What does ANPI want with my neighborhood?

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm

What is ANPI and what does it want with my neighborhood? Those are the two questions that I was asking myself after a friend emailed me to tell me about Aurora Neighborhood Planning Initiative’s latest project: my neighborhood!

You can read about it HERE, but that wasn’t enough for me, so I asked Todd Vanadilok, senior planner with Teska Associates, Inc. to give me a call. He did, and I was thrilled to ask him many questions about the project.

This year’s Aurora Neighborhood Planning Initiative (ANPI) focuses on the West Side neighborhood that stretches west of Lake Street, surrounds Aurora University, and borders itself by Prairie to the South, Garfield to the North, and Edgelawn to the West. It’s basically the Boulevard District meets Aurora University area.

Vanadilok said this ANPI neighborhood is the seventh that the city of Aurora has taken on since starting the program in 2003. Six neighborhoods ran through the program from 2003 to 2008. Things were then stalled due to funding issues in 2008, but the program is up and running again this year.

I asked Vanadilok about the goals of the program, and he said that they meet about three to four times with neighborhood residents to decide on specific goals (such as street lighting, safety, public transportation, and any quality of life issues).

In meeting with neighborhood “stakeholders,” ANPI identifies both problematic issues and positive attributes of the neighborhood and comes up with an action plan to take to the city’s planning commission and then the City Council for approval.

“ANPI has more of a focus on older parts of the city. It gives older, established neighborhoods a voice,” Vanadilok said.

As part of the process, a leadership committee was formed early on and recently met at Wesley Methodist Church on Galena and May. The next meeting on Monday, August 11 at Wesley Methodist Church welcomes neighborhood stakeholders to join in on the discussion.

Future meetings will be held on Sept. 8, Oct. 6, and conclude on Nov. 3. Anyone invested in the neighborhood is welcome to join the discussion. 

Vanadilok said that the West Side neighborhood has many positive attributes including many schools. “There are many assets to build upon,” he said.

Want to know more? Check out the official ANPI handbook HERE. 

Downtown Aurora Scavenger Hunt

In Places on July 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Aurora IL Scavenger Hunt Downtown

The Schedule: 4th of July

In Downtown News, Events on July 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm



The City of Aurora will be painted red, white and blue on July 4 and will celebrate the nation’s independence with a full day of family fun including a parade, live music, local food vendors, children’s activities, and the region’s most dynamic fireworks display— all taking place in the downtown.

9:15 a.m.: The day will start with a patriotic pre-parade ceremony at the parade reviewing stand, outside the Paramount Theater, 23 E. Galena Boulevard.

10 a.m.: The 4th of July Parade, presented in partnership with the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post 84, will step off at the corner of Benton and River Streets.  It will travel east to Broadway Avenue, north to Galena, west to Stolp Avenue, south to Downer Place, then west on Downer and conclude at River Street. The prime viewing area for the parade is in front of North Island Center, 8 E. Galena. This year’s parade theme is “It’s a Grand Old Flag”.

Over 100 units will march in this year’s event including the Aurora American Legion Band, East Aurora Summer Camp Band, West Aurora Marching Band, Waubonsee Steel Drum Band, Kane County Mounted Rangers, the Chicago Highland Rifles and many other community organizations including local veteran groups and scout troops.

Free parking for the parade will be available at all downtown parking lots as well as the Stolp Island Parking Deck at Stolp and Downer.  Parking in the deck will be accessible until 9:50 a.m., and no vehicles will be allowed to exit until after the parade.

Motorists are advised that portions of the parade route will be closing at 8:30 a.m.  No street parking will be permitted on Galena from Lake Street to Broadway; Downer from Lake to Stolp; Benton from Lake to Broadway; River from Gale Street to Galena; and Middle Avenue, from Cross Street to Downer.  In addition, Hoyt Place will be closed to thru traffic.


5 p.m.: Two downtown locations will offer festivities before the City’s fireworks extravaganza. Both locations: RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway; and McCullough Park, Illinois Avenue at Lake Street; will feature free, family-fun events and activities including live music and wide array of local food vendors.  They will also be perfect locations to view the fireworks.

At RiverEdge Park, the American Legion Band will perform a mix of patriotic music and traditional favorites from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; followed by The Fox Valley Orchestra from 7 to 9 p.m. Aside from well-known patriotic selections, the Fox Valley Orchestra will also include movie medleys from American classic films and other popular favorites.

Attractions at McCullough Park include free inflatable rides and face painting for the children along with comedian and magician Circus Boy from 6 to 7 p.m. In addition, The Wave Runners will perform tropical favorites from Jimmy Buffet, The Beach Boys, Safaris, Ventures, and others from 7:15 to 9 p.m.

At 8:45 p.m., the Chicagoland Skydivers will perform a dynamic aerial display of daredevil excitement viewable from both RiverEdge and McCullough Parks.

9 p.m.: FIREWORKS!

The venues are within walking distance of each other which makes visiting both locations easy and convenient for patrons.  In addition, the City is offering free park and ride shuttle service from 6 to 9 p.m.providing roundtrip transportation at numerous locations.  The shuttles will resume service after the fireworks display with the latest departure scheduled for 11 p.m. The park and ride locations include:

Gold Route

  • Aurora Police Department, 1200 E. Indian Tr.
  • Indian Trail Shopping Plaza, 254-302 E. Indian Tr.

Blue Route

  • Long Island Sound, 1920 E. New York St.
  • Carquest Auto Parts, 3 N. Smith St.
  • Main Baptist Church, 814 E. Galena (Overflow parking only).

Orange Route

  • St. Athanasios Church, 1855 E. Fifth Av.
  • East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Ln.

Red Route

  • Luigi’s Pizza, 732 N. Prairie St.
  • West Aurora High School, 1201 W. New York St.

Pink Route

  • Northgate Shopping Center, 850 N. Lake St.

Green Route

  • Presence Mercy Medical Center, 1325 N. Highland Av.
  • Cermack’s Supermarket, 1250 N. Lake St.

Purple Route

  • AMF Valley Bowling Center (former site), 310 S. Lincolnway Av., North Aurora

In addition, free parking will be offered at all downtown municipal lots including the Aurora Transportation Center and the lots along River Street.

The City of Lights will live up to its name at approximately 9:30 p.m., with the launching of a bigger-than-ever fireworks display along the Fox River.

The family activities and fireworks are co-sponsored by the City of Aurora, Village of North Aurora, RiverEdge Park, and the Fox Valley Park District.

More information on Aurora’s Independence Day festivities is available on the City’s website or by calling the Customer Service Division at (630) 256-INFO (4636).


Scheduled from 11am-2pm on July 4th, the day includes tours of the house, wagon rides, petting zoo, music by Hudson Crossing, flimflam man Swinn D. Lure, children’s activities and a pie-eating contest.  At 1pm all children present will pull on the ropes to ring two historic bells on the property as part of the national Ringing of the Bells commemoration decreed by John F. Kennedy in 1961.  Picnic fare will be available to purchase.  All activities are free.

For more information visit the society’s page at



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