Updated: March 14, 2013 6:27AM
Confidence in Aurora
The recent front page story about Restaurant Row and a second Aliano’s Ristorante coming to downtown Aurora, needs some clarification.
First, I do love Aurora. Our restaurant in Batavia is doing well because we have made it clear we love the people and the community. We aren’t perfect... nobody is. But we will show the same caring and attention to the people of Aurora.
Second, one of the key reasons we chose Aurora over other cities is exactly because of the tens of millions of dollars already invested by the city to make it so inviting. Things that helped make our decision to come to Aurora easy include: the new streetscapes and sidewalks, antique looking light poles, reconfigured traffic signal intersections, new bridges, underground fiber optic cable, new water pipes, many new facades on buildings along New York Street and elsewhere, the Fire, Art and Science Museums, the elegant new lobby at the Paramount, Waubonsee’s new campus, Riveredge Outdoor Arena, a new library coming soon, a new parking plan, a City Council, mayor and an Aurora Downtown Board of Directors who clearly care deeply about their city.
And of course some great restaurant trail-blazers on New York Street like LaQuinta, Ballydoyle and Chef Amaury and all the other businesses and people that make-up the downtown community.
The comment I made about “nothing inviting” was partly a mis-quote and partly a mis-spoke. Granted, I was a bit nervous in front of the City Council and the news reporters. But I thought it would be clear that I meant we want to bring something head-turning and different from an architectural perspective, and that we want to help everyone on the block by somehow “branding” the phrase Restaurant Row in big letters or bright lights and via social and traditional advertising.
That’s all I meant, and I’m sorry if anyone thought I was implying their business is not inviting. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Drawing people downtown
Perhaps the most telling quote comes from Aliano’s owner Mario Aliano. “Except the casino I don’t see anything that’s inviting (in downtown Aurora.) I want to bring that wow statement on New York Street.”
He is correct, what else, besides the Paramount and the casino attracts people to downtown Aurora. The small shops that dotted the downtown area during the ‘60s and ‘70s are all gone. The Waubonsee Campus is a destination not an attraction.
As a long (long) time observer of Kane County government, I can say with surety that sitting board members have always been allowed to fully participate in Executive Committee discussions. Although some recent board members have exercised that right to the point of being reliably tedious, it was their right nonetheless.
Under the current committee structure, Executive Committee is the singular place board members can come to learn about and, if necessary, question the full workings of the board.
For reasons only the current board chairman understands, certain — and only certain — elected officials must now “sign up” ahead of time to exercise their right to fully represent their constituency. Aside from seeming curiously punitive, this new policy is also a direct affront to the freedom of speech not to mention a very transparent attempt to pit “us against them.”
In short, this new policy is the antithesis of democracy and needs to be rescinded immediately.
St. Charles Township