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Our View: A fresh start on First Street

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 11:40 p.m. CDT

The third phase of the long-planned First Street Redevelopment project in St. Charles will have a fresh start.

On Monday, St. Charles aldermen said no to a 10th extension to First Street Development LLC and SMN Development LLC for their parts of the project.

That is an appropriate action. The project began in 2006, and extensions have been granted since 2008. The vision has been there for more than a decade, with the hopes of establishing an area for living, working, dining and shopping. The vision still can come to fruition, but planning must start over.

Much has changed in recent years. The city has new leadership in place. The economy has undergone changes, and what made sense for First Street years ago might not make as much sense now.

Much discussion has taken place, and while it’s unrealistic to expect all residents to agree on the vision, it’s important that the vision is one that is inspiring and solid.

First Street, along the Fox River, is a prime location in St. Charles. First Street LLC has 60 days to come back and try to fulfill its part of the development, City Administrator Mark Koenen said this week.

He said if there was no response, the city would seek out other interested groups. Koenen said the city would be looking for developers.

The project has been underway for a long time, and it’s understandable that officials continued to issue extensions throughout the years. But deadlines on some level should be respected.

A strong project can still be developed, but a re-evaluation is needed. That can be a positive thing. Excitement exists over the future of the east side of town – with new owners in place for the Charlestowne Mall and Pheasant Run Resort.

The future of the downtown area can generate excitement, too.

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