St. Charles officials closing in on final design for 1st Street Plaza project

  • A community survey indicated tremendous support for the direction of 1st Street Plaza project in St. Charles.

    A community survey indicated tremendous support for the direction of 1st Street Plaza project in St. Charles. Courtesy of City of St. Charles

  • Closing a portion of 1st Street to vehicular traffic to create a pedestrian walkway is part of the design for the 1st Street Plaza project in St. Charles.

    Closing a portion of 1st Street to vehicular traffic to create a pedestrian walkway is part of the design for the 1st Street Plaza project in St. Charles. Courtesy of City of St. Charles

 
 
Updated 2/24/2021 6:23 PM

Bolstered by the results of a community survey indicating support for the direction of the 1st Street Plaza project along the Fox River in St. Charles, city officials agreed to pay $165,000 to Serena Sturm Architects for a detailed design of the plan.

The city previously paid a similar amount to Serena Sturm for a basic design that included artist renderings of the pedestrian walkway, public gathering spot and other amenities. The new design will include an updated site survey and describe the site's architectural and structural dimensions in addition to HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems.

 

The design will be completed by mid-May with hopes of construction beginning just after Labor Day.

A unanimous vote from the city's aldermen earlier this week to approve the payment came after City Administrator Mark Koenen announced the results of a 1st Street Plaza community survey that saw nearly twice the response as the city's survey last year to rate the quality of living in St. Charles.

Of the nearly 1,000 responses rating aspects of the proposed 1st Street Plaza project on a scale from one to 10, an average rating of 9.0 was given in support of closing a portion of 1st Street for a pedestrian walkway. A solar pergola feature in the public gathering area received a 7.5 and a public art display received a 7.1.

"Overwhelmingly, the response was very positive," Koenen said.

The cost of the 1st Street Plaza project, aimed to be completed in the summer of 2022, is estimated at $3,255,750 not including the city's recent purchase of the necessary parcels for about $1 million.

The St. Charles Initiative, a group spearheading the fundraising for the public-private project, is contributing $34,000 of the $165,000 for the new design. About $750,000 overall has been raised for the project, including a $600,000 donation from Exelon. The city has contributed $1.4 million including the land purchase.

The first step of construction is filling the hole where the Manor Restaurant stood and building a supporting river wall to create usable public space that will cost more than $900,000 and be completed in November.

"It's obviously something we need to address anyway," Ward 3 Alderman Todd Bancroft said of dealing with the hole. "At a minimum, having that done and having that better than just on the drawing board I think is terrific."

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