Standing on the banks of the Fox River as it flows through downtown Yorkville, it’s easy to imagine how it looked in the 1830s, when early settlers built their homes among the oak and pine groves that line the river. But it won’t be long before you’re reminded that this still-quiet town is in the heart of Kendall County, one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. In 2009, Kendall County’s population was estimated at 104,821, up nearly 50% since the last census.
During the housing boom, builders flocked to the area for the abundant available land, and families followed, lured by affordable prices and great quality of life. Now that the pace of building has slowed, the city government is taking the time to reassess their plans for the future, with input from a Citizen’s Advisory Committee. More housing for senior citizens, preservation of open space, and more restaurants and shopping are a few of the items included in the Downtown Vision Plan.
Town Square Park is at the center of town, and the center of activity, home to the farmers market and other community events. The Yorkville Parks and Recreation Department oversees a system of parks throughout the city, each with a specific theme. The Rec Center, a full-service fitness and recreation facility, offers fitness classes and leagues for basketball, soccer and more. Raging Waves bills itself as Illinois’ largest water park, and anyone who’s attempted to experience all the wet and wild attractions would have to agree.
For those seeking quieter pursuits, Yorkville’s beautiful new public library is the perfect place to browse for books and other media. The lively arts are alive and well, thanks to the Kendall Arts Guild and the Fox Country Players.
A few vintage homes are available near the downtown area, but most of Yorkville’s homes were built in the last 20 years. The building boom peaked in 2006, when 821 residential permits were issued, resulting in an oversupply that continues today. What was already an affordable area has become even more so, with newer nicely appointed 3 and 4-bedroom homes selling in the $200,000 range. At the higher end, where fewer homes are available, prices have fared better, with a few luxury homes priced near $1 million.
Townhomes and condominiums are also in good supply, with some units available under $100,000, and new-construction townhomes starting at $120,000.
Yorkville’s location on Route 47 provides easy access to I-88, about 10 miles to the north. I-55, about 12 miles to the east, offers a direct route to downtown Chicago, about an hour’s drive. Some commuters prefer to drive to Aurora and catch the Metra train, which makes the trip to Chicago’s Union Station in about 50 minutes.
Shopping, dining and nightlife
The building boom in homes brought a similar boom in retail to the Yorkville area. Kendall Marketplace is still under development, but already includes SuperTarget, Kohl’s, and Home Depot, with more to come. New restaurants have also come to town, with casual dining options such as Capri and Stonefire among the most popular.
Yorkville District 115 has had its own building boom, with two new elementary schools and a middle school built in recent years. Yorkville High School, opened in 1998, added a new Freshman Academy in 2008. Two private K-8 schools also serve the Yorkville area.