheduled for Aurora Transportation Center Enhancement Project

The City of Aurora will host an Open House to introduce residents and commuters to the proposed enhancement of the Aurora Transportation Center (ATC) located at 233 N. Broadway in downtown Aurora.

The Open House will be held on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Aurora City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place.

The proposed improvements to the ATC, which is a major point of service for Metra trains and Pace buses, will provide a safer, more accessible, and user-friendly transit station. More than 2,000 commuters use this station daily.

The proposed improvements include:
• Relocating the Pace Bus staging area to the east side of the commuter parking lot to improve safety and reduce bus delay into and out of transit center.
• Construction of a multi-use pedestrian and bicyclist bridge over the Fox River to provide direct access to the ATC Train Station from the existing under-utilized parking lots on the west side of the River, connecting surrounding neighborhoods and existing regional bike trail.
• Constructing a parking lot that will add additional commuter parking stalls, a new drive isle, sidewalk, and taxi and drop-off areas within the current bus staging area.
• Adding new sidewalks, curbs, ADA ramps, and bike shelters.
• Installing new traffic signal on IL. Rte. 25 (Broadway) in conjunction with intersection improvements into the ATC parking lot to improve access capacity and safety.
This project is anticipated to be largely funded by a federal grant from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. If the grant is awarded, construction is expected to begin in 2017.

Plans and exhibits will be available for public viewing and City of Aurora staff and consultants will be available to answer questions. Written comments may be completed at the meeting or mailed no later than Wednesday, September 9, 2015 to: City of Aurora, Division of Public Works/Engineering, 44 E. Downer Place, Aurora IL, 60507.

If special accommodations to attend the meeting are needed for anyone with disabilities, please contact Souts Thavong at or 630-256-3200 by Friday, August 21, 2015 to make arrangements.

Location: City Hall (5th floor conference rooms), 44 E. Downer Place, Aurora, IL


Release Date—August 19th, 2015

Officer Honored for Efforts in Two Felony Cases

A nine year Aurora Police veteran officer has been named July’s ‘Employee of the Month’ for his actions on two recent high-profile cases that led to felony charges against two men and three juveniles.

In the first case, Officer Michael Townsend responded to a call for criminal trespass to a Far East side swimming pool where a man was seen staring inappropriately at children as they swam. When confronted by workers at the pool, the man lied about why he was present and then quickly left the property. Upon investigation, Officer Townsend quickly learned the man was a sexual deviant who was well-known to the police so he immediately started the detailed work he knew he would have to complete and present to the State’s Attorney in order for charges to be authorized. When he finalized his meticulous investigation, the suspect was charged with felony criminal trespass to a place of public amusement, taken into custody within 30 hours of the original call being received, and a high bond was set.

In the second case, Townsend learned of a burglary and auto theft that occurred on July 13 in the 700 block of Four Seasons Blvd., where various items and a car were stolen from a home. Based on his experience and knowledge of the area, he theorized the stolen car may end up abandoned in one of three locations. His hunch turned out to be right-on when the next day, he located the vehicle in the 900 block of S. Sumner Ave. In order to catch those most likely responsible for the crimes, Officer Townsend organized a surveillance made up of several of his fellow officers. After about 3 ½ hours, their efforts paid off when a 22 year old man entered the vehicle and started it. He was quickly taken into custody without incident.

Thanks to quick work Officer Townsend performed at the scene, he learned the identity of the three juveniles responsible for the actual break-in and stealing of the vehicle. He turned the information over to detectives who followed up and secured charges on all four individuals.

“Officer Townsend’s actions in these two cases is a great testament to his dedication to excellent police work, service to citizens of Aurora, and his willingness to go the extra mile to locate criminals and bring them to justice”, said Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas.

Location: Aurora, IL


Release Date—August 17th, 2015

Aurora Public Art Commission Opens Fall Show

The Aurora Public Art Commission has opened its exciting new fall show, "Faces Among Found Objects."

The show features the work of nine artists: Bill Austin, Gary Brown, Joe Eddy Brown, Charles Heinrich, Tom Mahady, Kip Pasta, Greg Halvorsen Schreck in collaboration with Mark Woodworth and Anton Witek.

The title, "Faces Among Found Objects," suggests a unifying factor for the art and artists. Each piece either features a face or was made out of found objects, and in some cases both criteria apply.

"I chose this outwardly descriptive title so that it would include these nine artists in an obvious way, but the underlying factor in my selection is that each of these creative people continues to influence me through their art and their friendships," Guest Curator Bill Austin said. "They are multidimensional individuals who take the creation of art seriously but never cease to find the humor and adventure of life."

"Faces Among Found Objects" runs through October 31, and can be viewed during gallery hours of Wednesdays through Saturdays, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer Place. Admission is free.

Location: David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, Aurora


Release Date—August 11th, 2015

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