Plans for Aurora: Route 59 commercial, buildings

By Amy Roth / The Voice

The Aurora City Council March 5 Committee of the Whole meeting at City Hall included plans for Route 59 commercial corridor building, road resurfacing, and firefighters’ ballistic vests.

• Plans for Route 59, old West Aurora building discussed.

A Route 59 corridor plan that lays out a new look and new purposes for Fox Valley Mall and the surrounding area was sent on for Aurora City Council approval March 12.

If approved, the study would be included in the City of Aurora’s Comprehensive Plan for the corridor, which includes property east of the Canadian National Railroad tracks, west of Route 59, north of Montgomery Road, and south of the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks.

Oliver Robinson, executive vice president of development and construction for Centennial Group, the majority land owner of Fox Valley Mall, came to the meeting from Texas in support of the plan, said Trevor Dick, the city’s director of development strategy and facilitation.

Oliver told the Committee of the Whole that the mall is “absolutely” on board with the plan, and that Centennial is interested in continuing to “invest in the community.”

Aldermen seemed to be on board with the Route 59 plan, as well. Eighth Ward alderman Rick Mervine said that the city has an “exciting opportunity here. It’s something we need and the need is based on real world activity.”

The city government of Aurora hired Schoppe Design Associates Inc., of Oswego, as the consultants on the plan in February 2018, said Carrie Hansen, director of planning & governmental services for Schoppe Design. The city government decided to reevaluate the Route 59 corridor because of changes in buying habits and a market analysis that revealed demand for housing, new retail, and a grocery store.

Key developments in the plan include Pacifica Square, which already is under construction just north of Fox Valley Mall, Gramercy Townhomes, already under construction just north of Calvary Church, and a number of other retail, restaurant and entertainment venues, including a commercial badminton facility, senior housing, and a new look and purpose for Fox Valley Mall.

Potential mall projects included in the study are redevelopment of the vacant Sears and Carson’s stores, an “intergenerational village of customers and community,” more open space for activities such as farmers markets and art fairs, and an inner-ring road that will continue a Main Street theme around the mall.

Hansen said the new mall plan “announces Aurora,” and “sets the tone for what happens as you move west.”

She added that the plan should be “updated and analyzed” regularly, at least every five years.

• Council may approve road resurfacing.

It’s almost road construction time in Aurora, and City Council will vote March 12 on spending $7.1 Million for the citywide resurfacing program for 2019.

Builders Paving, LLC, of Hillside, won the contract for the work. The City maintains nearly 1,300 miles of streets. In 2019, the contract includes the resurfacing of 59.7 lane miles of streets. In 2018, the City resurfaced 51.8 lane miles.

A list of all streets to be resurfaced will be posted on the City’s website under “Construction,” he said.

Construction is expected to begin in April, “as soon as the asphalt plants open, which is temperature-dependent,” Schroth said. Construction is to be complete by October.

The money for the paving is in the 2019 budget, with about $3 Million coming from motor fuel tax funds.

Schroth said crews are working on filling potholes. Residents can call customer service at 630-256-INFO to report potholes.

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