St. Charles Active River Project
Building Strong Community Support
In the spring of 2014, the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles created the Active River Task Force—consisting of members from the City of St. Charles, the St. Charles Park District, and the Kane County Forest Preserve District—to develop the Active River Project. The first step was to raise the funds needed to hire consultants to study what types of features would work on the Fox River and how much they would cost.
Possibilities being studied for the project include a white water rapids course for kayaking, floating gardens, elevated bicycle trails, and water parks similar to the crown fountain at Millennium Park in Chicago.
The River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles raised the initial funds and commissioned a team of planning, design and market experts led by Hitchcock Design Group (HDG) to engage the community and update the 2002 River Corridor Plan. The intent was to identify potential infrastructure and program changes within and adjacent to the Fox River that may leverage the river as an active community asset, by enhancing the recreational, ecological and economic impact of the river.
The consultant team and the Active River Task Force followed a three stage process, starting with the Opportunity Analysis, which identified the issues and most promising strategies to meet the economic, mobility and appearance objectives for the river corridor based on the characteristics of the existing marketplace, its natural, physical, cultural and financial resources, and the interests of a variety of related stakeholders. This phase included key stakeholder interviews and a public workshop. The community was encouraged to participate in the process and the public workshop.
- Strategy Statement
- Capital Improvements
Next, during the Preferred Strategy phase, the consultant team created consensus on an overall positioning strategy, the most promising private sector business and development opportunities, the most promising public sector improvement opportunities, and preliminary implementation recommendations for public policy, capital and operational improvements. The consultant team worked closely with the Active River Task Force to refine the most promising concepts into a single Framework Plan. Simultaneously a variety of active river concepts were developed as part of the Urban Character Illustrations. This phase also included a Public Open House to showcase the preferred Framework and Urban Character Illustrations, and receive public comment.
Final Vision Plan
In the Final Vision Plan phase, the consultant team detailed the market-supported, tangible and prioritized step-by-step Implementation Actions and documented their recommendations in a Final Report.
On September 22, 2015 the final recommendations were then presented to the Foundation, Park District, and City Boards and Commissions.
Active River Task Force Members
- John Rabchuk, Chairman
- Chris Adesso, Vice Chairman,
City of St. Charles Public Works
- Holly Cabel, St. Charles Park District
- John Wessel, St. Charles Park District
- Bob Carne, St. Charles Park District
- Monica Meyers, Kane County Forest Preserve
- Matt O’Rourke, City of St. Charles Economic Development
- Rick Brems
- Jim Enck
- Tony Zehnder, Communications