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  • Writer's pictureeileenkanute


On November 14, 2022, the Citizens for Responsible Development invited Gary Swick, President of Friends of the Fox River (shown in the photo below), to speak at the meeting of the Planning and Development Committee in the St. Charles City Hall Chamber as a voice for the Fox River, and we were fortunate to hear his thoughts on the river and our sacred riverfront property.

For those of us who were there, we heard an eloquent, impassioned defense of the Fox River, its history, and its value to our community. “St. Charles does not own the Fox River,” he remarked. “The riverfront should be available for the entire community and its visitors to directly connect to the river. It should feature green spaces that provide ecosystem services. It should not be dominated by private enterprises excluding the majority of the community, and it should not be dominated by impervious pavement and roof tops.”

The Frontier Development proposal for the old police stations site does not feature green spaces that provide ecosystem services – Frontier Development did not even take that into consideration. The Frontier Development proposal also irresponsibly walls off the adjacent neighborhood from the river and privatizes the riverfront, which is just not right. And clearly the renderings of the Frontier Development proposal depict an 85,000 square foot concrete slab at our riverfront, precisely the “impervious pavement” that Mr. Swick cautions against.

It was an honor to have Mr. Swick on the side of the Citizens for Responsible Development. We value his insight and we believe the city council and our mayor should heed his advice. Instead, Mayor Vitek and Curt Hurst are on the wrong side of this issue. Instead of honoring the Fox River, rejecting the Frontier proposal and starting over, which is what the citizens of St. Charles want, they continue to keep that concept in play, which is destructive to the riverfront and bad for our town. The opposition to that proposal could not be more clear and Mayor Vitek should stop ignoring that.

Bottom line: Mayor Vitek should remove the Frontier Development proposal from consideration. Right now. That should have been done long ago when public opposition became clear. The Frontier Development proposal, with its hotel, restaurants, events center, traffic, congestion, pavement, and commercial space, will inevitably destroy that valuable riverfront land and dishonor our beloved Fox River. “You can build a restaurant nearly anywhere, but you can only provide river access on the riverfront.” So true. Those were Mr. Swick’s words, and the mayor should take them to heart, because Frontier Development certainly will not.

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