We must not rest on our past successes. The economy is coming back, and we must lead again to excel and grow our local economy.
- First, we build success through Business Retention and Expansion – in essence we take care of the businesses we have right here in the city. Now, if we don’t work to keep those businesses here, we will just have a zero-sum game…we lose a company at the same time as we attract one–a wash. That’s not building on success. Moreover, we will look inward FIRST before working to bring anyone from the outside into Aurora. Again, existing businesses have skin in the game with investments etc. that should receive priority. We will encourage our area lending institutions to work more with existing businesses to make commercial projects happen. We want to make sure AURORA has an enhanced and vibrant economy. WE WON’T FORGET THE BUSINESSES THAT CALL AURORA HOME!
- The second element to this effort to build success is through Business Recruitment – The Mayor is critical in taking a role in attracting business to the city. I’ll add this: we have 12 aldermen and the mayor…13 in total. Thirteen heads are better than one. I will enlist the Aldermen to assist in taking an active role in attracting business in their wards and the city as a whole that complement the businesses currently in Aurora.
- We will work to enhance the city’s Development Services Team system to ensure that if a business is expanding or just making improvements it should be done on time and on budget. NO SURPRISES…Time is money and money is time. The longer it takes for a business to open that means that the business is not making money and people are not working…And the City is not receiving tax revenue.
- We need a City-Wide Business/Economic Development Master Plan. We have one for Downtown Aurora, but we don’t have one for the entire city. It’s time. It can guide us on the path to success and inform businesses and developers that we don’t just talk. Developers want to know that we have a plan that allows them to buy into our vision for a better Aurora.
- We must have a well-trained and educated Workforce. We can’t kid ourselves. If existing business can’t find qualified workers, what choice do they have? Our high schools must prepare those that may not go to college to be workforce ready. Those who are college bound must be educated toward the types of businesses Aurora is seeking to retain and attract. Aurora must partner with its educational institutions to ensure our young people will be prepared for opportunities in the future. We can’t have enough workforce development programs in this city. We will work with all our partners to ensure that a well-trained workforce is a staple in the City of Aurora. A city relies on the success of its school districts and educational facilities. Therefore, their success is our success.
- The Seize the Future Downtown Master Plan is not finished. We made great strides with the River EdgePark and the many new additions in our downtown. But more must be done. I will direct our Invest Aurora board to convene a subcommittee to re-focus on the Master Plan for downtown and lay out a 10-year plan to finish what was started by the business community in 2005.