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2021 City Highlights

Despite the lingering challenges we faced due to the pandemic, many good things happened in our City this past year. Here are some highlights:   

Community & Economic Development 

  • The revitalized Arcada Theater reopened to welcome visitors for shows and expanded dining and entertainment options in the modernized facility. Renovations continue within the building. 
  • The new Audi Exchange St. Charles opened on Randall Road, with a new signalized intersection at Woodward Drive and Randall Road to be open this winter. 
  • Zen Leaf dispensary relocated and expanded to a new location on East Main Street. 
  • Construction began on the expanded McGrath Honda dealership at the former Pheasant Run Mega Center site. 
  • Construction was completed on a four-story multi-family residential building on the southern end of 1st St., adjacent to Blue Goose, containing 21 residential units. 
  • The Graceful Ordinary restaurant opened in the renovated former BMO Harris Bank building on Main Street along the east side of the river. 
  • Site work and construction began on Munhall Glen, a 50-unit residential neighborhood on Tyler Rd at Munhall Ave. 
  • Construction continued at Prairie Centre, with the completion of two residential buildings and the clubhouse, with the first mixed use building at the site now under construction. 
  • A Request for Conceptual Proposals was issued to solicit development concepts for the downtown riverfront property occupied by the former Police Station. The City will review responses in 2022. 

Human Resources 

  • Executed the recruitment process for the City’s fourth City Administrator. Facilitated the hiring and onboarding of the City Council’s appointment of Heather McGuire as City Administrator. 
  • Negotiated a successor collective bargaining agreement with the sergeants union, utilizing the collaborative interested based bargaining method, saving the City time, money, and enhancing labor relations with the union. 
  • Ensured City staff was updated and compliant with the many changes to federal and state COVID-19 regulations and protocols. 
  • Hosted two on-site vaccine clinics in coordination with the IDPH. 
  • Retained Gold Medallion status from the U.S. Department of Labor for continuing to hire veterans. 
  • Identified creative benefit and health insurance measures for 2022 that provide competitive coverage while instituting cost-sharing measures with other communities. 
  • Initiated job shadow and learning opportunities for high school students/others to expose them to municipal job options.  
  • Executed a compensation study to ensure internal pay equity among the City’s non-union positions and that pay is competitive among the City’s comparable communities.
  • Recruited and onboarded more than 30 new employees, facilitated 16 internal promotions, and coordinated testing and interviews with the Board of Fire & Police Commissioners to establish entry-level and promotional fire and police eligibility lists to ensure that City services are not interrupted as employees retire. 

Information Systems 

  • Completely replaced and modernized the City’s computer network infrastructure. 
  • Migrated the City’s connection to the public switched telephone network to an all-digital system that provides redundancy and continuity of services. 

Public Safety: 


  • The new full-time police K-9 Saint joined the force and began patrolling City streets with his partner, Officer Michael Redmann. 
  • Developed a police comfort dog program to facilitate interactions with students, social worker clients, and the community. The program is expected to launch spring of 2022. 
  • Began using VirTra, a training simulator that lets officers train in real-life scenarios using an interactive video screen. We are one of only a host of Chicagoland police departments that deploy this training. 
  • Retained national accreditation by the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation (CALEA), remaining an Illinois flagship agency since 1989. 


  • When school assemblies were halted, developed a series of fire safety education videos that schools can use in their classrooms or when e-learning remotely. 
  • Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, firefighters/paramedics remained healthy and continued to serve the community with emergency services. 

Public Works 

  • Continued to provide all core services to our residents and businesses without having to modify, reduce, skip, or cancel any of those services throughout the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • Phase 1 of 7th Avenue Creek’s flood reduction project was completed, removing 29 homes from the FEMA floodplain. 
  • Phase 1 of the 1st Street Plaza Expansion Project has begun setting the stage for the completion of the project in 2022.  
  • A new roof was added to the Public Works west side salt dome. 
  • Construction began on a major expansion to the West Side Treatment Plant. 
  • Deep Water Well #3, which is located next to the Municipal Building and is over 1,000 feet in the ground, was pulled for maintenance and restored. 
  • Street Lights continued to be replaced with energy efficient and low maintenance LED light fixtures. 
  • Applied for and received several grants totaling more than $4.2 million dollars to help fund construction (in 2022) of the Kautz Road widening project with the City of Geneva. 
updated Dec 17, 2021