Downtown Oswego during the Christmas walk December, 2018.
Credit: Sarah Keck, 42Fifty

 Oswego is a middle-sized town in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois with a population of 30,856 residents. Two high schools, five junior high schools, 13 elementary schools, and one early learning center. With this many people, there has to be more to offer from the village itself. O-Town has sub-par schooling and higher taxes than other areas. It also lacks in other departments, such as entertainment. These areas clearly need to be improved.

The village of Oswego should do everything it can to ensure that its residents enjoy living there. The people of Oswego should have a reason to stay living there. It needs better public transportation and more entertainment venues.

When taxes are high in a town like this, taxpayers should be satisfied with what the town does with the money. Instead of overpaying for these service buildings, the town should direct its money towards making it more enjoyable to live in Oswego by adding more entertainment venues. If an Oswego native wants to go out with friends to have fun, they typically have to travel to Yorkville or Montgomery. They should make more entertainment venues more accessible to its residents by placing them in Oswego. These should be things like an indoor pool for use in the wintertime, indoor basketball courts which have evaded Oswego ever since the local YMCA shut down, or an indoor roller rink that could resemble something like the Funway located in Batavia, which is anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes away for an Oswego resident.

With the upcoming referendum, the village is proposing that citizens pay more in taxes but with more outcomes, the last time a referendum was pasted in the Village of Oswego was 2005. With the vote happening on March 17, 2020, taxpayers should be aware of the benefits from the tax hike. Currently in Oswego Community School District 308 the average class size is 28-30 students, if it passes, that number will go down to 25. However, growing up in the district, the larger class size doesn’t mean much when the materials still aren’t there. The proposed tax hike would increase the school district end-balance from $17.6 million to $38 million. Our thoughts still remain, if the district wants to nearly double the amount in their bank account, why couldn’t this have been done sooner? If it would really affect students in such a drastic way, surely it would’ve been passed five or seven years ago. 

While Oswego is a safe place to live (for the most part), it lacks entertainment options as it overpays for service buildings that can be just as effective in more cost-effective ways. In general, Oswego has a very low crime rate, therefore a multi-million dollar police station is not necessary for such a low-crime suburban area. The tax dollars that citizens pay should be going towards things that will benefit the community such as a year-round recreation center with a full gym, basketball courts, and/or indoor pool and hot tubs.  

Another thing that Oswego lacks is public transportation. There isn’t any form of public transport as the nearest Metra station is in downtown Aurora, which is twenty-minutes away. Oswego doesn’t have any bus system and citizens have to either drive, walk, or ride a bike to get to places. The Pace buses that go around Aurora are a great system for citizens to go around town. Oswego is a third of the size of Aurora, the village could adapt the Pace buses and scale it down to the areas that need them most. 

Students at OHS who stay after school for clubs and sports have to find their own ride home. If a student cannot find someone to pick them up after school, they are either waiting a longer period of time for that ride, or are forced to walk home. A bus stop either at the school or nearby would eliminate this issue entirely. 

Oswego, geographically speaking, is a large area. From Orchard Road to Wal-Mart on Route 34 is around a fifteen-minute drive. With the world trying to reduce its carbon footprint, you’d think most cities and large towns would have at least a few bus routes. If Oswego could get a route that went to the train station in Aurora, traffic in downtown Aurora would be reduced. It would also reduce the amount of cars in the parking lot at the train station. A solid location for a train station in Oswego would be off of Orchard Road, next to local restaurants. Adding a train station would also help boost the sale of the surrounding businesses.

The Metra is one of the best modes of transportation to get into Chicago from the suburbs.A station that stops in Oswego would allow more citizens easy access to the city, especially commuters. The residents of Oswego would be very pleased with this addition, and it would benefit the town greatly.

Oswego is far from perfect. It is where we grew up and want to see future generations have what we didn’t. It can no longer be without entertainment venues and public transportation that most towns possess. The Village of Oswego should take these suggestions into consideration to make its residents proud to be part of the great community they claim to have. 

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