Downtown Aurora’s Top 10 of 2012

By Marissa Amoni

Aurora – If anyone was looking for some momentum in downtown Aurora, then 2012 was the year for them. I’ve always been able to make a good case for the downtown’s fabulousness, but this past year provided me with some solid evidence to backup my claims.

In spite of bridge construction and another tough year for small, independent businesses in downtown Aurora, I can’t help but look back on 2012 and declare it the most successful year yet for downtown Aurora.

It was a year where people came together to support the arts, small businesses, and each other.

Here are some of the wonderful successes for downtown Aurora this year.

1. Bridges are up! Mayor Tom Weisner called it a first for the city that the Downer Place bridges were completed in just one construction season.

2. Two-way on two streets. Both Downer Place and Benton Street are both welcoming traffic from the east and west, as they now run two-way.

3. Meters are slowly disappearing. Where the meters have been taken down due to construction, they are not being replaced; the rest will fade away in time.

4. A bookstore opens! Culture Stock opened their doors to the community this fall, and now the second largest city in Aurora boasts the greatest used book store in the entire Chicagoland area.

5. Movies in downtown. Not only did the Paramount’s Classic Movie Mondays continue throughout the year, but Copley Cinematheque lit up the big screen at the Copley Theatre with unique, underappreciated films, and Two Brothers Roundhouse started a monthly Brew ‘n’ View.

6. Vacant window displays. Dozens in the community truly came together to beautify downtown’s vacant windows without a dime of assistance as part of the grassroots Vacant Window Project.

7. Moms at the cafe. It’s known as DAMES (Downtown Aurora Moms Engaged in Society) and for an hour and a half, moms with young children can socialize and drink coffee. It’s the highlight of my week.

8. More art. Not only did Alley Art Festival get bigger and better in its third year, but there is literally more art in downtown. On any given weekend, there could be an art show at The Yetee Gallery, Two Brothers Roundhouse, The DLP Art and History Center, The Mausoleum Art Gallery, or even The Web Tavern.

9. More people. With more to do downtown, there are more people downtown as a result. It’s really circular, and let’s hope the circle keeps growing.

10. “Annie.” The Paramount Theatre hit a homerun with the second show of its second year producing Broadway musicals. There’s just no stopping the Tim and Jim team. If there was any doubt in the historic theater’s Broadway offerings, then “Annie” stopped it, put it to shame, and left it running home to mommy.

As we head into 2013, it’s exciting to look forward at everything that is headed our way.