St. Charles committee hears First Street Plaza update

Rendering of the First Street Plaza expansion project by Serena Sturm Architects Ltd.

St. Charles city officials updated Government Services Committee members on the construction progress of the First Street Plaza expansion project during their Sept. 25 meeting.

St. Charles assistant director of public works Chris Adesso presented the update and told committee members the project mostly would be completed by the end of the year.

Public works director Peter Suhr gave a similar presentation to Government Operations Committee members at a meeting Sept. 18.

City Council members approved the second phase of funding and construction for the project at a meeting March 20.

The plaza construction at Main and First streets began in May and the project includes the permanent closure of First Street to vehicles from Walnut to Main streets. The closure will accommodate a public walkway with riverwalk access, a solar pergola trellis and public art installations.

Adesso said the underground work on the plaza has been complete since the first week in August. Base concrete layers currently are being laid and people will start to see the top surfaces, vertical elements and landscaping going up in the plaza in the next month.

Alderpersons on Monday will receive an update on the expansion of the First Street Plaza in downtown St. Charles.

The redevelopment of First Street is a collaborative effort between the city and the St. Charles Initiative, an advisory committee of community leaders.

The St. Charles Initiative is accepting donations and offering sponsorship opportunities for residents to help the development by buying naming rights or funding the furnishing elements. Additions made possible by sponsors will be outfitted with plaques that recognize those who donated.

The project’s first phase was completed last spring, which included building a retention wall along the Fox River and filling the space left where the Manor Restaurant had been demolished. Phase one also included site acquisition, design and initial construction at a total cost of $2,042,707.

The second phase – the final phase – will cost $4,384,041. This includes construction, management, furnishings and landscaping until the project is complete.

“There are certainly going to be some components that aren’t there,” Adesso said, “But we’re hoping to have the majority up and open for holiday celebrations.”

Adesso said some of the electronic, mechanical and aesthetic elements are slightly delayed because of supply chain issues, but the bulk of construction work is moving forward according to the original timeline.