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Oswego a boring place? : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego a boring place?
Village president disagrees with blog's 'light-hearted' list

by John Etheredge

6/19/2014

Over the past three decades the Village of Oswego has grown from a sleepy village of less than 3,000 people to a sprawling community of more than 33,000, but despite the village's rapid growth it's still a boring place to live.

That's the conclusion of officials with the Movoto Real Estate Blog who ranked Oswego last week eighth on it's list of "10 Most Boring Places in Illinois."

Officials with the blog noted they recently ranked the most exciting places in Illinois and then decided to have "a little light-hearted fun and skewer the 10 most boring spots" in the state.

To compile their list of boring places, Movoto officials said they used the same methodology they used to rank Illinois' most exciting places, ranking communities on six separate criteria: nightlife per capita; live music venues; active life options (parks, etc.) per capita; fast food restaurants per capita; percentage of restaurants that are fast food and percentage of young residents between the ages of 20 to 24.

Earning the No. 1 rank as most boring place in Illinois was the Village of New Lenox in Will County, followed in order by the City of Rolling Meadows, Calumet City, Village of Lake in the Hills, Village of Huntley, Village of Bolingbrook and Village of Hanover Park (tie), Village of Oswego, Village of Vernon Hills and Village of Streamwood.

Movoto officials acknowledged their top 10 list is dominated by suburban villages.

They said, "Are you really surprised? Sleepy little places may be great to relax, retire or raise families, but if you're an adrenaline junkie high on the variety that is the spice of life, villages probably don't attract your eye."

Concerning Oswego, Movoto officials noted the village did poorly in their ranking based on the village's younger population, music venues per capita and fast food versus non-fast food restaurants.

"So, basically, uniqueness and variety are hardly this city's spice of choice," Movoto officials said.

However, the Movoto officials noted the village did score well in their ranking for "active life" opportunities, but added, "If you don't like to take walks, workout, or some form of dance, this place really doesn't have much to offer you. And after sundown, forget it. That's bedtime, not party time for this sleepy little place."

Movoto officials did concede, the village has a "pretty downtown. Maybe that can be a consolation."

As someone who grew up in Oswego and has watched as the village grew and developed over the years, Brian LeClercq, village president, said he was very surprised the village turned up on Movoto's top ten boring list-even if the list is a light-hearted one.

"Having lived in Oswego my entire life, (I know) Oswego is a great place to live, work and play. Over the last several years, so many wonderful shopping and dining establishments have been added, which greatly adds to the value of living in Oswego. Not to mention our awesome festivals, there is always something to do in the Village of Oswego," he said.

LeClercq confirmed the village's location close to Aurora and Naperville may play a role in its ranking as boring. Many village residents may seek out dining and entertainment options in the two large cities that sit on the village's doorstep.

LeClercq said, "Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois, that definitely plays a key role in this. But compared to Aurora and Naperville, Oswego has kept its small town charm throughout our growth. I don't think that Aurora and Naperville can offer that."

He added that he believes the village has a good blend between "boring and exciting" opportunities for its residents and visitors.

Look at our demographics, we are primarily young families and that's who we cater to," LeClercq said, adding, "We have an excellent park district, school district and library district. The families of Oswego are utilizing these organizations and what they have to offer on a daily basis. These young families aren't looking for nightlife, they are looking for fun, family-friendly activities that the whole family can enjoy and I think we offer that. Just stop at Hudson Crossing Park and you'll see families having fun, every day."

As a lifelong village resident, LeClercq said he is certain the village has grown more exciting over the years.

"Look at all of the special events that take place throughout the entire summer," he said, adding, "Of course, PrairieFest is always a big hit, but just look around, there is something special going on each and every week. Just come to downtown Oswego on a Sunday for the Country Market or visit the village's calendar (oswegoil.org) and see that there is something going on all the time. We have definitely have become much more exciting over the years."

LeClercq indicated he is not concerned the village's ranking as a boring community will hurt the village's economic development efforts.

"Oswego economic development speaks for itself. Oswego has a proven 'pro-business atmosphere.' Oswego offers low cost of living along with a well-educated workforce, making it a top choice for area businesses. Oswego attracts 51 percent of its shoppers from neighboring communities and has over one-half billion dollars per year in unmet demand for retail," he said.




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