'It's a Children's Utopia' Ashbury Was Hit with Families from the Start

By St. Clair, Stacy | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 28, 2000 | Go to article overview

'It's a Children's Utopia' Ashbury Was Hit with Families from the Start


St. Clair, Stacy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


If there's one thing Ashbury residents take pride in, it's their children.

The whole neighborhood seems to revolve around the kids.

The aquatic center, the parks, the schools. The baby-sitting co- ops, the soccer teams, the baseball leagues.

It's all about the kids.

"It's a children's utopia," resident Pam Swafford says. "It's just really a great place to grow up."

Developers envisioned just such a place a decade ago when they decided to subdivide three local farms and build Ashbury. At the time, real estate experts doubted anyone would buy a home so far from downtown Naperville.

Located at the intersection of 95th Street and Plainfield- Naperville Road, Ashbury is about 6 miles from the Riverwalk. In the early '90s, the distance seemed more like 60 miles. There were plenty of cornfields in southwest Naperville back then, but very few amenities.

The developer, MidAmerica Development Services, decided Ashbury would succeed if it could conjure an instant feeling of community. With that aim, the company built a $3.5 million aquatic center before constructing a single home.

The facility was intended to become the heart of the neighborhood, giving residents a place to socialize and relax.

The plan worked.

In just a few years, the subdivision was fully developed. More than 1,100 upscale homes had been built and sold.

"We were told it wasn't going to sell," says Nick DiLorenzo, a former MidAmerica president and a current Ashbury resident. "Now Ashbury is the center of Naperville."

Ashbury catches Naperville's fancy, in part, because the neighborhood presents itself as an idyllic community. The homes are big and beautiful, the lawns are meticulously manicured and many neighbors genuinely seem to like each other.

What's more, the subdivision embraces its family image and isn't afraid to show it.

Ari Rosenthal bought one of the first homes in the neighborhood 10 years ago. He had expected to live there a few years, then buy a bigger house somewhere else.

A decade later, Rosenthal is still in Ashbury, serving as vice president of the homeowners association.

"It's a hard place to leave," he says. "It's such a family place. If you have kids, it's the place to be."

For most Ashbury children, the aquatic center is the place to be in the summer. The kids splash in the water for hours, while their parents socialize in the deck chairs.

Many families spend all day at the center, often eating both lunch and dinner there. By summer's end, pool-goers have shared at least one meal with most of the subdivision.

"Families here spend a lot of time together," Ashbury resident Kristin Brindle says. "The moms and the kids are a pretty tight group."

Lest anyone think children are the only ones with social lives in Ashbury, consider all the entertainment opportunities for adults. …

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