Dec 072016
 

It wasn’t that long ago when council members could get elected over and over again with no concern about being unseated. That changed in 2010 when Naperville residents voted in a landslide for term limits. Naperville city officials cleverly played with the calendar and procrastinated to the point that no council member has yet to be benched by a term limit.

More and more dissatisfied Naperville residents are forming groups committed to making changes in Naperville, and the common focus of those groups is to change the make-up of the Naperville city council by electing new and improved council members. In essence, residents can enforce term limits by voting the rascals out of office. One such growing and vocal group is NaperChange.org

Watchdog encourages you to take a look at their website including their Mission and Plan, and take note of their postings, especially the most recent posting on December 2 about Ogden Avenue; a gateway to Naperville. While the city council grapples with socially acceptable non-productive issues, store fronts and buildings remain vacant. The Naperville Development Partnership has been a bust, with little if anything to show for it’s inflated budget. And what have the four incumbents up for re-election (Brodhead, Coyne, Gallaher, and Krummen) accomplished regarding development….absolutely nothing.

It has been 582 days since the current city council took the oath of office, and what once considered full of potential has been a dismal failure. Of the nine current council members including the mayor, only three are considered as keepers by Watchdog. Surely the Naperville city council can be improved with an influx of new ideas, energy, and independent thinking.

  15 Responses to “Naperville City Council’s 582 Days With No Ogden Results”

  1. NaperChange.Org is mostly the same group that was against the Bauer Place One development on the corner of Charles and Bauer, behind the Vet Clinic on Ogden. This site popped up shortly after the City Council agreed with the Planning and Zoning Board and approve this development. I can understand and even sympathize with them, but they are misrepresenting the true nature of their group. They are not quite the “grass-root” organization their press releases promote them as being. And on that subject I am not aware of any other such groups that have been formed (I have search both FB and the Internet for such group and this is the only one I have found. It would be nice, if such other groups do exist, if this “watchdog” would provide links to these sites.

    As to improving the situation along Ogden, I will note there have been some improvements like Fresh Thymes which everyone seem to simply be overlooking. Yes, there is still a lot that needs doing but that does not mean no effort is being made. There are many challenges that need to be over come when taking about improving the Ogden corridor. But there are three that present the biggest challenges.

    The first of these is the property owners themselves. Even when these vacant property were fully occupied their owners did nothing to improve them and keep them competitive in the rental market. And since they have become vacant these property owners have stopped doing even the regular maintenance needed to keep these properties up, making them even less attractive to potential renters. The city’s authority to force such property upkeep is legally limited and no matter how much time and money council members spend trying to promote these properties there appearance simply turns off renters. Some of the business that have moved out of these properties have not left Naperville they have simply moved to better spaces elsewhere.

    The second challenge is that some of the larger spaces are actually under lease, but the lessee has not occupied the property and has no intention to. They hold these leases strictly for the purpose of controlling who can occupy them, more specifically to deny assess to competitors. Legally there is nothing the city can do to stop this practice and these larger spaces, which are usually occupied by an anchor store, being vacant is a negative for potential renters of the smaller spaces on these properties. Smaller business rely on the foot traffic of these larger stores to help attract customers to their stores.

    The final of these three challenges is the growing traffic in the Aurora Ave and Rt 59 corridors. These two corridors are presently the most attractive locations in Naperville for a retail business, and are the locations that many of the stores that left the Ogden corridors have relocated to. Shifting shoppers away from a given area to another is not something that is easy to do, it takes time and money. The best example that comes to mind is downtown Naperville itself. Twenty years ago downtown was facing many of the same challenges that Ogden faces today and it took over a decade and a lot more then 900K to turn downtown into the business district it is today.

    The expectation that the Ogden problem, which was close to a decade in the making, can be solve in two years, is like all the people out there that developed a weight problem over several years expecting to lose all the weight in a few months or weeks. Such exceptions are simply not realistic and when success does happen it is the result of considerable expense and obsessive effort (as ignoring other important aspects of their lives). If people are upset about the city spend 900K in “taxpayer dollars” to address the Ogden corridor’s issues how are they going to react if the city starts spending several of million on this problem, like they did with downtown Naperville. And even if you do find this kind of effort a expense acceptable how are you going to answer the people in South Naperville who look at the Naper Crossing area and say “Hey, what about us? We pay taxes to you know !!!”

