Downtown Aurora, IL- A Downtown built over the Fox River including an Island

The Downtown Aurora District is confined to a smaller 1/4 mile area between Lake St to the west, 4th St to the east, Clark to the south, and Spring St to the north. This unique mid-sized City Downtown traverses both sides of the Fox River and includes Stolp Island. Because of its unique geography, several gorgeous antique skyscrapers, well know buildings by Louis Sullivan and  George Grant Elmslie, and several historic theaters, Downtown Aurora is a very iconic district. Fortunately most of Downtown’s fabric has been preserved and the district has made great strides especially since 2010 with the expansion of Waubonsee Community College Campus, a revitalization plan putting in parks and new walking paths, and major investments in the arts.

Downtown Aurora also excels with great ADA and sidewalk infrastructure, solid public transit and bike infrastructure, great economic diversity, a riverfront recreational path, great cultural and retail amenities, good urban form, and lots of pedestrian activity thanks to all the college students here. For Dwtn Aurora to become a great urban district it simply needs more residents. Dwtn hosts less than 5K residents per square mile. Dwtn could also use more trees and more urban infill to replace a fair amount of surface parking lots and the auto oriented Lake St.

Click here to view my Downtown Aurora album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent ADA and sidewalk infrastructure. 
* Solid public transit dwtn.
* Decent bike infrastructure including a dedicated bike path along the Fox River and 3 dedicated bike stations.
* Good diversity indicators, especially economic diversity.
* While few families w/ children live here good adult diversity.
* Solid school options including several elementary schools (mostly public) with generally good ratings.
* Several dedicated affordable housing buildings Dwtn.
* Decent park space including the lengthy Fox River recreational trail, McCarty Park, and the North River Street Park.
* Great cultural amenities in Dwtn Aurora including the Hollywood Casino, plenty of food & bev bizs, several breweries, lots of art galleries, several theaters including a mix of historic and modern, a couple live music venues, a couple local museums, and a local convention center.
* Pedestrian activity is pretty good here largely due to the sizable college population coming here.
* Solid retail amenities a Save a Lot, a couple Hispanic grocerias, lots of banks, several boutiques/clothing stores & Gift shops, a Campus bookstore, plenty of dessert joints, a couple gyms, a couple antique/home good stores, a dwtn library & post office, lots of government offices, a couple medical offices, and tons of churches especially in the eastern half of Dwtn.
* Excellent Historic architecture including some exquisite boutiques towers, a Louis Sullivan bldg, and historic theaters.
* Very distinct Dwtn built across the Fox River with an island in-between. Some bldgs are built right up to the River.
* Generally quality urban form and great streetscaping.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Pretty low density for an urban area.
* 50 min drive and 1 hr. train ride from Aurora to Dwtn Chicago. But dwtn Elgin has some jobs itself and only a 30 min transit ride to Dwtn Naperville.
* Rentals are limited to most 1-beds leasing in the low-mid 1Ks.
* For sale housing is also limited and generally is pushed to the edges of Dwtn where there are SF homes. For sale prices are affordable-moderate.
* Not a ton of in-fill but some really quality recent infill. Some auto centric crud along the western edges of Dwtn.
* Tree canopy is so so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s