Tag Archives: Sugar Grove Public Library

The show must go on

Sugar Grove library referendum failure does not stop plans for new building
by Susan O’Neill
Despite having an operating fund referendum fail for the ninth time on election day, Sugar Grove Public Library staff continue preparations to open the new building in August.

Now their concern is once the library opens, what are its hours going to be and what will be offered.

Library District voters approved an $8 million referendum in 2004 to build the new building. The site on which the new library is currently being built is a five-acre parcel on the eastern border of The Windham Group’s Prairie Glen development along Route 30.

Library Board President Art Morrical said the funding the library has received for the new building may only be used for furniture, equipment and other tangible expenses of constructing the building.

The operating rate increase would have covered the costs for increased staffing to operate the new library, additional costs to heat, cool, light and maintain the new building, and more books for the collection.

However, the same funds available to operate the current 6,000-square-foot building are all that will be available to operate the new 27,430-square-foot building.

Sugar Grove Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes is disappointed that the referendum failed again, but said she and the rest of the staff are looking forward to doing the best they can with the funding they have. She said the library is considering utilizing more volunteers.

The library is asking patrons for input on what days and hours they would like the library to remain open. People may provide their input on a survey on the library’s website as well as on forms available at the library.

Hughes also said that if people have concerns, questions or ideas, they should consider attending a Library Board meeting to voice those views. The library will host additional informational sessions at the library.

Morrical has also helped to form a Facebook group, “Fans of the Sugar Grove Public Library,” to ask for feedback and to gain support for the library. He said he is hopeful that when people see the new library, they will understand and appreciate the need for additional funding to run it.

For additional information, visit www.sugargrove.lib.il.us.

Library seeking public feedback on hours

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove Public Library staff have created a survey looking for feedback on what library patrons and district residents would like to see in the new library. A major focus of the survey is which hours patrons would prefer to have the library open.

When the operating expenses referendum did not pass in November 2006, library hours were cut from 58 to 47 hours per week. The library is currently closed Monday morning, Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon. Some of the children’s programs and all of the adult programs were suspended.

The referendum voters were asked to consider on April 7 was for a tax rate increase that Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes and the Library Board said is needed to adequately operate the new facility.

Prior to the April 7 failure of the referendum, Hughes said that if it did not pass, the same dollars available to operate the current 6,000-square-foot building will be available to operate the new 27,430-square-foot building. This means that further cuts in the hours will be necessary when the new building opens in August.

Hughes added that even if the referendum had passed in April, the library would not have seen the additional level of funding until July 2010, and residents would not see the increase on their tax bill until June 2010.

Given that a reduction in hours is likely later this year, library staff would like to know what schedule works best for the most people. The Library District includes the village of Sugar Grove, unincorporated Sugar Grove Township, unincorporated Aurora in Blackberry Township and Montgomery residents who reside in Sugar Grove Township. It serves about 15,000 residents.

Residents may access the survey through links provided at the library’s website at www.sugargrove.lib.il.us.

Hughes said she is available to answer questions about the survey and library services. Residents may stop by at the library at 54 Snow St., e-mail her at director@ sugargrove.lib.il.us or call her at (630) 466-4686.

Sugar Grove village notes

by Susan O’Neill

Board adopts 2009 zoning map
The Village Board adopted a 2009 zoning map that includes several revisions approved in 2008, including the Prairie Grove Commons annexation and rezoning, the Nickels property rezoning, the Hannaford Farm PUD amendment, Dr. Craig Zabel’s Main Street property rezoning and special use, and the township’s property rezoning and special use on Main Street.

The map does not change any of the current zoning districts. The adoption of a new zoning map each year is required by state statute.

Board approves LED signage ordinance
The Village Board on Tuesday approved an amendment to the village sign code that would allow for electronic message display (LED) signs, which the current code does not allow. The amendment includes standards for color, design, sign display area and setbacks, and prohibits rotating, flashing, blinking or scrolling effects.

The new Sugar Grove Library building ground sign and the sign for the new Walgreens will comply with the standards in the amendment, as well as future commercial buildings.

Work on water main continues
Village Board members approved a sixth grant of easement for the Route 47 and Wheeler Road water main improvement to service Kaneland Harter Middle School. The easement grants permanent and construction easements to the village to construct, install and maintain the water main.

Board establishes backup SSA for The Landings
The board on Tuesday approved an ordinance establishing a backup Special Service Area (SSA) for The Landings development located west of Route 47 and south of Park Avenue.

The ordinance allows the village to authorize maintenance, repair and replacement of storm water systems, landscaping, private roads, parking areas and signage, and to establish a mosquito abatement program.

The ordinance allows the village to levy an annual tax if the association fails to conduct the maintenance.

Fun on a budget: Rethink the library as a potential social gathering place

by Gwen Allen

Although libraries aren’t exactly known as social hot spots, contrary to popular belief, they are, in many respects, a social destination. This is especially true in smaller communities, where there aren’t as many coffee shops, museums or cafes.

In almost every library surrounding Elburn there are program directors that do nothing but coordinate social functions for both children and adults. There are reading groups, “how-to” seminars and, of course, an array of craft classes aimed at any and every season or holiday.

The library programs are usually offered free or at a minimal cost, helping both individuals and families who are on a budget.

Cathy Korthals, program director for Elburn’s Town and Country Public Library, said the library is great because you can visit alone, with friends or with family.

“Why not come here, visit and find interesting things to do, rather then go to the mall?” Korthals suggested. “You don’t even need a library card (unless you want to check something out) to come in and enjoy all that it has to offer.”

In addition to lectures, workshops, classes and of course books, libraries are a great resource for other means of entertainment too. There are movie rentals on both VHS and DVD (free at most libraries), free Internet access, audio books for long drives, puzzles and games for children.