  2. Hey there James. I don’t think anyone was looking for the Ogden problem to be SOLVED in two years, but it could certainly be PROGRESSED, right? One new grocery store does not indicate a positive trend. More stores are gone than have been added in the past 2 years.

    • If you read my post you would know I did state that I can see how the slow progress on the Ogden corridor might be disappointing to some but my Fresh Thymes example was a rebuttal to the “Watchdog” claim “accomplished regarding development….absolutely nothing”, which is actually a reiteration of statements made in posts on the NaperChange website and Facebook pages last month.

      Clearly there has been progress made and it is more than one grocery store. In addition to the less desirable pawn shops and title loan stores there has been a HomeWerks store, Corepower Yoga, Beach for Dogs and Radhika’s Indian restaurant in the 18 months since the present council was sworn in.

      Again part of the problem is the attitude of some of the property owners along this corridor, who seem to be satisfied with being “low rent” property owners and therefore unwilling to make the investments in their own properties needed to attract more desirable lessees. The city has no legal authority to force these owners to make these investments. All they can do is work with the owners that are willing to make the investments needed to bring about these changes to slowly revitalize the retail segment in this area (similar. to what was done downtown over the last 20 years)

      Part of what it will takes to make this happen is a commitment by residents living near these properties to patronize the local businesses that have make a commitment to their neighborhood whenever possible. Such a loyal customer base will encourage other desirable business to move to this area. It was this kind of commitment by Naperville residents to start shopping in downtown stores and stop patronizing business in the Fox Valley Mall that was key to slowly revitalizing downtown Naperville and making it the success it is today.

  3. Jim,

    It’s not a secret that this organization was formed as a result of the Bauer Place development. That was pretty clear from the front page article in the Naperville Sun on October 16th regarding our group. I don’t know how it is that we are “misrepresenting the true nature” of our group. We make it pretty clear on our website what we’re all about. Regarding us “not quite being the ‘grass root’ organization (our) press releases promote (us) as being”, we’ve never issued a press release.

    So please tell us exactly how it is that we are misrepresenting the true nature of our group, and why we’re not quite the grass roots organization our press releases promote us as being.

    • I admittedly have not read any of the information on this organization beginning, as posted on facebook and their website, in over a month so it is possible that there have been changes make to these pages that now acknowledge this link. But I have made several comments on post to the Naperchange Facebook page pointing out this link and someone using their administrative access and posting as “NaperChange” has repeatedly denied any such link.

      Most recently when I pointed out that the URL for NaperChange.org was registered by a person that has, on more then one occasion, been identified as a key spokesperson for the Anti-Bauer Place Development group in local newspaper articles, someone using administrative access to this page posted a reply stating this person has nothing to do with the NaperChange organization.

      Clearly these previous posts by a person with administrative access to this groups FB page contradict what you are saying. I believe it is reasonable to assume that someone with administrative access to this groups FB page is speaking with the authority of this groups members and as such is misrepresenting the nature of this group. A group started by and consisting primary of property owners from a single Homeowners Association/Development representing itself as a “Naperville” grass-root organization implies a degrees of inclusiveness/diversity that simply does not exist with this group is,whether intention or unintentional, a misrepresentation.

      • I thought for a while, after your posts here and on our website and FB page, that your reason for being so factually incorrect was simply a lack of detail. I now believe that you just make stuff up as you go, as it seems incredibly unlikely that anyone could be as wrong as you are on the facts if you were actually trying to be correct.

        We have not ever denied or implied that Bauer Place was the spark for Naperchange. For you to say otherwise is just blatantly incorrect. If we were trying to hide or deny that, we’re not doing a very good job of it.

        https://www.google.com/amp/www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-nvs-naperville-naperchange-st-1016-20161014-story,amp.html?client=safari

        Again, for you to say that we have ever denied such a link is blatantly false. You seem to imply some sinister link between Bauer Place and Naperchange. There is nothing sinister about it. A group of people reacted to their local elected officials not listening to them and have organized. Not only is there not anything dark or sinister, we believe there is a lot which is downright American about citizens reacting to failure on the part officials elected to represent them.

