ST. CHARLES – Following years of discussion, aldermen on Monday unanimously voted to purchase the former Manor Restaurant site in downtown St. Charles for $1 million in order to expand the 1st Street East Plaza.
Fifth Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis along with other aldermen expressed enthusiasm for the project.
"This green space sitting on that prime corner in St. Charles will be appreciated by the residents for years to come," Lewis said.
As City Administrator Mark Koenen told aldermen, the expansion of the 1st Street East Plaza project is being funded in part with the financial support from Exelon, which is providing $600,000 toward the project.
The purchase of the property brings the First Street redevelopment project closer to completion.
"It's the last piece of First Street property to be developed along the Fox River," he said.
The property, known as One West Main Street, is located at the southeast corner of Main Street and South 1st Street. Koenen said construction of phase one of the 1st Street East Plaza project is "generally in final form."
Acquisition of the One West Main Street property will allow for expansion of the plaza northward to Main Street and is referred to as phase two of the project, Koenen said. Discussion of the city acquiring the property date back to when Sue Klinkhamer served as the city's mayor. She served two terms as mayor until 2005.
Koenen said The St Charles Initiative, a fund with the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, continues to seek partners for the 1st Street Plaza project. Those who are interested can go to communityfoundationfrv.org/profile/1st-street-east-plaza-fund
By this spring, a six-foot-tall sculpture spelling out the phrase "Be You" could be the featured artwork in the new plaza. Aldermen on the St. Charles City Council's Government Operations Committee in December unanimously voted to move forward with the concept.
The sculpture, which will be made of recycled plastic, will be placed in the plaza. Representatives from the St. Charles Business Alliance talked to aldermen about plans for the sculpture. The Alliance has already received support from the St. Charles Arts Council for the sculpture.
The Alliance has been working with Chicago-based artist Matthew Hoffman, an artist known for positive/inspirational art installations.