The city of St. Charles recently conducted a survey to gauge opinions about expanding the 1st Street Plaza on the east into the grassy area at the southeast corner of Main and 1st streets.
The 1st Street Plaza Expansion Project represents a public-private partnership hosted by the city of St. Charles, in conjunction with the St. Charles Initiative — an independent advisory committee of community leaders.
The St. Charles Initiative offers a new approach to funding public projects through a combination of government funds and private donations.
To date, city officials say $750,000 in private donations have been received for this project, and the city has committed $1.4 million. Plaza enhancements will proceed as funding/donations are available.
To learn more about supporting the 1st Street Plaza Expansion Project, visit www.stcharlesil.gov/st-charles-initiative
According to a city of St. Charles news release, 988 residents, business owners, and visitors completed the survey and offered more than 1,000 written comments.
Below is a summary of the survey results.
- 14 questions centered around the main features of the plaza design:
- Solar Pergola Trellis
- Public Art piece
- Closure of a portion of 1st Street
- Respondents were asked to rate the three design features from 1-10, with 10 being the highest.
- A chance to provide open-ended comments also was offered.
Survey Results Overview
Solar Pergola/Trellis on the Plaza
The average rating was 8, with 62% rating the feature an 8, 9 or 10.
Comment Themes for the Solar Pergola/Trellis:
- Shaded-Area: In general, respondents commenting were favorable toward the solar pergola and the potential shade it would create.
- Greenery: Commenters appreciated the aesthetics of greenery and the potential shade trees could provide
- Unobstructed Views: Maintaining unobstructed views of the river and downtown is desirable.
Including a Piece of Public Art
The average rating was 7, with 55% rating the feature an 8, 9 or 10.
Comment Themes for the Piece of Public Art
- Static vs. Dynamic: Generally an art piece would be appreciated, with some suggesting a temporary or seasonal art installations.
Closing a Portion of 1st Street to Create a Pedestrian Walkway
The average rating was 9, with 87% rating the feature an 8, 9 or 10.
Comment Themes for Closing 1st Street
- Pedestrian Friendly: The safety and freedom to move between the plaza and downtown establishments was cited as a plus.
- Gathering Place: Creating a community gathering place for outdoor dining, festivals, and farmers markets is valued.
- Light Canopy: Comments reflected that the proposed Light Canopy design feature would be aesthetically pleasing.
Other Comment Themes
- Water Feature: Many of the commenters suggested including some type of water feature.
- Open Space: Maintaining open space for gatherings, and views of the river and downtown is valued.
The design team has reviewed project feedback received from:
- The 1st Street Plaza Expansion Survey
- The St. Charles Initiative
- The Historic Preservation Commission
- The City’s Development Review Team
- Businesses near the plaza
The feedback received is being considered in the design process, which is expected to be complete May 2021.
About the City of St. Charles
The City of St. Charles, Illinois, is guided by the four driving principles in its Mission: Heritage. Community. Service. Opportunity. Located 35 miles west of Chicago, in Kane and northwestern DuPage Counties, St. Charles is home to 33,000 residents and a balanced mix of nearly 2,000 businesses that employ more than 18,000 people. More at www.stcharlesil.gov, and follow the city on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube , and LinkedIn.