        Regarding the URL, you previously wrote that the person who registered it lived west of Bauer Place in unincorporated Naperville. (You also wrongly identified the area which is the North Edgewood subdivision as unincorporated). The logical person to conclude you were referencing is a Mr. Shang, who lives in the area you referenced. Mr. Shang has NEVER, I repeat NEVER had anything to do with Naperchange. So you’re wrong on that as well.

        Clearly, nothing I have written contradicts anything we have posted. Our organization started with members from Indian Hill, North Edgewood, Saybrook, Edgewood II, and Maple Terrace, and has since expanded to include people from virtually every corner of the City of Naperville. We now have well in excess of the 467 people who voted for you in the last mayoral election, so look up the definition of grass roots. Unlikely, but perhaps you could learn something today.

        You know absolutely nothing about how Naperchange was started, the original membership or the current membership, so the only misrepresentation is your continued statements implying that you know more than you do about our group, how we were started or what we are about. For you to continue to make statements implying that you do is incorrect, but nonetheless consistent with your bloviating, misleading posts.

        When you appeared before the City Council in December of 2015, you incorrectly (again) stated that the refuse fees were to be offset by an equal amount of reduction in property taxes. The Mayor verbally slapped you around and noted that “facts can be stubborn things” (44:38 mark, December 1, 2015 City Council meeting). They are.

        Don’t make things up, or imply that you know more than you do. As the Mayor you so love to defend told you, facts can be stubborn things.

        • You and I have had many exchanges, over various sites/pages, on the subject of NaperChange’s origins. As I have said in the past and will continue to state, as of mid-November (when my posts start) nothing on either the NaperChange website or Facebook page mentioned the Bauer Place development’s part in the starting of this group either directly on these sites or through any link to any newspaper articles. The appropriate “about” sections or posts may have been edited recently changing this, but this was not the case when I raised the issue.

          What motivates a person or group to become activity in community issues is not as important as their sincere concern for what is best for the community as a whole and not simply some special interest. This is why I raised the issue about NaperChange’s origins, this information being available on groups sites is important because we all know most people will simply not take the time to check out or investigate beyond what is made available by a simply click. If Bauer played a role in this groups formation there is no reason it should not be clear in this groups web presents and openly discussed on it sites.

          As to claims that this association was never denied in response to my posts on this groups website and FB page, I simply have to disagree. In fact when I just check the post by this group’s FB page administrator that the person who registered their URL has is not associated with this group and has nothing to do with it is still up. And I never said it was Mr. Shang nor did I ever claim Mr. Shang was involved with this group.

          The person that registered this group’s URL, shortly after council approved the Bauer development, and who is identified in several newspaper articles as a spokesperson for the anti-Bauer development group, is very much involved with NaperChange. And if this group had no problems with the public knowing about this relationship then they would not be using a “ownership proxy” service out of Canada to hide this information from the general public.

          Finally I have never said anything posted by “Mike@NaperChange.org” contradicted any of my assertions (other than who registered the URL). All the posts contradicting my claims were either by other group members or posted using and administrative account that does not identify the individual posting.

          As to your assertion of my “love” relationship with Mayor Chiro, I has spoken before council on several occasion disagreeing with Mayor’s position on several issues as your own sentence before this one pointed out.

          • What difference does it make that we don’t highlight somewhere the spark that got our group started? Who are you to tell us what we should and should not post on our website? We posted it as an issue, along with a number of others, when we set up our website. We feel that the Council members did not represent their constituents, then added insult to injury. So we organized, and will continue to highlight issues regarding our local elected officials which we believe the average person in Naperville should but may not be aware of. You yourself write that “What motivates a person or group to become activity (sic) in community issues is not as important as their sincere concern for what is best for the community as a whole and not simply some special interest.”

