AURORA -- Aurora Lake Road may soon be a dedicated, entirely city-owned and maintained street.
City Council is mulling an agreement between Hawthorn of Aurora developer Mark Constantino and the city to dedicate the road.
However, action on the issue has been postponed at the last two Council meetings, including March 13.
"I think we've finally come to an agreement where the city of Aurora would own the road and Mr. Constantino would pay something toward the road and improvements as he sells lots in his development," said Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin.
That maintenance would include plowing, paving and improving the road over time, she added, noting the deal would include a 60-foot wide right-of-way.
In a March 10 interview with the Aurora Advocate, Constantino said he feels it is "inappropriate" to comment on the agreement until its passage, but said the dedication is overdue.
"A company should not own a road," he said, explaining it was private at the time his company took ownership about 30 years ago.
He said it would be better if the road weren't private. "It shouldn't be, it's not going to be and it's probably what's best for everybody," he said.
Although the road has been private for many years, Womer Benjamin said it's been used as a public road.
"I think it's important for the city to take ownership of the road to maintain it and make sure it eventually meets the appropriate standards for the protection of the residents," she said.
She added it serves as a way to access Aurora Shores and Reminderville, which is atypical for a private road. Usually, they are only used by members of the neighborhoods or homeowners associations that own them.
Despite it being a private road, the mayor said the city invested $60,000 in paving in 2015, noting the road is used by school buses and residents from around the area.
"It's just a haphazard way for the city to deal with this by putting money into it when, technically, it's a private road," she said.
City Councilman Jim Vaca said the road originally was a private drive to a lakefront fishing / hunting club and was never dedicated as it passed from owner to owner and houses to the west, including areas of Aurora Shores and Reminderville, were built.
"They rented out boats to go fishing, sold fishing and hunting equipment and had a snack bar," he said of the establishment on the lake. "The road itself went around the lake, but it was a service road that led to the dam on the other side."
In the days of the lakefront hunting and fishing club, he said the road was probably gravel.
Vaca said improving the road is going to be "an expensive proposition" because it's never been built to city standards.
Womer Benjamin said Reminderville paid for some soil borings in the area prior to the 2015 paving project. The area around the roughly 4,000-foot road segment is "very wet," which may mean the "soil underneath is not entirely stable."
"There's a big lake right there and wetlands scattered around, and I think it's kind of sandy, unstable soil," she explained.
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