4th of July in Aurora: A Parade and Fireworks...

Parade: 10 a.m. Mayor Weisner will lead the pre-parade program at 9:15 a.m. on the mainstage located at the corner of Galena Blvd. and Stolp Ave. He will be joined by aldermen, Grand Marshals Tim Rater & Jim Corti and special guest performers to kick-off the holiday. With more than 100 units, the parade will step off at 10:00 a.m. from the Santori Public Library at the corner of River St. and Benton Ave. The NEW parade route for this year is: east on Benton to Broadway; north on Broadway to Downer; west on Downer to Stolp; north on Stolp to Galena; west on Galena to River St; and south on River St. to Downer. Parade-goers can watch from anywhere along the parade route. A prime viewing location will be near the Reviewing Stand located at the corner of Galena Blvd. and Stolp Ave. Bring the family downtown for another great parade in the morning and then again for a fun time at the fireworks in the evening. Fireworks: 9:35 p.m. The public can watch the fireworks from two prime downtown locations during the Fireworks Extravaganza and Family Fun Night. Both RiverEdge Park and McCullough Park at the Prisco Center will be buzzing with activities from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., with fireworks at 9:35 p.m. RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, will have an array of food vendors, good music and an amazing view of the fireworks. Entertainment includes: 6:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.: American Legion Band 7:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.: Fox Valley Orchestra 9:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Community Line-Dancing (Cha Cha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, etc.) McCullough Park at the Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois, will have a variety of food vendors, good music, bounce houses & games for the kids and an amazing view...

Going to a Concert at RiverEdge Park this Summer? Here’s your Insider Guide....

Whether you are going to RiverEdge Park to see Willie or Weird Al, we’ve compiled some handy tips and tricks for you to navigate your way through downtown Aurora and the park. Have a great show! How do I get there? If you’re a local, then biking is by far the best way to get to the park. There are several bike racks in front and on the south side of the park entrances. There’s even a bike trail behind the park. If you’re in Chicago or on the train line, then Aurora is the last train stop from Union Station. If it’s a weekend show, the weekend train pass is a steal. I’m driving. Where do I park? To avoid any hassle, the best parking is in a city lot or along the streets in downtown Aurora. You can park for free and walk a block or two to the park. If you want to park close, then the Aurora Transportation Center has a $5 fee lot across the street on Broadway. There’s also a 10-hour lot behind the amazing Aurora Regional Fire Museum at the corner of Broadway and New York Street. Downtown has two public parking decks that are $5 max. Not bad. I don’t have tickets, but want to by them at the show. Starting at Noon the day of the show, you can visit the RiverEdge Park Box Office located at the main entrance gate 2, open on show days only beginning at Noon. Starting one hour before gates open, you may visit any of the brown remote Ticket Booth huts located outside the four entrance gates. How early should I arrive? That depends. Arrive early to claim a spot on the concrete to set up some chairs. Arrive at any time...

Iconic Hobbs Building Now in City’s Hands...

Due to significant structural deficiencies, multiple unresolved citations and serious public safety concerns, the City of Aurora accepted the donation of the historic Hobbs building, 2 N. River Street, on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 21, 2016 and immediately began emergency repairs. The City of Aurora began the process by removing the “onion” dome, which had been deemed structurally unsound. It is the City’s intention to see that the dome is replaced when the building is redeveloped. “The Hobbs building is significant to our downtown, both historically and architecturally, and deserves to be preserved going forward,” said Mayor Tom Weisner. “We exhausted every measure in our attempts to force the owner of the Hobbs building to properly maintain the building. Unfortunately, the law gives us little leverage over property owners who let their properties fall into serious disrepair. As the City assumes ownership of this historic building, our first priority is to stabilize the structure and eliminate any possible danger to the public. Then, we will work with Invest Aurora on identifying a viable redevelopment partner. Over the past few years, there has been more than $100 million in investment in downtown Aurora along River Street. I firmly believe the Hobbs building is in an ideal location to continue this growth and development.” Over the past four years alone, the City has cited the Hobbs building owner 8 times for violations ranging from vacant property registration and zoning violations to more critical internal and external building violations, including an unsecured elevator shaft, frame damage, holes in the roof, broken windows and the unstable and shifting dome. For many of these violations, the City of Aurora stepped in to handle the repair work for the sake of public safety. Due to continued concerns, earlier this...

Live Music at Millennium Plaza this Summer...

After a successful pilot run last summer, Wednesdays at the Plaza returns for a longer stay this summer. Local businesses are again hosting a series of free live music concerts every Wednesday from June 15 until August 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Millennium Plaza, on Stolp Avenue in downtown Aurora. The inaugural Wednesdays at the Plaza series ran for four weeks last August. This summer will feature the following Fox Valley musical artists: June 15, Scott Tipping Syndicate; June 22, Greg Boerner; June 29, Crystal Gravy with The RPMs; July 6, Anderlik, Otto & Church; July 13, Saint Astro; July 20, Etha and friends; July 27, Jake Mack Trio; Aug. 3, A Light Sleeper; Aug. 10, Small Shiny Things; Aug.17, Town Band. “It’s a great opportunity to join the community in supporting local musicians and businesses in downtown Aurora. We encourage people to bring their family and enjoy a nice evening by the river,” organizer Marissa Amoni said.   The series is organized by Marissa Amoni and Tony Scott and sponsored by Vicki McCoy of Re/Max Town & Country, Ald. Mike Saville, City of Aurora, Konen Insurance, Karademas Management, AKA Dance, Aurora Downtown, Downtown Auroran Magazine, The Compounder, The Yetee, Aurora Fastprint, Rocktown Adventures, Culture Stock, and Reuland Food Service. Typically, one food vendor will be parked along Stolp Avenue during the concert. For more information, visit downtownauroran.com or Wednesdays at the Plaza on...

Aurora Downtown Offers BIG Grants to Help Businesses Open...

In 2015, Aurora Downtown, downtown’s organization of business and property owners, successfully helped to open four new storefronts by offering grants to businesses that wished to locate in downtown Aurora. Encouraged by the success of the grant program’s first year, Aurora Downtown’s Business Attraction and Retention Committee is once again offering grants to businesses locating in the area that Aurora Downtown serves. The goal of the Business Incentive Grant Program (BIG) is to incentivize desired independently-owned for-profit businesses to locate or grow in downtown Aurora’s Special Service Area. Desired businesses include restaurants, bakeries, pubs, cafes, small grocers; hobby, music, clothing, shoe, and book stores; florists; and creative arts including artists studios, performing arts spaces, and the culinary arts; pet supply stores; exercise studios; and specialty furniture stores. The BIG program offers a grant for 30 percent of eligible expenses not to exceed $10,000 for independently-owned businesses to downtown Aurora that fall within the desired use category. Grants are available for projects that bring new business into Aurora or allow an existing business to expand in a significant way that will benefit downtown. Examples of acceptable projects for an existing business are landscaping to allow for more outdoor seating at restaurants, purchase of equipment that expands the services offered by a business, interior remodeling that allows a business to offer new goods and services or improve the experience of customers. Grant money is not available for inventory, payroll, deferred maintenance, or other routine expenses. The business owner must provide the following documentation: Business plan including detailed financial forecast Project overview including summarizing the project, explaining how the project will benefit downtown Aurora, and detailed expenses Property owner’s agreement For an existing business – two years of financial statements For a new business – funding breakdown / bank statements,...