Trip Inspiration from Illinois to North Carolina

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 10: Creative signage. Baxter, a bar and arcade in Chapel Hill, NC, was neat inside and out. Creative signage makes passerby want to venture in the doors. You can also see it while driving or biking by. Some #downtownaurora could benefit from more visible signs that are sometimes blocked by awnings. This creative sign creates a fun mood. #baxterbarcade


trip 3

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 9: Walls of color. Murals in vibrant cities. Vibrant cities have murals. It just follows. Where there is art, there are people. The city is set to allow murals in #downtownaurora soon. The city council is voting on it this Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Creating a welcoming community for artists and visitors. #carrboro


trip 5

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 8: Recycling downtown. How green can a city be if they don’t offer recycling in the city center? Recycling would add to the rain gardens in #downtownaurora as an effort to be green and eco-friendly. Many businesses also don’t recycle. Aurora Green Drinks moved out of downtown to a business that models sustainability. Is it time we stepped up?


trip 8

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 7: A better farmers market. We have a nice farmers market,but it’s not good enough. It’s in a parking lot for one. It also doesn’t have enough farmers and is becoming more of a artisan market. In Lexington, KY, they had a great market inside and outside of a covered pavilion. In #downtownaurora, we can make our market a destination by making it more comfortable to attend by improving or changing the location. We can also include more local farmers and locals who pickle and make jams by changing some of the laws. The organizers work hard and bring some fun things to the market. We can always do better and make the market a destination.


trip 9

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 6: Walk there! How refreshing to see these wayfinding signs that encourage walking in Lexington, KY. In #downtownaurora, similar signs could help direct folks to museums, RiverEdge Park, the casino, and other places. Prisco Center and Aurora Transportation Center, too? People seem lost sometimes when they’re downtown and these simple signs could help while encouraging walking in downtown.


trip 4

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 5: Kiosks that tell a story. In Black Mountain, NC, they used a kiosk for maps, a shopping directory and to tell their story. In #downtownaurora, we also have a story to share. From our mill days to our arts days, we can welcome visitors with our story as we show them the way around downtown. We keep wondering why so many things in downtown keep remaining best kept secrets. It’s time we installed a kiosk at a pedestrian friendly intersection like Downer and Stolp to boast what we have in downtown #aurorail.


trip 10

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 4: Community gathering space. Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, NC offers a large “front yard” with picnic tables for people to gather. The food cooperative has a hot bar and salad bar inside but people also bring their own food. Alcohol is also allowed outside. It’s a common area for all ages to gather and enjoy. When I stayed in Carrboro for the summer, Weaver Street was a place to take my daughter and socialize. It’s surprising that every community doesn’t have one. We have a great, pedestrian friendly space at Water Street Mall in #downtownaurora. We just need businesses that attract people like grocery stores, restaurants, book and record stores, etc.


trip 7

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 3: Community boards. A sign of an active and vibrant community is how many events are happening. Fliers, posters and postcards are a good thing. The more, the better. It’s a sign of life. In Black Mountain, NC, there was this outdoor, community board filled with fliers for passersby to see. In #downtownaurora, we don’t allow fliers on telephone poles and we don’t have a centralized spot for community fliers. Most fliers are posted in storefronts.


trip 6

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 2: Local campaigns. It’s nice to know that our dollars are supporting the local economy. A unified shop local campaign let’s people feel good about where they spend their money. We have mostly locally-owned businesses in downtown Aurora and a similar campaign could bring conscientious shoppers that are more likely to also support the arts in downtown. It also keeps #downtownaurora unique in that it’s not an outdoor mall. #shoplocal


trip blog 1

10 days of trip inspiration. Day 1: City banners. Carrboro, NC hired a marketing firm and came up with a great new logo and slogan that they show off on banners. We’re trying to get banners in downtown Aurora that show off local art and First Fridays. It hasn’t been easy. Most of the banners are claimed for the entire year. But we might finally have a chance to get some up even if we have to order more banner hangers. Determination might pay off after a few years. Vibrant cities frequently hang banners in various neighborhoods; #downtownaurora is currently full of Paramount show banners. Hopefully we’ll see others soon.


trip extra

During our 10 day trip from Aurora, Ill. to Carrboro, NC, we stopped in Indianapolis (Hi, Print Text!); Lexington, KY; Ashville and Black Mountain, NC; and a quick stop at a coffee shop in Winston-Salem, NC. The stop in Lexington wasn’t long enough, but we were able to take in a great neighborhood that boasted a transformative brewery and a great park – Lexington’s home to bike polo – where a large group of adults was playing soccer. After a recent trip to Madison, Wisc., I also noticed groups of adults playing sand volleyball. These public, outdoor activities that welcomed adults to get active could be a key to vibrant communities. In Aurora, Stay Rad is one bicycle club that helps to get folks out on the trails. How can we get more people out and in the city center to be social and active?



Trip inspiration in action: a sighting of a downtown free library in North Carolina inspired a free downtown library in an empty newspaper box on Downer Place outside of Old Second Bank in downtown Aurora (see photo below).


Downtown Aurora's new free library is up and running outside of Old Second Bank on Downer and River.

Downtown Aurora’s new free library is up and running outside of Old Second Bank on Downer and River. A couple of local women maintain the library with about 25 books for all ages.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons