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The St. Charles Active River Project – Paddler Input Will Help Good Things Happen

The St. Charles River Foundation – a civic organization separate from the municipality of St. Charles – is working on a broad-based effort centered on the Fox River as an economic development tool for the city – see http://stcrivercorridor.org/

This economic development effort is centered on transforming the riverfront into a destination that will draw outdoor enthusiasts – and the general public – to the Fox River in St. Charles. The Task Force formed by the Foundation is well aware of the possibility of building a paddling venue – having studied and visited dam reconstruction efforts in other communities. But their goal is to build an active river corridor – see http://stcrivercorridor.org/initiatives/active-river/ – The Active River Project could incorporate improvement to existing bicycle and pedestrian trails, a water park, floating gardens for improved water quality, and of particular interest to the paddler would be a whitewater course. The goal is to incorporate paddler-friendly features that might offer a spectrum of paddling opportunities ranging from a rafting/tubing venue for the general public, to a world-class whitewater play feature that would draw not only accomplished paddlers, but also spectators to the St. Charles community.

This could be accomplished by possible removal of a lethal dam downtown and building a new dam approximately 1/4 mile upstream. Preliminary discussions suggest that the river could then support multiple channels with varying degrees of difficulty for the novice to advanced paddler. Moving the dam upstream would also do away with the very difficult present dam portage, which requires walking on city sidewalks and crossing Hwy 64 (a very busy road).

The upstream pool would be retained to ensure sufficient water depth for all stakeholders not wanting to see the dam pool disappear, e.g. the local rowing club, marathon canoe racers, operators of the Pottawatomie Park paddle wheel boat, power boaters/water skiers, and local homeowners.

Public Input meetings will be held in the near future, and realizing any paddling amenities will depend on local and regional paddlers attending these meetings to express their viewpoints and desires.

The link below is to a video explaining the project. Take a look and then when announced come on out and let St Charles know that paddlers support the project.


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