Aurora Beacon-News Local News

Updated North Aurora plan includes focus on area for downtown center

The North Aurora Village Board recently approved an update to the comprehensive plan for the village which includes a focus on Block 1, an area officials would like to see redeveloped into a downtown center.

Originally approved by the Village Board on June 15, 2015, the plan received an update in order to accommodate a variety of changes in the village over the past few years as well as to focus on new or continuing projects.

The village hired Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne Associates – a community planning and urban design firm – to update the comprehensive plan.

According to North Aurora Community Development Director Nathan Darga, the work included updating existing and future land use maps; the residential areas plan for new territory, forest preserve expansions and completed subdivisions; the commercial and industrial areas plan to reflect recent developments; a parkland analysis; and the Route 31 subarea plan.

Darga compared the update to the 2015 document and said that “in the last 10 years, we have updated our boundary agreements with neighboring towns and we have more land to think about and more land to plan for.”

“Development is starting to pick up, and we wanted to make sure all of our documents were in order for the current time,” he said.

He said “the basic stuff didn’t change a whole lot” in the comprehensive plan, however “there was quite a bit of work done on what we call Block 1, which is at the corner of Routes 56 and 31 which has been a big focus of the village.”

Boundaries of Block 1 are Route 56 on the south, Route 31 on the west, Monroe Street on the east and Oak Street on the north.

That area has been targeted as a place for redevelopment into a downtown center, Darga said, “so the updated plan has new updated images and renderings of what that block could be.”

“The village would really like to make that a focal point, kind of our downtown, so we spent a lot of time on that,” he said. “When we held our public meetings a lot of people spoke about that.”

Village President Mark Gaffino agreed the Block 1 project remains the most high-profile part of the updated plan and said the future financial impact resulting from it “would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.”

In terms of what comes next, Darga again mentioned the Block 1 area noting that there are “some things happening now.”

“The North Aurora Fire Protection District is actually building their new station on that block right now,” he said. “The village recently acquired another property there. We just purchased a house at 40 Monroe which was demolished the last week of January.”

In the next year or two, Darga said the village will start to look to find a developer “to get something done” in the area.

“We’re not quite there yet, but it is getting closer,” he said. “As our updated plan shows, our hope is to have some multi-story mixed-use buildings. The board really wants Monroe Street to be very walkable. It’s hard with Routes 31 and 56, there is a lot of traffic on those roads, but Monroe is right by the river which is a great thing to have.”

Infrastructure plans for the area include working with the state to try and improve Route 31.

“It’s a pretty treacherous piece of road through North Aurora but that is something we have to work with the state on,” Darga said.

[email protected]

David Sharos , 2024-02-03 23:16:06

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