The St. Charles River Corridor Foundation is making a larger imprint on downtown St. Charles and the Fox River.
Initiatives underway include significant landscaping and furnishing additions to the Bob Leonard Walkway, the addition of a signature sculpture along the riverfront and a water quality testing program involving St. Charles East and St. Charles North high school students. Funding for these projects is being provided via grants awarded to the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles by the Grand Victoria Riverboat Fund, the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, the City of St. Charles and the family of Tom and Cris Anderson. In addition, the St. Charles Park District has developed some initial concept plans for Boy Scout Island to improve boater access and to consider methods for re-channeling some of Fox River flow through the lagoon west of the island to potentially reduce siltation build-up and enhance overall downstream water quality.
“It is truly heartwarming to witness the support that the entire Active River Project is receiving from the St. Charles community,” said John Rabchuk, President of the River Corridor Foundation. “These grants and donations are allowing us to facilitate a continuous series of river and riverfront enhancements that were envisioned in the Active River Project concept plan, while we continue to work on the larger capital improvement projects that require significant engineering, design and permitting efforts. The landscape plan for the Bob Leonard Walkway will include additional trees, vegetation, benches, trash receptacles and the identification of locations for future sculpture additions. However, the most visible addition to the riverfront is the donation from Tom and Cris Anderson of a kinetic sculpture which will be located on the western bank of the river at the dead-end of State Street,” said Rabchuk. Individuals interested in contributing to this project by funding memorial benches or trees should contact the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles at www.stcrivercorridor.org for additional information.
In addition, the River Corridor Foundation has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the St. Charles Park District and the City of St. Charles to initiate a major engineering study which will prove/disprove the feasibility of a dam modification in proximity to the UP railroad trestle and a series of pools and rapids from the trestle southward to the Main Street bridge. The ARP concept plan identified a number of recreational enhancements that could be incorporated in this area of the river with the intent of creating additional lifestyle and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors in the downtown area; thus encouraging increased economic activity. The feasibility study will determine if the proposed changes can be incorporated without any changes to the existing river water level north of the trestle. “We hope that this feasibility study will provide us with the proof of concept necessary to begin discussions with the multitude of regulatory agencies that will ultimately be involved in the project, as well as potential governmental and private funding sources,” said Rabchuk. This study should be completed in the spring of 2017.
The St. Charles Active River Task Force (ARP) is a joint effort of the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles (a 501C organization), The St. Charles Park District, the City of St. Charles and the Kane County Forest Preserve.