Board president buys land next to library
By Stephanie Lulay email@example.com January 20, 2014 7:08PM
Library Board President, John Savage thanks the crowd that gathered during the Aurora Public Library groundbreaking ceremony on the corner of Benton and River Streets in Aurora on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 23, 2014 6:19AM
AURORA — Along with two partners, Library Board Chairman John Savage has purchased land just south of the future main library site in downtown Aurora.
Savage confirmed Monday that Rising Star Investments has purchased a vacant 1.8-acre site just south of the new main library site at 137 S. River St. Rising Star Investments is owned by Savage, Auroran Derek Tresnek and Jason Ward of St. Charles, according to Savage.
“From an investment perspective, we saw real potential,” Savage said.
The partners purchased the site for $200,000 from Idaho-based Ameresco, according to Savage. The partners closed on the property Jan. 10.
Rising Star partners are now in discussions with the city to determine what would be the best future use for the site, Savage said.
Savage said the sale was an “open, free market” purchase and the property had been for sale for years.
The library or city are not currently pursuing plans to buy a property that neighbors the future library site which includes Curbside Limited, 143 Middle Ave., also known as 142 S. Lake St., according to city records.
Curbside Limited serves as home base for an ice cream truck operation owned by Jeff Anderson. Anderson said that the city made an offer on the property, that he co-owns with his sister, about four year ago.
“[Since then], I haven’t asked them to make another offer and we haven’t discussed anything,” Anderson said. “There’s always a number for everybody, but this would be a difficult business to move.”
City Director of Communications Clayton Muhammad said Monday that the city had previously discussed with the owner the possibility of moving the business on site to an alternate location. The city’s goal is to facilitate development in the area, he said.
Muhammad said no offer has been made on the property. No site has been chosen nor was a formal agreement pursued, he said.
“In the past, city staff indicated to the owner that it would be interested in the business relocating and the city may be willing to assist with the move,” Muhammad said.
Savage said the library doesn’t have the money to buy the site, but that it would benefit the library if the property was developed in another way.
Anderson said the land to the south of his family’s property is owned by the Aurora Public Library and the land to the north of the family’s property, roughly between Middle Avenue and Lake Street, is owned by the city.
In addition to the Curbside building, the Anderson land also includes two rental houses. The land was purchased by Anderson’s grandfather in the 1920s and housed Fox River Pattern Works until the 1960s, according to Anderson. Anderson’s father started the ice cream business on the site in 1949.
“[The library’s plan] now is to work around my property, but I don’t know if that’s really what they want to do,” Anderson said.