Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 11: Jericho Circle in Aurora Public Meeting on Future Property Use

The Aurora Housing Authority and City of Aurora have jointly enlisted the assistance of two of the most well-respected, regional planning groups, the Urban Land Institute (ULI - Chicago) and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) in order to answer the question of what should be done with the Jericho Circle property.

Working together on this question for the first time, both City and AHA staff has been preparing to host a “Technical Advisory Panel,” (TAP) assembled by ULI Chicago and MPC. TAPs are two-day intensive working sessions with a team of regional and national interdisciplinary experts in the development industry who volunteer their time to study and produce recommendations to solve a land use challenge. Recommendations will focus on the future of the Jericho Circle site as well as general housing strategies for the future. In this instance, several of the experts participating in the two-day panel have extensive background in dealing with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since HUD will only approve a land use change under very specific conditions.

In order to assure that the panels’ recommendations are also well-informed by local input, panelists will be hosting focus group and stakeholder interviews as well as a roundtable community reception from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., this Thursday evening, July 11, in the Multi-Purpose Room at Waubonsee Community College’s downtown campus, 18 S. River St. The public is invited to attend, but is asked to please RSVP so that event coordinators can plan for the correct number of residents in attendance. City residents can RSVP for the roundtable reception by calling 773-549-4972 or by emailing Cindy McSherry at cindy.mcsherry@uli.org.

“It is important to the community to answer the question as to the type of use that actually makes sense for the former Jericho Circle site,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. “It’s good to finally have an Aurora Housing Authority administration interested in working together with the City to jointly answer questions about our community’s future.”

The community reception will give residents an opportunity to have input with respect to the panel’s recommendations, but there will also be a public presentation of the panel’s report within two months. Residents will have additional opportunities for input once the recommendations are received since the implementation of most recommendations would require City Council and/or Aurora Housing Authority (AHA) Board approval.

Keith Gregory, AHA Executive Director, added, “We are excited about having the opportunity to utilize the recommendations that come from this Panel to help guide the implementation of our new strategic plan, which focuses on being more transparent in our interactions with the community and improving collaboration with the City in our decision making.” 

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