AURORA (STMW)– Residents who posted Aurora’s praises on Reader’s Digest’s website earned the city a $1,000 check from the magazine and a visit from the Reader’s Digest RV Wednesday.

Those who entered the magazine’s “We Hear You America” contest earned Aurora a ranking as one of the 100 best-loved towns in America. A second round of the contest to pick the 10 towns with the most community spirit gives Aurora’s cheerleaders another chance to win up to $40,000, noted Reader’s Digest ambassador Mike Amos.

“People have until May 16 to ‘cheer’ for their town on our website,” Amos said at the check presentation. “We got some great comments from Aurora. I think you have a shot (at winning one of the 10 grand prizes).”

Wednesday’s icy winds gave new meaning to the term “cold, hard cash” as a handful of officials met outside the Prisco Community Center to receive the city’s check from the Reader’s Digest’s contest.

Nevertheless, Mayor Tom Weisner looked cold but happy as he accepted the donation.

“We can certainly use this well,” Weisner said. “We appreciate Reader’s Digest giving us this money, and we appreciate our own residents who indicated on the website that Aurora is a great place to live, work and play.”

While he cited the Fox River, the Paramount Theatre and historic downtown architecture as Aurora’s civic gems, Weisner praised residents for making Aurora a vibrant community.

“Our people are easily our strongest resource,” he said. “We have a very diverse population of 200,000, and we continue to grow because people recognize what a great place this is.”

Among the “cheers” Aurora residents posted to the Reader’s Digest contest website was this anonymous comment: “I would love the money to be used to help the ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Aurora. I enjoy the Paramount Theater, all the new restaurants that have opened and can’t wait until RiverEdge Park is open. It certainly has become a destination point for many residents that only is going to continue to get better.”

“Getting the money is nice, but just getting the publicity will help promote the city and create awareness of what a great town this is,” said mayoral assistant Chuck Nelson. “The fact that Reader’s Digest is recognizing the city is a great testimonial.”

Amos and fellow ambassadors Jason Ramos and Jayson Harrison spent Wednesday sight-seeing in Aurora, the 84th stop on their “100 Towns in 100 Days” cross-country tour.

On Thursday, they’re bringing a $20,000 check to Fairbury in central Illinois, which placed second in the first selection of Top Ten towns, Amos said.

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