Naperville City Council Gang Of Six, Stops Win-Win-Win Opportunity

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.

Show 6 Comments


  1. Jim Haselhorst

    First the two properties that are being talked about as locations to move the Old Nichols Library to are not owned by the people putting forth these plans and these plans do not have the support of the organizations that presently own these properties.

    Second Chiro, Coyne and White all support giving Old Nichols library Landmark status and only sought to delay this decision because they saw not potential harm in doing so, which is the same reason that the other six members of council gave for voting to landmarks this building (i.e. they saw no way that landmarking the building would prevent or inhibit any of the options mentioned during the meeting). And while the Watchdog readily and boldly claims it has done harm he can’t provide any proof that it has. Thus if no tangible proof of harm can be demonstrated then we still have a win-win-win opportunity.

    Third, as to labeling the people behind the Save Nichols Library movement obstructionist, well that simply a divisive term use to further drive a wedge between residents in and effort to create a self fulling prophecy (i.e. want bad outcome for our community simply so he can say I told you so). I wander how the Watchdog would feel if the community started labeling anyone involved in the Smart Meter protests obstructionist rather then protesters.

    Finally this whole situation was created by the way Mr Avram and Mayor Chiro handled this situation initially. Had these two individuals been more careful about what statements they made in public and to the media the people concerned with preserving Old Nichols Library would not have felt the need to take the actions they did. Because of the behavior of these two people this group of residents became concerned about this property’s development being “fast track” with “behind closed door deals” that would cutout residents from having a say in how their community is developed. It is this precise kind of behavior that the Watchdog has accused city officials of doing in the past and condemning, making it once again ironic that the Watchdog would be supporting the actions of these two.

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    As a postscript, the Fox Valley Mall (now the Westfield Mall) is, because of a shift in how companies do business, an economic blight for Aurora (like all such Malls have become for so many communities in this country). So while some may still criticize the city for preventing this Mall from being built in Naperville there is no denying that in the long run it has been a boon for our community that it was not.

    • Kurt Dorr

      20/20 hindsight is beautiful isn’t it? Of course you conveniently failed to mention the years and years of tax revenue the city lost while the mall operated profitably.

      • Jim Haselhorst

        This amount is not even close to the amount the city of Aurora is now losing on this mall with no end in site. As to 20/20 hindsight remember Naperville’s response to this mall was redevelopment of downtown centered on the riverwalk concept, which has flourished in the same economic environment that as killed the Fox Valley Mall.

  3. Mayfie

    The arrogance of city council members shown during 5th avenue Ryan discussions in full display once again. I am totally shocked they could not have waited to make this decision. I hope the Old Nichols Library can still be moved to the site next to the new library

    • Jim Haselhorst

      It was never a real possibility to move Old Nichols library to this location. This was only a suggestion put for by one resident. This land was acquired against the property owners well to be used as a future expansion for Nichols Library. When it was suggested some years ago that a parking garage be built on this land it was quickly dismissed because this was not the intended use for this land when it was acquired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *