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St. Charles mayor proud for city standing strong during COVID-19 pandemic

St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina and 1st Ward Alderman Dan Stellato gave a City Update to Chamber members

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina is proud of the city's efforts in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"For the most part, the city still stands tall," said Rogina, in presenting an overview of what is happening in the city during Tuesday's St. Charles Chamber Legislative Committee luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn in St. Charles. "It's been a rough time, but I think we'll get through this together."

Joining him in the presentation was 1st Ward Alderman Dan Stellato. Because COVID-19 restrictions put a limit on the number of people that could attend the luncheon, members could also watch the presentation virtually.

This was Rogina's last City Update. He recently announced that he will not run in April for a third term as St. Charles mayor in the April 2021 consolidated election. Rogina was elected mayor in 2013, after serving as 3rd Ward alderman from 2011-2013.

Stellato lauded Rogina's dedication to the city.

"He truly is one of the best and truly cares," he said. "He's going to be tough to replace."

As part of the presentation, they talked about plans moving ahead for the redevelopment of the former Pheasant Run Mega Center. The St. Charles City Council recently approved a $5.2 million incentive so McGrath Honda of St. Charles can expand and relocate to the site.

Pheasant Run Resort closed its doors March 1 following a failed attempt to auction off the resort. It had first opened in February 1963 and was annexed by the city in 1965.

The final bid to purchase the resort was $6 million, which did not meet the minimum selling price established by the seller. The auction did not include the sale of the Mega Center or a 18-hole golf course.

Florida-based St. Charles Resort, LLC wants to divide the 46.13 acres located at the southeast corner of Route 64 and Kautz Road into three commercial lots. The Mega Center and the adjacent parking field comprise lot one and lot two consists of the former resort buildings.

"The good news is there is activity," Stellato said.

Rogina noted the city's east side is bustling with development plans, including that Airhart Construction is proposing to build 51 single-family houses on 15 acres west of South Tyler Road at Munhall Avenue. In addition, plans are to build a gas station, convenience store and car wash on a 2.37 acre parcel known as the Regole family homestead located at the southeast corner of Kirk Road and East Main Street.

The property is currently located in unincorporated Kane County, but the developer wants to annex to St. Charles. Warrenville-based CIMA Developers, LP has submitted plans to develop the property for a eight pump Pride gas station. The plans also include the construction of a 4,500-square-foot convenience store with a quick-serve restaurant inside (Taco Urbano) as well as an automatic car wash.

Another project calls for 37 single-family homes and 23 attached single family buildings containing 92 townhouse units to be built on 28.54 acres of vacant land northeast of Charlestowne Mall and south of Foxfield Road.

But there also are development opportunities in downtown St. Charles. That includes the development of the former police station site along the Fox River.

"We're trying to figure out what to do with it," Stellato said.

Rogina said he would also like to see work get started on the development of the former Manor Restaurant site in downtown St. Charles. In January, aldermen voted to purchase the site for $1 million in order to expand the 1st Street East Plaza.

"I think it's safe to say the City Council and the mayor have generally agreed that our responsibility now is to fill that hole," he said.

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.

On the city's west side, plans are moving forward for a long awaited Audi dealership. Semersky Enterprises, Inc., which owns and operates the Audi Exchange and Porsche Exchange in Highland Park and the Chevrolet Exchange in Lake Bluff, proposes to develop a 25,600+ sq. foot Audi dealership and service facility on a 3.38 acre site at 235 N. Randall Road.

"We've been talking about it for years," Stellato said. "I saw the plans and they look good."

At the same time, Rogina is disappointed that the redevelopment of the Charlestowne Mall on the city's east side has not moved forward.

"It's been sitting there like a beached whale now for a while," Rogina said.

In December 2017, Krausz Companies Inc. – owner of the mall, which it renamed The Quad – closed the interior shops and enclosed mall space at the center. Anchors Von Mauer and Classic Cinemas remain in the mall.

"We've been told by a local developer that COVID has brought them to a stand still," he said.

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