St. Charles breaks ground on First Street Plaza expansion project
The long-awaited expansion of the First Street Plaza in downtown St. Charles is moving ahead.
On Wednesday, the city broke ground for the project. Last year, aldermen unanimously voted to purchase the former Manor Restaurant site at the southeast corner of Main and First streets for $1 million to expand the First Street Plaza.
That purchase included a $400,000 donation from the city and a $600,000 donation from Exelon.
"Today we're breaking ground to launch phase one of this project," St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek said.
As part of the project's first phase, a structural wall along the existing Manor wall will be constructed. A plaza would be built as part of the project's second phase.
"As promised, we are ready to start construction on phase one of the project and we'll be ready to start construction on phase two of the project this spring," St. Charles Public Works Director Pete Suhr said. "Our goal is to still complete phase one of the project this year," Suhr said.
The St. Charles Initiative, an independent advisory committee under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, is raising funds for the project. First Street Initiative Chairman John Hoscheit talked about the vision for the project.
"We're going to build a foundation, we're going to fill the hole," he said. "But our committee and I think the city has made it clear that filling the hole isn't going to be enough. We want to not only fill the hole and get the infrastructure built, but we also want to get to the second phase, which is actually building the amenities here, repurposing First Street, putting plantings in and water features and making it a community gathering place that everyone can be proud of."
The project is set to cost about $4 million and the St. Charles Initiative to date has raised about $2.2 million, Hoscheit said.
Phase one of the project is expected to be done in time for the Electric Christmas Parade on Nov. 27.
"I think this first phase will create some excitement," he said.w