I live in affluent, prosperous St Charles

by , posted on Saturday, July 17th, 2010 at 7:15 am

I’m well aware that people from throughout the area tend to view St Charles, and the Tri-Cities (Batavia, Geneva, St Charles) in general, as affluent and prosperous. And so they are, in general and comparatively to Elgin and Aurora, to our north and south, and to the more rural communities to our west, where the city services and infrastructure are not so built-up.

But it makes it rather difficult to try to convince anyone not from here that not everyone living here is rich or at least upper-middle-class. What’s become more obvious to me lately is that it’s difficult to convince those who live here – and who are upper-middle-class or rich – that there is much a problem in our economy or at least much of a problem for their neighbors. Well, much of a problem beyond the sorry performance of their stock portfolios.

But there kinda is. I happen to work in a venue, the local public library, where I encounter the newly desperate every day. I check out stacks of books for patrons now about how to find a job in a down economy, how to deal with your foreclosure, how to file bankruptcy, how to handle bill collectors, and even how to raise chickens in your yard. A lot of these volumes were gathering dust on our shelves a few years ago, and now I’ve noticed that we are beefing up our collection of such items – we have very good selectors and they don’t miss what subjects are in high demand.

I still spend a lot of time with patrons, however, who are off on their annual European vacation, or looking for research on what kind of luxury car to buy, etc. I suspect remaining relatively untouched by our current economy tends to give others a view that everthing is pretty much okay here in affluent, prosperous St Charles, or at least that the crisis has passed.

Well, it’s not, and it hasn’t. As this article in the Kane County Chronicle points out, things are getting worse, not better here in St Charles, and throughout the Fox Valley and surrounding areas.

This month, foreclosed real estate tracking company RealtyTrac reported that the number of homes against which foreclosure documents had been filed increased by 88 percent in the second quarter of this year in the Tri-Cities and other communities in central and western Kane County.

South Elgin – just to the north of St Charles and a community which before the real estate bubble burst was experiencing rapid growth, posted the highest increase in foreclosures. But…

St. Charles’ 60174 ZIP code logged the next highest number of foreclosures during the second quarter, with 116, up from 56 a year ago.

The crisis isn’t over, it’s getting worse. Much worse.


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