Two-thirds of the Naperville city council got exactly what it wanted; landmark status for the old Nichols Library building. It’s not what Naperville mayor Steve Chirico wanted, and it’s not what council members Kevin Coyne and
Benny White wanted. It’s also not what property owner/developer Dwight Avram wanted. They simply wanted the vote to landmark tabled until November 7 in order to work out a deal with a third party interested in using the building at a new location, (Jackson and Eagle streets); a stone’s throw from the current main library.
With so much riding on the landmark status, the request was more than reasonable. Avram made other accommodations to the obstructionists including withdrawing an application submitted to the city’s plan commission for development approval. His purpose was to buy a little time to solidify the extremely creative idea of moving Old Nichols Library to the new location. Old Nichols would remain whole, it would be given the maintenance it needs to come to life again, the current location could then be developed, as was Water Street, and as will be Fifth Avenue. Preservationists would be happy, the city would be happy with additional tax-generating revenue and two less vacant or problem properties, the property owner (developer) would be happy; who is there not to be happy? The answer is the six Naperville city council members voting against the win-win-win opportunity:
- Becky Anderson
- Judith Brodhead
- Patty Gustin
- Paul Hinterlong
- John Krummen
- Rebecca Obarski
Why the rush to judgment on their part? What was the harm in knowing all the options? Waiting until November 7 was a no-lose situation. By the ‘gang of six’ shooting from the hip, there is much to lose now, including an epic law suit against the city. Shame on the ‘gang of six’ for putting Naperville residents and taxpayers on the hook for huge financial jeopardy.
Unless the ‘gang of six’ has a plan for a happy ending to this mess, Watchdog suggests a large plaque be placed in front of Old Nichols Library building with the names of the six council members responsible for what could be one of the worst decisions made by two-thirds of the Naperville city council.
The names of the Naperville city council members responsible for the horrible decision to deny Fox Valley Shopping Center (now West Field Shopping Center) to be built on the southeast corner of Rt. 59 and Aurora Avenue in Naperville, and to then be built across the street in Aurora have no plaque commemorating one of the worst, if not the worst decision by Naperville city officials costing Naperville millions of retail tax dollars. And what was their reason for their decision? They thought it would create too much traffic, the same traffic that generates millions of dollars for Aurora. Naperville still had and has the traffic but without the revenue.
Naperville’s six city council obstructionists should not be forgotten. A well-lit plaque would be most appropriate.