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Aurora

Renting an Apartment in Aurora

Aurora is the largest city in Kane County, Illinois. The city also lies within DuPage, Will and Kendall counties. As reported in the 2000 U.S. census, the city was home to 142,990 people, while the city’s estimated 2007 population is 175,952. About 110,000 of the city’s residents reside in Kane County, while about 42,000 live in DuPage County. Only a few thousand Aurorans are in Will and Kendall Counties.

The city refers to itself as “The City of Lights” because it was one of the first communities to adopt all-electric street lighting (in 1881 – the nickname was adopted in 1908). In fact, the name Aurora itself means dawn. Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois.

Landmarks

The city is the location of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) and Aurora University. A Non-profit Organization Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple of Greater Chicago which is a major Hindu temple, and an Islamic mosque, are located near IMSA. Aurora also has its own zoo, Phillips Park Zoo. Aurora’s Downtown is full of architectural landmarks, as well as historic places.

Downtown Aurora

Downtown Aurora is home to the Paramount Arts Centre, a large live performance theater on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Hollywood Casino. There is also the Leland Tower, a former hotel which was the tallest building in Illinois outside the Chicago city limits. It is also on the National Register of historic places. Also located downtown is the main building of Aurora Public Library and a branch campus of Waubonsee Community College. Downtown Alive, a festival that includes live music and a variety of food booths, is held every Friday night in the summer. Roughly 8,000-10,000 people attend every Friday night. Downtown Aurora also hosts the annual Midwest Literary Festival during the second weekend in September. The Riverfront Playhouse is a not-for-profit theater that has held a storefront location in downtown Aurora since 1978.

Regions of Aurora

Aurora is generally divided into three regions, though politically the city is divided into several wards.

* The West Side is all of Aurora west of the Fox River
* The East Side, is the city east of the river excluding the DuPage County part.
* Fox Valley, also referred to as the Far East Side is the DuPage County part of the city. This is kind of a misnomer due to the fact that this region is not on the Fox. In fact, some parts lie in the DuPage watershed instead of the Fox watershed. It is actually nicknamed as such due to the proximity of the area to Fox Valley Mall; one of the first housing developments to be constructed simultaneously with the mall in Aurora is the “Fox Valley Villages”.

Transportation

The city is the final stop of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line of the Metra commuter rail system, allowing rail service into Chicago. In addition, Aurora manages the southern parking lot of the Metra station at Illinois Route 59. The northern lot is managed by neighboring Naperville. The city uses pace bus for public busing. Along with Metra trains and pace buses, greyhound buses also stop at the Aurora transportation center. Aurora does not currently have a stop for Amtrak trains, as the old station where they did stop closed in the 1980s. The Aurora Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport located in Sugar Grove, IL just outside of Aurora, Illinois. Although the airport is located within Sugar Grove, it is operated by the City of Aurora. The Aurora Airport is designed as a reliever airport for Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports, and also handles a lot of international cargo. It is capable of landing Boeing 757 aircraft.

Neighborhoods

* Near East Side: The oldest neighborhood of Aurora. This neighborhood is located between Downtown and Uptown. There are several large older homes, some dating back to the 1870′s. This neighborhood is much more densely populated than any other part of the city. This neighborhood has an elevated crime rate as well as several vacant buildings.

* Near West Side: The residential neighborhood is generally well maintained with expensive older homes.

* Pigeon Hill (East Side): The former neighborhood where Romanian immigrants once flocked to in the late 1800′s. This neighborhood has generally smaller homes and is located around High Street just east of the fox river.

* Frontenac (Far East Side)

* Exposition View (Northwest Side)

* Riddle Highlands: is located on the West Side, off of Lake Street and Illinois Ave. It’s a very charming section of the city, with large, older homes dating back to the early 1900s. Mature trees line the streets and most lawns are neatly manicured.

* Scraper-Moecherville (South East Side)

* Newport Hill

* Marywood (North East Side)

* Southpark (South East Side)

* San Souci (Far West Side)

* Lakeside San Souci (Far West Side)

* Cherry Hill (Far West Side)

* Hometown (South East Side)

* Downtown: Historic downtown is the heart of Aurora and is home to a number of large historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Downtown is located 3 miles South of Interstate 88. Much of downtown Aurora was developed in the lates 1800s and houses several pieces of impressive architecture. Downtown Aurora’s declined began in the late 1970s but of late is the home of several new developments including the River Street Plaza Condo development and Downer Place Lofts. Many new businesses have opened with success, along with the Hollywood Casino. A major hotel and high rise condos are planned for the East Bank on the east side of downtown. Today still, many areas just outside downtown remain vacant due to the industrial recession of the 1980′s. Downtown Aurora is the home of the famous LeLand Hotel, a 22 story building built in 1921, which housed the Sky Club, a former Blues recording studio. The building once was the tallest building in Illinois outside of Chicago. Today its used as apartments.

* Uptown :The center of Aurora’s strong Hispanic culture. The area was an area just east of downtown, booming with large homes and bustling shops in the first half of the 20th century. Today, some old storefronts are still there.

* White Eagle: is located at the most Southeastern portion of the city. Although, most residents consider this to be Naperville, its technically Aurora. In the early days of this development, the residents wanted to be considered Naperville, so the mayor at that time, cut off all city services to prove his point, that White Eagle is in fact in the City of Aurora. White Eagle is a very wealthy and upscale area. Most homes are valued at well over a million dollars.

* Oakhurst (Far East Side)

* Pheasant Creek (Far East Side)

* Pine Meadows (Far East Side)

* Georgetown (Far East Side)

* Ginger Woods (Far East Side)

* Green Hills (Far East Side)

* Lake Wood (Far East Side)

* Patersonville (East Side): Declining Neighborhood with a high crime rate and several vacant buildings. Located near South Ohio St. and East Galena Blvd.

* Westwood: A predominantly African American neighborhood on the west side.

* Stonebridge: is the most wealthy area of Aurora. Its located along Indian Trail Rd and Eola Rd on the city’s Far East Side. This is also one of the newest sections of the city. With homes well over a million dollars, its residents have an average household income of $ 112,800 and an average household net worth of $ 165,112.00. The Stonebridge area is also home to the Stonebridge Golf Course. Which was the home of PGA for several years in a row.

* Orchard Valley

During the 20th century, there was a “Dutchtown” neighborhood for German immigrants, a neighborhood for French immigrants, and a neighborhood south of downtown on the west side for Italian immigrants. Pigeon Hill was mainly an area for Romanian and other Eastern European immigrants. Pigeon Hill is the only neighborhood generally still referred to as that name, and virtually none of those cultures still inhabit those neighborhoods today.