North Aurora may do study on need for community center
North Aurora is planning to hire a consultant to determine if the village needs, or even desires, a replacement for the North Aurora Activity Center.
The village board will vote Jan. 18 on a contract with Market and Feasibility Advisors LLC of Chicago.
The firm would charge $15,000, according to a memo. The work would include reviewing the age, interests and "likely community needs" of North Aurora residents. The advisers would also meet with leaders of various groups and governments, such as youth sports leagues and Scouting troops and library leaders.
It would also look around to see if those needs are being met, or could be met, at other places, such as Fox Valley Park District facilities.
If the study shows the village could use a center, the advisers could do a second phase to determine what kind of center could be built, where, how much it would cost to build and run it along with what kind of programming would take place.
Trustee Laura Curtis questioned whether it is worth spending any money at all and whether there is any need. She said on her recent visits to the Messenger Public Library, she saw empty meeting rooms and that there are other places, such as churches and schools, that might be available.
"If there was a huge demand in the community for a community center, I think we would have heard about it by now," Curtis said.
Trustees Chris Faber, Mark Guethle and Mark Gaffino said they have heard from residents who think the town needs one, and people who don't.
Having an outside firm study the issue would take emotion out of the decision, Gaffino said.
"We still have people complaining 'Why did you tear it down?'" Faber said.
The village tore the North Aurora Activity Center down last year. It closed the center in early 2014, after it was determined heavy snow had dealt a fatal blow to the load-bearing capability of roof trusses and wall supports.
The village had postponed making roof and pother repairs for at least a decade, while it determined what to do with the former North Aurora Grade School. The main part was built in 1931. The Fox Valley Park District bought it and used it until it opened the Vaughn Activity Center on the west side of Aurora. It sold the building to the village, which leased it out to the Share and Care Day-Care Center and to private groups. The "Friday Nite Spot" program for middle-school-aged children rented it, as did a play group for children with disabilities.