“In general, the library is really a bargain, because you can have meetings for free, the story times are free, and there are even free classes for children with reading delays,” Korthals said.

The Town and Country Public Library even has a coffee bar open on Saturday mornings that is sponsored by Friends of the Library.

Sukie Blake, Maple Park library director, said another reason to make a library a destination spot, especially for kids, is because it is warm, friendly and safe.

“It is close and the kids can just walk here,” Blake said. “And (again) it’s free, there are lots of activities for the kids here.”

So if saving money and time is what you seek, rediscover the library and leave the social “hot spots” to the crowds.

Elburn Town and Country Public Library
www.elburn.lib.il.us/
Check website for story times.
January
Check out a movie for free and get a free
package of microwave popcorn.
Computer Class
$5 each (eight total each month)
Check the website for topics and times
February
Lyric Oprah
Gives synopsis of current
opera being performed.
Room Designing
Thursday, Feb. 19, 7 pm.
Get a new look on a budget

Maple Park Public Library
www.maplepark.lib.il.us/
Story time
every Wednesday at 10 a.m., for all ages.
Arts and Crafts
Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m.

Sugar Grove Public Library
www.sugargrove.lib.il.us/
A formal book club meets on the first
Tuesday of every month.
Story Time (2 to 5 years),
Lap-sit readings (up to 18 months) and Toddler Time require advance registration. To register by phone,
call (630) 466-4686 or e-mail.

Growth shifts from homes to stores

by Susan O’Neill

            With a struggling economy in the background, the village of Sugar Grove saw a shift of focus in 2008. In previous years much effort was spent planning for residential growth, but this year it was spent on bringing commercial projects into the village.
 
Sugar Grove is recognized
            Sugar Grove began the new year by celebrating BusinessWeek.com‘s choice of the village as the best affordable suburb in Illinois. Sugar Grove was picked as a relatively affordable community that offers the lowest crime rate, finest schools and the best quality of life for the money in the state.

            Sugar Grove learned in June that Standard & Poors upgraded the village’s bond rating from an A to an A+.

            Settler’s Ridge, Sugar Grove’s conservation development, earned a Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from the Chicago Wilderness Corporation Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its landscaping and innovative water works systems. The water works system also received the Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association Chicago Metro Chapter.
 
The economy and growth
            The Settler’s Ridge Subdivision was dealt a blow in April when developer Kimball Hill Homes requested bankruptcy protection. The development, which was to include 2,678 homes, was put up for sale after only 100 residences were built. Kimball Hill announced it would go out of business at year’s end.

            New home starts dropped significantly, leading the village to renegotiate annexation agreements with developers of projects in progress.

            Although residential development lagged in Sugar Grove in 2008, commercial development continued to move forward.

            “It’s been a busy year,” Village President Sean Michels said. “There has been $65 million in investment in the village.”

            Multiple commercial/office developments either opened or expanded, and many new businesses opened, ranging from two new preschools to a family practice physician and other retail outlets, locations like The Landings, Sugar Grove Center and the Capital Professional Center saw growth throughout the year.
 
Municipal development
            Groundbreaking for the new Sugar Grove Public Library building took place on May 3, although voters rejected a measure to increase the tax rate to increase the library’s operating expenses.

            The Sugar Grove Fire District moved nine firefighters to the Oswego Fire District station on Galena Road in July to meet response time standards in the area from the station on Route 30 and Municipal Drive.
 
Airport growth
            Growth is taking place at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove as well, with two companies opening new locations: one in December and another slated for 2009.
 
New church in village

            The Rockford Diocese created the first new Roman Catholic parish in almost 20 years in Sugar Grove this year. The St. Katharine Drexel parish holds weekend masses at the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School until a church can be built on land donated by the Jerry Rich family. The parish priest, Fr. Robert Jones, began in time to conduct Advent services on Nov. 29.

            What began several years ago as a plan to build a new separate village hall and police facility based on population projections of 60,000 plus was ultimately reduced at year’s end to the reconfiguration of the Police Department reception area for increased protection and safety of police personnel.
 
Infrastructure
            Construction also began this year on the Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extension, and plans moved forward for the extension of the village’s water main out to the Kaneland Harter Road Middle School.
 
SG joins county program
            The Sugar Grove Village Board approved a measure to join Ride in Kane, a county-wide program to provide transportation to eligible residents in need. With participation by the Sugar Grove Township, Park District and Public Library, the village will receive $4,000 from the Regional Transportation Authority. Services will begin July 1, 2009.
 
Future growth
            Robert Arthur Land Company in October brought plans for an active adult community to the Village Board for its feedback. The 190-acre development would include a mix of single-family homes for active adults and rental apartments and condominiums targeting adults over 55 on land originally set aside for the Settler’s Ridge development.

            Village officials reviewed plans in November for a Walgreens store scheduled to open in 2009 at the northwest corner of Route 47 and the Galena Boulevard extension. Attorney James White said the developer, the Daly Group, LLC, hopes to attract some big-box stores to the development.

            Michels said there are a couple of other smaller retailers, including an auto service center and a small hardware store that the village is talking to for possible location in the Prairie Grove Commons, south of Galena Boulevard and west of Route 47.

            The village hopes to take advantage of potential infrastructure funding that may be available in 2009 through the new federal administration’s stimulus package. Village staff submitted two infrastructure projects to the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus for the Harter Road water main extension and the Municipal Drive extension from Galena Boulevard to Wheeler Road.

            Michels said the village is still working on a full interchange at I-88 and Route 47. There is currently a feasibility study underway for the interchange and that is going well, he said.

            According to Michels, when the construction market begins to pick up again, Sugar Grove should be in a good position to take advantage of it with the essential infrastructure in place.