Aurora City Council could vote June 28 on a proposal to convert the old Carson store on Lake Street into a storage unit facility and car wash, which is opposed by neighbors. The city’s economic development department doles out millions in public funds to boost private business. When should they cut off a failing enterprise from receiving more?
Diane Moca: Welcome to Talking Cities Aurora. I'm Diane Moca, and these are the economic development headlines in our city this week. At a recent city meeting, a group of Aurora residents spoke out against a plan to convert the former Carson Pirie Scott store on Lake Street into a storage unit facility and car wash. Despite strong opposition from neighbors, the zoning committee approved the plan and city council is expected to discuss it and possibly vote on it at the upcoming meeting, June 28th, at 6:00 p.m. City staff said they actively marketed the property as a retail site and received no interest. Residents said city officials did not do enough to elicit creative solutions. Bureau Gravity CEO, Jimmy Allen, who owns talking cities, offered to donate the marketing services of his company to target investors who can create a proposal that's more compatible with the surrounding historic neighborhood. The City of Aurora is planning to spend $12.2 million to fund economic development projects this year after city council approved the sale of bonds for the expense. Stolp Island Social is one of several projects that has received funding from the city in the past as part of its effort to boost local business. Former alderman, Rick Lawrence, said private businesses that receive public funds should be able to reach growth and profitability without requesting more money from the city. Lawrence said any request to provide additional funding should be denied because business should not be sustained, quote, "On the backs of taxpayers." We did not receive a reply after reaching out to the restaurant and city officials for comment. We're Talking Cities Aurora. I'm Diane Moca and those are the week's trending topics.