When Steve Chirico was sworn in as Mayor in May of 2015, he stated that one of his first priorities would be meeting with City stakeholders, particularly those along the Ogden Avenue corridor. The newly-sworn in Mayor noted the empty storefronts on Ogden, particularly near the city's eastern gateway at Ogden and Naper Boulevard. Of the thriving business community that once operated near that intersection, Mayor Chirico said simply, "it's gone...we need to fill those empty buildings."
So how has “fill(ing) those empty buildings” gone? Well, not so good. Andy’s Custard has opened. Some electrical boxes were painted. Several meetings regarding rebranding Ogden Avenue as Uptown Naperville occurred, after which the topic once again went silent.
So, over a year ago, the Ogden corridor was once again a topic of discussion. But once again, the discussions ended, and once again nothing was done.
So Ogden has continued to deteriorate, with little or no attention paid to it since the mayor was sworn in. Some businesses have come, some have gone, but for a ‘gateway to the community’, the area leaves a lot to be desired.
We get that it is privately owned land, and the city has limited resources. But until the City makes the Ogden corridor a priority, develops a cohesive plan on how to stem the continued decline, and actually does something, the area will continue to deteriorate.
So what are the odds of the City making Ogden a priority, when the Mayor has said that "(t)he biggest, most exciting thing that's on the horizon is the redevelopment of Fifth Avenue"?
Our guess: slim to none.
While the City hasn’t really done anything regarding the Ogden corridor, Mayor Chirico has. He’s moved his business off of Ogden, to the 700 block of Washington. Coincidentally, just two blocks away from “(t)he biggest most exciting thing on the horizon”: the 5th Avenue redevelopment.
Talking about it is one thing. Nothing speaks louder than a person’s actions, and the Mayor spoke pretty clearly with his.
His actions didn’t help “fill those empty buildings.” They created one more vacant storefront