The City of Naperville has had visions and concepts in place to beautify the Ogden Avenue corridor since 2006.
But unlike the comprehensive 5th Avenue Development where the city owns all the land – parcels on the Ogden Avenue corridor are privately owned.
That makes progress slower as old buildings are grandfathered in to new code and don’t have to comply unless new development is happening.
The city does have some aesthetic improvements in mind though, including installing new street signs, burying overhead electrical and phone wires, and replacing, painting, or even wrapping electrical boxes.
“You may have noticed the electrical box at the corner of River Road and Aurora Avenue,” said Bill Novack, director of TED for the City of Naperville. “That has a nice anti-graffiti wrap on it so if it ever gets tagged again it’s relatively easy to wash off.”
While one Ogden Avenue business owner at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce forum said he wasn’t against the beautification initiative, he was concerned about the damage more digging crews could have on businesses.
“We’ve had 3 years of absolutely terrible road construction, And now I see 2019 – burying lines. I’m not even going to get a full year off before you’re back to screwing with Ogden again,” said Greg Gordon, owner of Dog Patch Pet & Feed. “I need a break.”
Another item the city wants to deal with is signage. Pole signs have actually been banned by city code. But the city can’t just force private property owners to put in code-compliant monument signs.
The mayor did float some ideas to encourage the switch to monument signs though, like first-come first-serve subsidies, a sunset date by which all pole signs need to be replaced, and a simpler variance process.
“What frustrates business owners is they don’t want to go through it,” said City of Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “It’s just too much of a pain in the neck. If we can eliminate that and make it simple, along with providing some incentive financially that could go a long way.”
The city and the Naperville Development Partnership are looking to host an open house to get more Ogden Avenue business owners in on the discussion.
City council last discussed Ogden Avenue corridor improvements this spring.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.
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