            If “what motivates a person or group to become activity (sic) is not as important as their sincere concern for what is best for the community” why do you continue to raise the Bauer Place origin as an issue? Do you have a point? If so, what is it? Are you saying we’re “some special interest”, something other than that which we have described ourselves? If so, what exactly do you believe that special interest is?

            Regarding us not denying the association of Naperchange with Bauer Place, you can disagree all you like. That doesn’t mean we’ve ever done it. We haven’t. You are simply, once again, factually wrong. Again, if we were trying to hide or deny a link between Bauer Place and Naperchange, why would three of us be quoted on the front page of the local newspaper story regarding that link?

            I presumed you were referencing Mr. Shang because he fits the description you gave of the person who registered the website, a person who lives near Bauer Place in unincorporated Naperville.

            I’m one of the people who posts replies on the Facebook page, and I can tell you that your claims of denial of the origin of Naperchange to Bauer Place have not occurred there either. Once again, you are wrong. The only denial regarding membership of our group which I believe was ever made was in response to your assertion that a resident of unincorporated Naperville registered the URL for Naperchange. Your assertion was not true, and we wrote that. All of the people who started Naperchange are residents of Naperville, and one of them registered the URL, so the URL was registered by a resident of Naperville. That resident of course was someone who opposed Bauer Place, as that was the group of people who started Naperchange. That’s not denying a link between Naperchange and Bauer Place. That’s correcting your assertion that a resident of unincorporated Naperville registered the URL.

            I couldn’t care less about your relationship with the current Mayor. You went in front of him and Council and made factually incorrect statements, he corrected you and told you facts are a stubborn thing, and you seem to have a knee-jerk reaction to defend the guy. That’s not one for me to try to figure out.

  4. Perhaps the City officials can take a page out of other suburban towns to see how to attract businesses.

    While asthetics are something that can be negotiated with landlords, when it comes to brick and morter it is all about location, location, location.

    While Route 59 and Aurora Avenue corner can be considered more attractive, please note there are several storefronts (on the Naperville side of the road) that are vacant.

    While there is no magic bean to make businesses grow or thrive, the first olive out of the jar is the hardest. Make it easier for businesses to expand in Naperville and spread the congestion throughout the city.

    Village of Bedford Park
    http://villageofbedfordpark.com/business/

    Elk Grove Village
    http://www.elkgrovecity.org/business/business_resources

    • As I pointed out in my previous posts the city has made some progress in the last 18 months on this problem, contrary to what this page post claims. There have been 1/2 dozen desirable businesses move into the Ogden corridor properties.

      And yes location is very important, but even the best location, if it is not visually appealing to potential customers, will hold no appeal for potential lessees and that is the problem with several of the properties on Ogden. Yes potential renters can negotiate with the landlords for improvements, but the Ogden properties, unlike the Aurora and Rt 59 properties, do not have signs making that clear or stating such a possibility and while business with multiple locations may know this is possible, small locally owned single location business owners may not.

      As to vacancies in other parts of Naperville, any one in the real estate business will tell you a certain level of vacancy is normal and a zero level of vacancy is bad because it means potential businesses are being lost to the community. Nationally the commercial vacancy rate is around 7% (decades average of 7.33%) and for the state around 10% (about 40% higher). So 1 in 10 storefronts being vacant is average for our state.

      While Ogden is important to north Naperville, Naperville Crossing is important to South Naperville and its vacancy/development issues predate those of Ogden and have only gotten worse with the withdraw of Dominic’s and Fresh Food from this area (complicated by the leaseholder situation for these properties). Council has just as much responsibility to meet the needs of South Naperville as it does North Naperville. This situation is only compounded by the fact that over 3/4 of the council members live in North Naperville and the only South Naperville resident up for election this cycle, Broadhead, has been a major target of this page and NaperChange.

