Portion of First Street in downtown St. Charles now closed to embrace outdoor dining; Walnut Avenue to follow

Portions of First Street and Walnut Avenue in downtown St. Charles will be closed to vehicles to help accommodate additional outdoor dining.

St. Charles officials created the program last year as a way to help restaurants comply with the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plan.

A section of First Street from Route 64/Main Street to the entrance of the five-story parking deck closed April 1.

Picnic tables and chairs were placed in the closed section of First Street, as well as in the plaza space east of First Street. Access to the First Street parking deck is available.

A section of Walnut Avenue along the length of the Flagship on the Fox restaurant will close beginning April 15.

The closures are expected to remain in place through the fall.

“St. Charles is a dining destination in the western suburbs,” St. Charles Economic Development Planner Ciara Miller said in a news release from the city. “After the success of the outdoor dining program in 2020, we are optimistic that these temporary street closures will continue to attract residents and visitors to our local restaurants and shops.”

As part of this year’s program, new rules are being put in place regarding amplified music. The rules are in response to several noise complaints.

In January, aldermen decided that no amplified sound will be permitted in temporary outdoor dining areas on private property. Only acoustic live music is permitted, unless a special event permit has been secured to include amplified sound/live entertainment.

Similarly, aldermen also approved rules for outdoor dining on public property. As part of the new rules, with the exception of the First Street plazas, no amplified sound is permitted in temporary outdoor dining areas on public property without a special event permit.

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.