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West Side teardowns make way for new park

The Stokes Excavating crew separates metal from rest debris as they demolish home Aurora's west side as part density reductieffort

The Stokes Excavating crew separates the metal from the rest of the debris as they demolish a home on Aurora's west side as part of a density reduction effort in the neighborhood on Thursday, October 11, 2012. The lot, along with others previously torn down, will be turned into a community park. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 16, 2012 6:06AM

AURORA — City crews began demolishing a home on Aurora’s near West Side last week.

Sixth Ward Alderman Mike Saville said the home at 507 Grand Ave., is the last of a half-dozen homes to be torn down to make way for a playground. The rest of those homes, all on Plum Street, were torn down as part of the city’s Density Reduction Program, he said. The first house was torn down in 1999.

City Council approved the $142,000 purchase of the Grand home this summer. Saville said ward funds paid for two-thirds of the purchase and the Fox Valley Park District paid for the remaining one-third.

Saville said more than half of the Plum Street homes were a nuisance to the neighborhood in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“That’s what started all of this. On Plum, there was gang banging, shooting, public drunkenness,” Saville said. “The houses were in blighted condition.”

The homes were rental houses with absentee landlords and on substandard lots, he said.

Saville said he hopes the park will be complete in late spring 2013. The park will be developed with 6th Ward funds.

Saville said he’s still on the hunt for the perfect name for the park in the city’s Tanner Historic District.

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