07 Jul

Congratulations St. Charles! We are #1!!

This week, Family Circle magazine announced the results of its exclusive survey which named St. Charles #1 in its Annual Survey of Best Towns and Cities for families. The comprehensive survey included communities from across the country and is featured in the magazine’s August 2011 issue, which hit newsstands Wednesday. You can read the full article here. For a press release regarding the recognition that includes comments from local leaders, please click here.

The City of St. Charles was contacted several months ago by a representative of Family Circle. Financial information regarding the community was requested. The representative also requested information regarding a local family that could be contacted about the “St. Charles experience.” Mike and Monica Corbett graciously agreed to assist the city and talk about what attracted them to St. Charles, their experience living here, and why they love St. Charles. The Corbetts are a wonderful family and their contributions clearly helped St. Charles secure the top ranking.

It is so great to hear the community’s response to this recognition. It seems that it has given people a reason to express pride in their community. That is a good thing, becuase we have much to be proud of.

At the City’s appreciation dinner in 2007, I made some remarks about the things that I believe make St. Charles a great city. The same remarks hold true today, so I’m going to share them with you. I hope that you enjoy!


“As I work and live in St. Charles, I hear a lot of comments about our community. Too much traffic. Too many vacant stores. Too many banks. Too many bars. Too many taxes. I think I even heard one person tell me that the river was too wet.

Some people try to be more positive. They ask why St. Charles can’t be more like some other community. That sounds like envy and Harold Coffin said, “envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.”

So let me tell you what I see in St. Charles. We have:

  • Great neighborhoods where people can raise their children
  • More hotels than most communities in the western suburbs, including Pheasant Run
  • More car dealers than any other community in the mid-valley area
  • An award winning downtown ranked in the top 10
  • Great schools and parks
  • And let’s not forget the Q Center – there are only a few communities who can lay claim to a facility of this caliber

We have a great community. A community that I just don’t work in or work for, but have chosen to live in and where I raise my family.

And a huge part of what makes our community so great is the services that we all provide. We have great employees who work hard….day and night.

We have volunteers who take time away from their families on evenings and weekends to help out.

And while we all appreciate recognition from our customers, whether it be residents or businesses, we don’t crave it. In our line of work, great service is more often recognized with silence than with fanfare.

Our employees and volunteers are satisfied with going about their work in a dedicated, yet matter-of-fact kind of way. In some ways, we’re like parents on Christmas morning. Kids think that the gifts arrived in some magical way, but the parents know that there’s so much more that happens behind the scenes to create those special moments.

This year, there have been challenges. We’ve had to cope with a declining economy and a downturn in housing. We’ve lived with skyrocketing fuel and insurance costs. We survived a significant power outage in May and record thunderstorms and flooding in August. And we’ve handled the departure of fellow employees – whether it is to pursue other opportunities or to retire to warmer climates. We’ve also coped with the untimely and tragic passing of 3 of our colleagues.

And, we have continued to provide services to the community….keeping the water flowing and toilets flushing, maintaining a safe and secure environment, making the community more attractive, and making sure the needs of our residents are met.

These are all services that are appreciated by many, even though we may not hear it often.

So for those that choose to dwell on what we are not, I say “thanks for caring.” And to those of you who are in this room tonight, I say “Thank you for sharing”…..your time, your hard work, your commitment, and most importantly your love for St. Charles.”