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Residents, aldermen give ideas for Batavia’s future

Published: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 2:00 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 9:38 p.m. CST

BATAVIA – Batavia resident Don Murphy’s vision for the city includes more shopping opportunities on the east side.

“I live on the east side, and we have a very limited amount of grocery stores,” Murphy said during Wednesday’s Homes for a Changing Region community workshop. “We have to go to the Randall Road corridor to get anything.”

Batavia, Geneva, North Aurora and St. Charles are working together to plan for their future housing needs through a project called Homes for a Changing Region.

Others at the workshop, including Murphy, talked about the need for more affordable housing for both seniors and young people.

Fifth Ward Alderman Lucy Thelin Atac put forth the idea of having intergenerational housing opportunities in the city.

According to a study done as part of the Homes for a Changing Region project, the amount of affordable housing in Batavia has decreased since 2000.

According to the study, about 75 percent of owner-occupied homes in Batavia were in the affordable category in 2000.

Affordable housing is defined as being less than 30 percent of a household’s income. In 2011, the amount of affordable housing in the city dropped to about 65 percent, according to the study.

Fourth Ward Alderman Jamie Saam said she would like to see a hotel or bed and breakfast in the city so “people who are coming to our downtown are going to stay overnight.”

She also would like to see a community college or educational facility “that would bring a constant flow of people into town.”

Those attending the workshop also looked at the development of the former Siemens property between McKee and West Wilson streets along Van Nortwick Avenue. Ideas for the site included buildings that could house commercial on the first floor, and residences above them.

Two meetings were held in 2005 with residents to get their ideas of how they would like to see the land redeveloped.

During those meetings, residents stressed the need to keep the land north of McKee Street as open space.

The city supports that use as a part of a position statement for the property, which also calls for single-family homes, as well as offices and neighborhood shops, on Van Nortwick.

The Homes for a Changing Region project is supported by CMAP and the Regional Transportation Authority, along with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Illinois Housing Council.

Residents who were not able to attend the meeting can take an online survey at www.foxvalley.metroquest.com through Nov. 30.

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