Why St. Charles?
Though some of our board members are residents of St. Charles we did not incubate this idea without research relative to the right location for a facility. Our studies looked at economic factors, population studies, historical support, baseline community need and existing expertise. St. Charles scored high throughout so we came “home” first, before following interest arising elsewhere.
Economic Factors: Our research showed St. Charles to have the requisite economic health to support an aquatics facility and its capital implementation needs. While the City’s retail gap is large and growing, it has a vibrant food service base and on the east side of town sufficient empty hotel rooms in need of guests. The economic impact of this facility will be measured in millions of dollars every year, and if properly cited in St. Charles the money will stay largely within the borders. The recent investment in transportation infrastructure on Illinois Route 64, Illinois Route 59 and Illinois Route 38 increase access to the east side of the City of St. Charles – showed us the location was right in terms of ease of use and a tendency towards capital investment.
Population Study: We recognize the need for a sufficient population to support the operational costs of an aquatic facility. St. Charles, while undergoing a geographic shift in its population, remains a young vibrant community with schools, services and a park system which draw homeowners with children. It has the advantage not only of its native population but surrounding communities which look towards the City for these items.
Historical Support: This is a two-fold advantage for the city. First, there is a long history of generosity within the town for large projects with obvious benefits for the community at large. Secondly, the populous has supported aquatics for decades and are used to having high level facilities at their disposal, at least in a part year basis.
Baseline community need: While the citizens of St. Charles have seen the benefits of the Park District’s outdoor facilities and take advantage of them in large numbers, the simple truth is that for eight months a year there is no fully public facility available to them. Furthermore, there is a great deal of programming that goes underserved – special needs and rehabilitative services being high among them. There is an overwhelming marketable need for the expansion of services in the Fox River Valley, which St. Charles can lead.
Existing Expertise: Other communities may offer many and more of the above, but the largest contributing factor to the selection of St. Charles for our attention was the existing expertise held by this Park District in the building and running of aquatics facilities. Having pre-existing year round staff well educated in programming, maintenance and management of aquatics facilities lead us to the conclusion that a project of this scope could be completed in twelve to eighteen months less than in other interested communities lacking that baseline knowledge.