St. Charles approves funding for history museum, business alliance
Two nonprofit organizations -- the St. Charles History Museum and the St. Charles Business Alliance -- will be able to continue to showcase the city, thanks to funding from the city council.
At Monday's St. Charles City Council meeting, aldermen unanimously approved a $50,000 funding request for the St. Charles History Museum. The funds for the History Museum are derived from the city's hotel-motel tax revenue stream.
The museum made its annual presentation to aldermen at a February committee meeting. At that meeting, museum officials requested $50,000 in funding, a $5,000 increase from the previous year.
One of the museum's accomplishments last year was partnering with the Rising Lights Project to make it more accessible to those with disabilities.
"We are now working toward the goal of making all museum programs and events inclusive and accessible for all," St. Charles History Museum Executive Director Lindsay Judd had told aldermen.
A holiday gala fundraiser, It's a Wonderful Life in St. Charles, raised $27,000, surpassing its goal of $16,000. The event took place at the Dunham Woods Riding Club.
"It was not only sold out, but we also had a waiting list," she said. "Our goal was not only to net $16,000 but to also bring folks together to celebrate this wonderful life we share here in St. Charles."
This year's event will be on Dec. 9. As a result of the success of the holiday gala fundraiser along with additional revenue generated by investments and new grant sources, the museum saw its revenues last year increase to $159,000, up from expected revenues of $105,000.
Museum officials are planning on a balanced budget this year -- $141,000 in revenues and $141,000 in expenses.
The museum is also planning new events. This summer, for example, the museum plans to introduce guided walking tours of the city's downtown.
"We are also partnering with the St. Charles Park District to bring back the Grave Reminders Cemetery Walk on Oct. 15, offering a daytime and a nighttime program to give people more options," Judd said.
The museum has seen a 7% increase in sales at its gift shop compared to 2020. The gift shop has also added many new items, she said.
"We will continue to ensure that the Curious Fox gift shop offers explicitly St. Charles-themed items," Judd said.
Aldermen also approved $698,600 in funding for the St. Charles Business Alliance. The funds come from two sources -- $262,000 of anticipated proceeds from special service area 1B and $436,600 from the city's hotel tax revenues in the general fund.
To better promote St. Charles, the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Downtown St. Charles Partnership in 2019 merged into the St. Charles Business Alliance. The organization recently oversaw the installation of five new murals to welcome visitors to downtown St. Charles.