St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina now has a tremendous opportunity to shape the city’s future.
Rogina, elected in April, will be looking for people to fill three significant roles in St. Charles – the city administrator position and the Economic Development Department’s director and coordinator positions, posts that have been held most recently by Brian Townsend, Chris Aiston and Michael Mertes, respectively.
The mayor and his new team will have some key areas to tackle in the city, and there’s reason to expect the mayor should be able to bring in the best of the best, considering that Townsend earned about $217,000 annually, which included a $600 monthly vehicle allowance and health insurance.
Among the issues we’ll expect the team to address:
• Charlestowne Mall – During the election, Rogina said he was “not going to give up on the mall” and said, “I don’t think it’s a debacle, but yes, it’s in a distressed state.” There are many vacancies at the mall, and it’s time to generate some positive news in that area.
• The future of First Street – There have been seven extensions granted on expiring construction deadlines, the latest of which is to expire Aug. 20. The process has been ongoing for years, and the project has resulted in some positive developments, but the final phase is incomplete. The area along the Fox River is appealing, and it’s time to move forward on this project.
• Attracting businesses to the city – St. Charles is an attractive, business-viable city, and there are opportunities to enhance commerce in the city’s downtown area, on the east side and on and around Randall Road. Vacancies exist, and residents want to have them filled.
• The downtown bar scene – It’s thriving, but safety has been an issue. Rogina had suggested making a 2 a.m. liquor license a privilege. It’s important to address the dangers of overserving without threatening successful businesses that are bringing people to the city. A big step toward that took place recently, with the recent formation of a liquor commission, and we are eager to see what role it will play.
All of this starts with putting the right people in place.
The future of St. Charles depends on it.