"Embrace Aurora," which will be included at the April 5 Aurora Business and Community Showcase, is a new program in which a basket will be delivered to all new city residents with the hope of promoting local businesses, increasing the visibility of the Chamber of Commerce and promoting good will between newcomers and the city.

City Councilwoman Amy McDougald said the program is being funded by a fee paid by local businesses ($25 for six months, $40 for one year), donated goods from local businesses and by the donated time of members of the Chamber of Commerce and City Council.

McDougald said she and Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin spoke about the city providing a space for the collection of basket items, as well as the assembly and storage of baskets. Until the end of the year, a Chamber member has a space for this activity while the city searches for a location.

McDougald said Portage County would provide a list of new Aurora residents, and the list would be divided up according to wards. The Chamber would collect gift cards, coupons and flyers for storage, and assemble the baskets.

She said Council reps will deliver the baskets on a semi-monthly basis, and she hopes the first delivery will occur in May or June.

McDougald said others who have worked on the project are Lisa Kusner of Aurora Farms Premium Outlets, financial planner Brady Krebs and Laura Holman, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.