Lisle, Warrenville residents pushing for annexation to Naperville
Naperville would become a much, much larger city if some residents in at least three neighboring towns have their way.
Apparently spurred by the recent emphasis on government consolidation in DuPage County, residents in Lisle and Warrenville are circulating petitions to place referendum questions on the April 4 ballot to measure support for proposals to annex their communities to Naperville. A similar petition has been rumored to be circulating in Woodridge.
Officials in all four towns said Friday they don't know what's behind the effort and stress that the complexities and likely resistance to such consolidations make them extremely unlikely.
Lisle Mayor Joseph Broda said he first heard about the push earlier this month when Warrenville officials contacted leaders in all three towns - along with Woodridge - to alert them to the petition drives.
"It's hard to figure this one out," Broda said.
Warrenville Mayor David Brummel said his city's assistant city manager, Cristina White, first learned of the campaign when she saw a man soliciting signatures for a petition outside the public library. A Chicago man who declined to be identified was collecting signatures on an annexation petition Friday afternoon outside the library.
"I had no idea it was going on in other towns, too," Brummel said. "I've been mayor for 12 years and I've never heard of anyone interested in annexing to Naperville."
If it was a serious effort, he said, it would take a large organized effort that would be difficult to keep under the radar.
Jack Knight, assistant to the village administrator in Woodridge, said officials in his town have "been informed that a petition of this nature may be in circulation. This has not been confirmed, nor do we have any additional information pertaining to its origin, individuals circulating it, or related information."
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico, who has been working on consolidation efforts within his own city, said a Lisle resident met with him several months ago to raise the annexation issue, but he urged the man to take a "much smaller bite" and never heard from him again.
"I guess I'm flattered," Chirico said. "I take that (interest in annexation) as a compliment that someone would want to do that."
But, he hastened to add, "it's not a very realistic initiative" and "I don't see the benefit for either community."
Broda and Brummel said they would strongly oppose any such annexation.
"I would oppose that proposal 100 percent," Broda said. "Each town has unique characteristics that make them special. Longtime Lisle residents wouldn't even want to think about it. We want to keep the uniqueness of our communities."
Warrenville's Brummel echoed those sentiments.
Naperville is a fine community, he said, "but we have a strong identity of who we are and we have no desire to be part of Naperville."
"Warrenville is a very well-run community," he said. "We have no debt, we're safe."
"I don't know what they're trying to accomplish," Chirico said of annexation supporters. "Why consolidate unless you can deliver services faster or better?"