For many years, City officials and business leaders have been discussing the need to update the streetscape in downtown Naperville. “Streetscape,” for those unaccustomed to urban planning jargon, refers to all thing things you hardly notice: sidewalks; streetlights; trash receptacles; signs; street trees; utility poles and wires. A good example of a pedestrian-oriented streetscape in Naperville is West Jefferson between Washington and Main. You know, in front of Naperville Running Company, Molly’s Cupcakes, Costello Jeweler and Potter’s Place.
But check out the east side of Main between Jefferson and Jackson. The streetscape—the area between the street and the fronts of the buildings—is in disrepair. Much of the central core of the downtown—the older part—needs work. Everybody knows it, a preliminary design is ready to go, but where will the money—several million dollars—come from?
The City Council recently approved a 60-40 cost split, meaning the owners of adjacent buildings will pay 40 percent, with the City paying for the rest. Now the property owners can weigh in. If more than half of them vote against proposal, it’s back to the drawing board. But that probably won’t happen, and the multi-million dollar project will finally get under way.
But why is this taking so long? Because repairs and maintenance have not been budgeted for ahead of time. Every year the City budgets millions for street maintenance. We should have a similar system for public improvements in the downtown. Politicians love ribbon-cutting ceremonies, but keeping what we already have up to par is more important.
You can read more about the project here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-downtown-streetscape-draft-festival-space-st-0310-story.html
And if you like Bob Seger, here’s a different take on a different Main Street.