Aurora

  • Holmes welcomes new coronavirus testing site in Aurora

    aurora drivethrough 042220Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) reports that a new community-based testing site will open in Aurora this week to help test Illinoisans for COVID-19. The sites are open seven days a week to test individuals with COVID-19 symptoms.

    “Right now it seems the greatest hurdle to making progress with the coronavirus is the need for much more testing,” Holmes said. “If the health department doesn’t know who is infected, those who are will continue to unknowingly spread it to others, and this will be an even longer ordeal. More testing will help us end this pandemic sooner.”

  • Holmes excited for tech development in Aurora

    State Senator Linda Holmes joined Gov. JB Pritzker and local officials in Aurora Thursday to launch the 605 Innovation District

    Aurora, Ill. – State Senator Linda Holmes joined Gov. JB Pritzker and local officials in Aurora Thursday to launch the 605 Innovation District and bring greater business and technology development to the city. Holmes released the following statement to recognize the investment in technology and jobs for Aurora:

    “Gov. Pritzker is such a champion of innovation and I welcome him to Aurora to recognize the great opportunity that Bureau Gravity is bringing here. This has been Jimi Allen’s dream for years, we spoke of it often when we were office neighbors. I’m honored to be here to celebrate his awesome achievement.

  • Aurora domestic violence shelter finally gets funding under Senate budget plan

    Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – An Aurora domestic violence shelter that has suffered through layoffs and service cuts amid the state’s financial crisis, could finally see stable state funding that could restore vital services to abused women under a plan the Illinois Senate recently approved.

    “Mutual Ground and those that they serve have already paid a steep price for inaction and gridlock in Springfield,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “The plan that I voted for would fully fund Mutual Ground, giving them the certainty that they need to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

  • Holmes’ push for unused power station becomes law

    holmes consolSPRINGFIELD – Looking to continue parts of a successful building redevelopment program that will help repurpose an unused power station in Aurora, the governor signed legislation by State Sen. Linda Holmes today.

    “The River Edge Redevelopment Zone program was designed to help developers take old, unused property and renovate it to meet today’s needs,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “I appreciate the governor signing this into law. It’s going to make sure developers have enough time to make use of these incentives for an important project.”

    Sen. Holmes and Aurora-area state Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, and Stephanie Kifowit, R-Oswego, sponsored the legislation, which extends the expiration date of some cost-sharing arrangements under the development program.

    Developers hope to use it to help replace an old power station in downtown Aurora with a residential development along a 33-acre stretch along the Fox River.

    The relevant section of the law was set to expire in July of 2017, but the measure would extend it to August 1, 2020.

    The legislation was Senate Bill 321.

  • Holmes’ push for building redevelopment heads to governor

    holmes 053116SPRINGFIELD – Looking to continue parts of a successful building redevelopment program that will help repurpose an unused power station in Aurora, State Sen. Linda Holmes pushed for legislation that passed the General Assembly without opposition Sunday.

    “The River Edge Redevelopment Zone program was designed to help developers take old, unused property and renovate it to meet today’s needs,” Holmes said. “We’re simply making sure developers have enough time to make use of these incentives. I urge the governor to sign this and extend the cost-sharing provisions to continue support for an important project.”

    Sen. Holmes and Aurora-area state Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, and Stephanie Kifowit, R-Oswego, sponsored the legislation, which extends the expiration date of some cost-sharing arrangements under the development program.

    “This legislation is an example of how the State and the City of Aurora can work together to continue the redevelopment of the downtown," Kifowit said. "The proposed developments will revitalize the city's core and surrounding neighborhoods and I'm happy to see this legislation passed.”

    Developers hope to use it to help replace an old power station in downtown Aurora with a residential development along a 33-acre stretch along the Fox River.

    “The plan is to move the downtown substation and replace it with a residential development that will create high-paid construction jobs, enhance the quality of life in Aurora and bring in additional property tax revenues,” Holmes said.

    “The recession hit shortly after this portion of the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Act was passed and Aurora needs more time to complete possible residential projects in the downtown area,” Chapa LaVia said.

    The relevant section of the law was set to expire in July of 2017, but the measure would extend it to August 1, 2020.

    The legislation is Senate Bill 321. It must be signed by the governor to become law.

  • West Aurora School District announces new campus: Holmes

    holmes newschoolDeal provides new early childhood, administration, job training centers

    AURORA — West Aurora School District 129 today announced its proposed new West Aurora School District Campus – a 15-acre site near the intersection of Galena Boulevard and Edgelawn Avenue on Aurora’s west side.

    “The unique partnership demonstrates how high quality education offerings affect economic development and quality of life in the community,” said District 129 Superintendent Jeff Craig. “Most certainly, this investment from the District, the City of Aurora and Advocate Health will benefit West Aurora School District for generations to come.”
     
    The campus will be home to the district’s new Early Childhood Development Center, new district administration offices, and a new technical training center.
     
    The agreement comes 14 months after a capital needs referendum that identified early childhood and post-secondary training as areas to expand upon, Craig said. State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, assisted the district by bringing together representatives of Advocate and the school district.

    “This is the result of government, business and school districts working together,” Holmes said. “Dreyer has been a member of the community for nearly a century and this is an investment in the community that will enrich education for generations of students to come.”
     
    Advocate Health Care will donate part of what is now the Dreyer Medical Clinic building at 1870 W. Galena Boulevard to house the district’s new Early Childhood Development Center. West Aurora Schools will purchase the facility for just $600,000. More than 1,000 students and their families will benefit from the center that will replace the Todd Early Childhood Center.
     
    “Advocate Dreyer has been an important part of the Aurora community for nearly 100 years and we are so pleased to build on our partnership and donate our building for such a worthy cause,” said Donna Cooper, President of Dreyer Medical Clinic and Chief Operating Officer of Advocate Medical Group.
     
    Advocate will begin the transition process to its new facility next spring. The new Early Childhood Development Center is expected to open for the 2018-19 school year.
     
    The West Aurora Board of Education also approved the purchase of the building immediately south of the clinic at 1877 W. Downer Place to house the district’s central administration. The current administration building is nearly a century old and in need of $800,000 in repairs. The move will place the district’s headquarters more conveniently.
     
    “This facility will enable more interaction with district administration and staff, students and parents,” said Craig. “We are being more cost efficient by transitioning into existing facilities as opposed to building brand new or investing in our current aging infrastructure.”
     
    The district expects to be fully operational in its new headquarters by the start of the 2016-17 school year.
     
    The City of Aurora will provide a $150,000 tax rebate to Advocate Dreyer, offsetting part of West Aurora Schools’ purchase of its new property. In exchange, the City will secure the current River Street administration building and seek redevelopment opportunities.

    “This is a win-win-win for all involved because we know all too well the difficulties of repurposing medical buildings and special-use facilities like the current District 129 headquarters,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. “As a major employer, District 129 will provide immediate economic stability to the West Galena corridor, as the City works to put the current building back on the tax rolls. We are here today because District 129 parents and taxpayers chose to invest in Aurora’s most important resource – our children.”  
     
    Finally, the school district announced the construction of a new technical training center on the campus that will provide opportunities for students to pursue dual credit classes, job-ready training and career certifications as a part of the Pathways to Prosperity initiative. Training available includes Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, and Health Occupations services.
     
    This component is a result of many years of research and planning on the citywide Pathways to Prosperity initiative. Currently, West Aurora students are traveling nearly two hours each day to a training center 19 miles away in Maple Park.  Groundbreaking for the tech center on the southwest corner of the new campus could happen as early as next summer.
     
    Complete plans for the proposed West Aurora School District Campus are available at www.sd129.org.