Lester: Could state holdup doom plan for Aurora's old Copley Hospital?

An Aurora businessman has a detailed plan to redevelop the city's abandoned old Copley Hospital, old Waubonsee College and the Crosby-Hobbs building for about $65 million. But he says he's running out of time to get the project underway because of Illinois' ongoing budget impasse, which is eclipsing all other policy work, including extension of a state business tax credit program he views as key to the effort.

Payton prep

Chip Valor, who partnered with the late Chicago Bear Walter Payton in the 1990s to develop the Roundhouse in Aurora, tells me he's reached an agreement with New York-based Whitestone Realty Capital to develop the properties into one or more of the following: housing for homeless veterans, artist lofts, senior housing or market-rate apartments.

Whitestone is known for its recent redevelopment of the Rosenwald housing project in Chicago.

To move the project forward, Valor says, predevelopment funding and tax increment financing district funding from the city will be vital. So will a pilot state tax credit program that returns 25 cents of every dollar spent on the project to the developers. That's set to expire in 2017, and Aurora chief development officer Bill Wiet says planning and city approvals are unlikely to be done in time.

Weit says the city needs to know more about the proposal.

But Valor says time is running out.

“If something doesn't happen, this deal is dead.”

Zimel's replacement selected

Hanover Park Village President Rod Craig tells me he's settled on a replacement for former Trustee Ed Zimel.

Lisa Mihevc Trousdale is longtime village resident and mother of three. Craig says he hopes to have her sworn in by early next month.

Zimel announced his resignation from the village board earlier this month after I wrote about Craig and others questioning whether he lived in the village as required by state law.

Kirk to get anti-handgun nod

I'm tipped that the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence will give

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park its Abraham Lincoln Award today for reaching across the aisle on a number of gun control issues. He's one of the first Republicans in history to receive the award. Former President Bill Clinton, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield have been honored in the past.

Former chief, Rozner honored

On Friday, I enjoyed attending the third annual Wendell Jones Awards Breakfast, hosted by the Northwest Suburban Alliance on Domestic Violence at Harper College in Palatine. Recently retired Harper College police chief Mike Alsup,

  Daily Herald sports columnist Barry Rozner, center, talks with Daily Herald Senior Vice President Colin O'Donnell and Rebecca Darr, CEO of Palatine-based WINGS, at an awards breakfast hosted by the Northwest Suburban Alliance on Domestic Violence at Harper College. Jeff Knox/

Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner and others were honored. Republican

  State Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine JOE LEWNARD/

state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine says that after nine years co-chairing the alliance, he's handing off the role to Democratic state Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg. Murphy's eyes misted up as he described the experience as an “incredible honor to work with professionals on the front lines of domestic violence prevention.”

Full circle

Harper College Executive Vice President Ron Ally said recognition of Elgin's Community Crisis Center at the event really was full circle for him. Ally's mother, Bettie, was a social worker at Elgin Area School District U-46 and volunteered at the shelter after it was founded in the 1970s.

Ribbon campaign

In Arlington Heights, organizers of a domestic violence awareness program tell me a purple ribbon campaign grew unexpectedly from a well-attended candlelight vigil arranged by three Catholic churches Oct. 4 at North School Park.

Barbara Condon, of Our Lady of the Wayside's abuse ministry, says Arlington Heights police officers were so moved by the vigil that they volunteered to help place ribbons in front of their station.


Condolences to Illinois GOP Chair and Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider of Bartlett, who lost his brother Paul, of Elgin, on Oct. 13.

Go Cubs Go

Arcada Theater owner Ron Onesti says 1980s rock band Night Ranger burst into an impromptu version of “Go Cubs Go” last week after the team beat the St. Louis Cardinals in their National League Division Series. Keyboardist Eric Levy is a Palatine native.

Charter talk

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery - a former Niles English teacher - is speaking Tuesday at the City Club of Chicago. Expect the speech to focus heavily on charter schools, with Montgomery addressing what he calls the “misnomer” of school choice and the importance of having quality options.


Had an amazing time Friday evening at the Schaumburg Business Association's annual Toast of Schaumburg event, which featured pink-haired violinists and incredible food and people watching. Here's 3 Monkeys and an Aardvark Studios'

Here's 3 Monkeys and an Aardvark Studios' Ben Olsen, who emceed the annual Toast of Schaumburg on Friday, with a group of pals who staged an amusing tribute.

Ben Olson, who emceed the event, with a group of pals who staged an amusing tribute.

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