      • Your arguments are all across the board and personally I don’t care about statistics.
        I have lived here for 20 years and always preferred to frequent local establishments. I liked Burger King, when it was here. I liked Wendy’s when it was here. I liked Taco Bell, when it was here. I shopped Dominick’s when it was here. I shopped K-mart, when it was here. I have no need to frequent the payday loan places, nor the Title loan places, or even the pawn shops. There are fewer and fewer stores that have any value to me. I might occasionally need flooring, I might occasionally need batteries, but the things I can use daily are leaving.
        It is a decaying area and has been for years. There is little being done to regenerate and to blame the owners alone is juvenile. We let a “protestor” camp out on public property, We let car dealers leave behind a sea of asphalt and peeling light poles. As a gateway to our town this is a disgrace and yet the council would rather talk about smoking ages.

        • Not sure what you mean about my arguments being “all across the board”. And any person that makes it a point to shop at businesses in their area, supporting these business, is clearly not the subject of my posts.

          I did not put all the blame for the situation along the Ogden corridor on the property owners but how they maintain these properties is an important part in successfully marketing them. It is interesting how in the same paragraph that you call me “juvenile” for putting part of the blame on these property owner you complain about the “decaying area” and the “sea of asphalt and peeling light poles” left behind by one such owner.

          The city’s power to force property owners to maintain/redevelop a property or influence it’s leasing is legally limited (the old K-Mart/Menard’s property as an example). To be upset with city authorities for not doing something about matters they have no legal authority to control is simply irrational and reminiscent of the demands for council to do something about the tear-down / redevelopment (McMasion) situation a few years ago.

          As you pointed out this area has been decaying for years and it simply is not realistic to expect a council that was only sworn in 18 months ago to have fixed all the problem in this area by now. As I have said before there has been progress in improving this area, it may not be going as quickly as you like, but progress is being made and this article, by the Watchdog, that nothing has been done is simply wrong.

          Many of the comments you make about this “gateway into our town” have also been made about Naperville Crossing by South Naperville residents for close to a decade. Why should the concerns of North Naperville residents take precedence over those of South Naperville residents? Do not Southern residents deserve at least an equal amount of city council attention?

          Our city has many pressing concerns, spread a crossed the many neighborhoods that make up or city, that have developed in recent years and need city council attention to be fixed. City council has to allocate it’s limited resources in a balance manner to insure inattentiveness to any of these challenges does not become another problem for our community. Many council members dedicate much more of their time to these problems then a part time position would require (>15 to 20 hours a week). And while $18K a years in a significant amount of money it is no were close to what it take to live in our community (doubt it is enough to make the annual mortgage payment on any home in Naperville), which is why they all have regular full time employment that also places demand on their time.

      • Maybe Broadhead wouldn’t be a target of everyone if she was competent. Just because she’s the only representative from South Naperville, that doesn’t mean she should be reelected. A person whom sits on her high horse, talks down to residents, and tell’s folks whom live in unincorporated so she doesn’t need to listen to them is not what anyone should want representing us on the dias. Just because they aren’t residents of the City doesn’t mean you throw them out with the trash. Humanity 101, treat others as you’d like to be treated.

        Not 1 person has said the Ogden issue should be resolved within 18 months. You keep making that up. With that said, exactly what progress has been made in the last 18 months – on Ogden between Naper and Washington?

        • You missed my point. Just because Broadhead is not as focused on North Naperville issues and is not very good at representing the concern of Northern residents does not mean she is uninformed on South Naperville issues and doing a poor job representing Southern residents. To silence the voices on council for southern residents is as bad if not worse then not listening to unincorporated township residents.

  5. This is why residents PASSED districts,overwhelmingly when it was presented on the ballot. So that they would have someone to bring their concerns to regarding where they live. BUT, that would make them accountable to a defined populations, and they certainly didn’t want that, not when they could blend in with the crowd and run on name alone. That is why the Naperville Nine, plus attorneys, decided they did not want districts and formed YES at large. Started by the then Mayors campaign manager, now council member, Rebecca Obarski, and funded by then council member, now Mayor Chirico, funded by the Wehrli trolley, as if they have a vote, etc etc. So now we have one incompetent council member from the south of Naperville, the rest from the north side, and all of them banding together to ignore everyone. The council gets what the council wants, one way or another. Term limits also passed at the time, but that has been put on the back burner and wheedled with so much it wont start until the next election!

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