Aurora Memorial Day Parade – Downtown Aurora

Aurora Memorial Day Parade

Memorial Day Parade Aurora
Yesterday I attended the Memorial Day Parade in Downtown Aurora with my family and the day could not have been nicer! This is my first year attending this event and I can honestly say I will be back next year. The parade started at noon and made a box down Benton, over on 25 then back on Downer Place. The judges booth was located on Downer right across from the GAR Memorial Hall. My family and I arrived downtown early – right around 11AM and parked west of Rt. 31 and walked down New York into the downtown area. We walked over to the new Waubonsie Community College Downtown Campus to check out the building and landscaping around the river. Everything looks superb – check back for my insider’s report on the open house on June 3rd.

Aurora Illinois ParadesWe walked over to the Aurora Sci-tech Museum to look at the recently repaired Swimming Stones kinetic water sculpture by Chris Tobin right across the street. There were lots of children enjoying the spraying water in the 90-degree heat. I thought that the grassy area near there would be an ideal place to watch the parade, but the lack of shade was an issue so we moved on looking for a better spot. I wanted to walk over to the GAR Hall to take a look at it and we passed by the Fox River – it’s definately at flood stage – so much so that the walkway under at least the Galena Blvd bridge was completely under water. We arrived at the GAR Memorial Hall and realized that was where the judges stand was. We joined a group of people on the grass in front of the hall and listened to the pre-parade program that included vocal performances by the Waubonsie Valley High School Varsity Choir as well as speeches by several veterans.

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New Fox Valley Park District Cole Center

Cole Center AuroraLike a interesting flower springing up along the Fox River, the new Fox Valley Park District’s Cole Center took me by surprise a couple weeks ago. I don’t know if I just haven’t taken the Illinois bridge over the river in a while or if I just didn’t notice the construciton but whatever the case, I had some time today to stop by and check out the new building. Located just west of River street and the Fox River itself along Illinos on the west side of Aurora, the Cole Center was designed to consolidate the Fox Valley Park District administration, operations and maintenance in one location. Where there was once a fairly spartan factory/light industrial complex, a stylish office building has taken root. The Kluber, INC. team of architects and engineers have worked their magic and really transformed the existing space into one of the nicest looking projects I’ve seen in Aurora since the Police Headquarters.

I’m not the only one taking note. Towards the end of February, the Conservation Foundation presented the Fox Valley Park District with the 2011 Sustainable Development Award for the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly design elements in the new Cole Center. Some of the highlights will include LED lighting, a rainwater re-use and storage system, low water requirement landscaping, a permeable paver block parking lot and many others.

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Caterpillar to Stay in Illinois

Aurora IllinoisIn a press conference following a meeting between Cat CEO Doug Oberhelman and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Oberhelman seemed to indicate that the large equipment manufacturer will be staying in Illinois, at least for the time being. There was a virtual uproar after it was revealed that Oberhelman sent letter to Quinn expressing disappointment with the corporate income tax increase passed several months ago that nearly doubled business taxes. After an hour-long meeting today, both Oberhelman and Quinn seemed to come out strong with positive attitudes – Quinn about creating more jobs and fostering a better business environment and image in Illinois and Oberhelman about the company’s plans to remain in Illinois. You may wonder what this has to do with Fox Valley real estate. Well, Caterpillar is a Fortune 500 company with headquarters in Peoria, Illinois and a large manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois. Caterpillar is one of the Fox Valley’s largest employers and a few thousand of Cat employees call the region home. There’s been a lot of news surrounding the Aurora factory lately as earlier this year, Caterpillar moved the manufacturing of medium and large wheel loaders to a factory in Texas.

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