(Aurora, IL)-Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin today officially announced his bid for re-election. “It has been a tremendous honor to serve the residents of my hometown for almost four years as our city’s Mayor. We’ve made great strides together moving Aurora forward, but we have much work left to do,” stated Mayor Irvin. “That’s why today I’m announcing I am running for a second term as your mayor.”
When Mayor Irvin ran for office four years ago, he promised to focus on three key areas; public safety, education and youth development, and economic development. On public safety, Aurora is a safer community than when he took office. Crime rates are currently at their lowest, and when there is an uptick in any area, it is addressed immediately. Furthermore, under the Irvin administration, we have increased the number of police officers and firefighters to levels higher than we have ever seen on both departments in Aurora’s history.
On education and youth development, Aurora has made giant strides, including; establishing the Aurora Youth Advisory Council to give our students a voice, creating the Aurora Education Commission which brings together all Aurora school districts, parochial schools, colleges and universities to share resources and best practices. We further hired a new Youth Services Director to help bring all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Moreover, when Aurora experienced an uptick in violence, particularly with Black and Brown youth, the Aurora Mentoring Alliance was formed to bring together more than 20 youth mentoring and leadership programs to benchmark best practices and find innovative ways to keep young people on the right track.
On economic development, we can visibly see the accomplished in the past three and a half years. In downtown, there are now restaurant options on nearly every corner; including Altiro and the infamous Amy Morton Stolp House Social. Hundred year old buildings have been brought back to life with retail and residential spaces, with 1,500 residential apartments planned over the next few years. New and exciting development currently abounds with Copley Hospital on the Eastside, West Plaza and Orchard Road on the Westside, and Fox Valley Mall and Pacifica Square on the far Eastside. Furthermore, 1.7 million square feet of commercial manufacturing space was added in the last four years which equals thousands of jobs. And there is much more to come in a second term.
Also, under Mayor Irvin’s tenure, Aurora’s commitment to arts and entertainment has become stronger. The Venue was added to a burgeoning arts scene, which has grown by leaps and bounds, offering the sounds of live music. All accomplishments during the mayor’s first term. Now on a weekend night, you can take a stroll down the newly renovated Water Street Mall under the glow of Italian lights to have dinner at the new Mora Aurora while listening to the sounds of blues and jazz in the background. And the famous Paramount Arts Theater was thriving prior to COVID, and will make a full comeback after COVID. The Paramount and the Aurora Civic Center Authority have expanded its offerings with the new Paramount School of the Arts, the refurbished Copley Theater, and their continued plans to add a third theater, the Stolp Island Theater.
Furthermore, we have enhanced in the area of parks and recreation. The newly renovated Mundy Park is an example of community partnerships and the domino effect renovations can have on other facilities. Once Water Street Mall was rehabbed along with Mundy Park, other parks throughout the city followed, including Mastodon Lake Playground at Phillips Park, new parks in the 6^th ward and now a new park is being planned in Water Street Mall known as “the skinny park.” And there’s more to come in Mayor Irvin’s next term.
Green space and open lands are important to Mayor Irvin and he continues to focus on doing what is best for the environment while beautifying the community. One drive through downtown and people can see how beautifying any area helps create a sense of pride to that area. There is now a constant buzz from visitors and residents alike on how beautiful things are. This is definitely a new day in Aurora.
And let’s not forget technology. In less than three years, Aurora has gone from the City of Lights to the City of Light Speed. A Chief Information Officer was hired, who hit the ground running, and has won multiple awards throughout the country for his vision for the city. The internal IT department was revamped to better serve the community, saving more than one million dollars in the process. The 605 Innovation District was launched ushering in a new era of Smart City Technology. Underserved communities have been provided with laptops, iPads and tech opportunities for youth and their families in order to close the gap in the digital divide. The fiber optic network has been increased throughout the city, and Aurora has capitalized on its easy digital access to Chicago to become a magnet for tech companies, including welcoming the headquarters of major tech giants like Scientel Solutions, NEO Tech and so many more businesses.
This is the new reality of Aurora under Mayor Irvin’s leadership. He made promises four years ago. He has kept those promises and even surpassed them. This is not just about Promises Made and Promises Kept. This is about Promises Made, Kept and Continued.
“We are more energized, empowered and experienced in municipal renovation than ever before,” Mayor Irvin stated. “It takes a team internally and externally – locally, regionally and nationally – to get the job done. “And Mayor Irvin has successfully built that team.
“I am Richard C. Irvin, the proud mayor of my hometown Aurora, Illinois. As I conclude our final year of my first term, I look forward to working with you during my second term to continue to grow our great city. I will see you at the polls in April 2021 and look forward to being sworn-in in May 2021. With your help, we will continue to make Aurora’s vision for the future a reality!”