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Aurora OKs expansion to AU Wackerlin Center

Updated: November 11, 2012 6:21AM

AURORA — Aldermen unanimously approved an expansion of the Wackerlin Center at Aurora University Tuesday night.

Alderman Rick Lawrence, 4th Ward, said the city was able to address concerns of nearby neighbors to the center at Evanslawn Avenue and Southlawn Place during a meeting last week.

“We all agreed and committed to a better approach in regards to communication with the neighbors prior to the beginning of a project such as this,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said several neighbors previously voiced concerns about the demolition of a home adjacent to a private residence.

Mayor Tom Weisner said neighbors’ concerns were assuaged when they found out exactly what the project would entail.

“The Master Plan for the AU expansion does specifically prevent the demolition of homes adjacent to a private residence, with some exceptions,” Lawrence wrote in a memo. “The Wackerlin Center expansion was one of those exceptions.”

Lawrence was absent at City Council Tuesday but urged fellow aldermen to approve the resolution to allow for the Wackerlin Center expansion in a memo.

Aldermen approved Aurora University’s expansion plans in February. AU has purchased $8 million worth of residential properties around the university in the last 12 years.

Firefighters contract

Aldermen unanimously approved a three-year firefighters contract at the City Council meeting.

The contract gives privates and lieutenants a retroactive 1.25 percent raise for 2011, then a 2.5 percent raise for this year and another 2.5 percent raise for next year.

The city and the union that represents 161 rank-and-file firefighters agreed to the contract in September.

Weisner said this contract with Local 99 was resolved through negotiations, which shows that both parties are coming to the table. He said the contract reflects the reality of a difficult economy.

“I think there’s been a lot of good faith and good will in these last two negotiations and I appreciate that very much,” Weisner said.

AHA appointees

Mayor Weisner opted to withdraw two motions to approve new Aurora Housing Authority board appointments citing pending litigation with the AHA.

City Council was slated to approve the appointment of Shauna Wiet and Scott Voris to the Housing Authority board Tuesday night.

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