City Council’s New Focus

City council has spent the last few years focusing on large developments throughout the city, but one councilman is spurring a renewed focus on neighborhoods.

Councilman McElroy is using his place on the dais to advocate for keeping every area of Naperville in the best shape possible.

“We’ve never really had to pay much attention to our neighborhoods because the city’s been so prosperous for so long,” said McElroy. “But now, largely as an outgrowth of the great recession and national economic downturn, we’re starting to see in some neighborhoods the beginning tiny signs of what you could call blight.”

That blight comes in many different forms, like homeowners who don’t have the income for property repairs, increasing foreclosures, and a large number of renters.

McElroy along with Councilman Chirico have spent the last six months meeting with various stakeholders, like Wintrust, BMO Harris Bank, and city staff brainstorming how to address the problems.

“We’re coming at this from a lot of different angles so we can provide economic stability to prevent it from happening, and at the back end with code enforcement and possibly training of landlords and licensing of landlords,” said Chirico.

The group is exploring different options like loan programs to fix up your house and regulating the rental market.

Councilman McElroy likens the approach to “carrots and sticks”

“Carrots, meaning incentives, perhaps low interest loans, and sticks, perhaps looking at some regulations,” said McElroy. “But, it’s really important that you do it hand in hand and you try to do carrots first. You try to encourage, you establish your goal and then you try to encourage people to act in a manner that will facilitate that goal.”

Councilman McElroy announced his focus on neighborhoods at the last Homeowner’s Confederation meeting, but president Bob Fischer doesn’t think more regulation is the answer.

“There are a significant number of things that are already on the books in Naperville that can be enforced that can be used to address whatever problems may exist and we are very wary of creating another layer of regulation that might have unintended consequences,” said Fischer.

There is no definite plan that council is ready to announce, but they’re always looking for input so if you have suggestions contact a member of the city council.

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