Outgoing St. Charles mayor, city administrator talk about city’s accomplishments

While he soon will be stepping down as St. Charles mayor, Ray Rogina plans to continue to have a voice.

“I have been talking for years with a friend of mine about doing a podcast,” Rogina said. “That’s a new way to communicate and it’s my way of probably sneaking into radio without having to apply to a radio station to talk to the public.”

Rogina, who has been St. Charles mayor since 2013, chose not to run for a third term. Fourth Ward Alderman Lora Vitek won the seat after defeating 5th Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis in the April 6 election.

He and outgoing St. Charles City Administrator Mark Koenen spoke in a video message to residents posted on the city’s YouTube channel. Koenen was appointed to the position in September 2013 under Rogina’s leadership.

His roots in the community run deep. Prior to being elected to the City Council, Rogina was a department chair in Business Education and instructor in Law and Economics at St. Charles East High School for 30 years.

“Thank you for your support in allowing me to serve you for decade, first as an alderman and for the last eight years as your mayor, Rogina said in addressing residents.

Koenen started working for St. Charles in 1982 as a civil engineer. Prior to becoming city administrator in 2013, he was St. Charles public works director for 20 years, from September 1993 to August 2013.

He talked what has been achieved since he has been with the city, including traffic improvements.

“When I came to St. Charles, traffic, traffic, traffic was the issue,” Koenen said. “People would say, ‘Oh my gosh, it takes 20 minutes to get through downtown St. Charles.’ We then built the Prairie Street Bridge and the Red Gate Bridge. We’ve done improvements to many other arterial and collector streets in our community, working with Kane County or working with the state of Illinois. Hopefully St. Charles has a better transportation system today than what it had in 1982.”

Koenen also talked about how St. Charles’ downtown has evolved over the years.

“We have a strong entertainment district in downtown St. Charles,” he said. “We are the destination in the Fox Valley for people to come and enjoy themselves and have a great dinner.”

Rogina also talked about the city’s accomplishments, including the relocation of the St. Charles police station. And he said the city’s downtown along with its east and west sides are “ready and primed” for post-COVID business activity.

“The net result would be prosperity in all three of those areas,” he said. “You already see development taking place on the east side and west side. And we know what’s developing in the downtown. And so I’m just very optimistic that our town is going to move, with the proper guidance, to the next level.”

Eric Schelkopf

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