Campaign Priorities

Encourage Entrepreneurial Climate
Create Jobs
Retain Businesses
Fill Empty Storefronts

Add a Multi-Use Space for Residents to Enjoy
Attract Visitors to the Area
Leverage Location on the Fox River

The Plan

Unique Marketplace

The McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes will offer a diverse retail experience from late spring through the end of the year.  In November and December, the shops will transition into a Holiday Market.  Off season, they can host pop-ups during events like our St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Shamrocks the Fox.

Event Venue

The redesigned park, complete with bathrooms, will be able to host a variety of community activities like concerts, festivals, and other events. The open air amphitheater will provide a quality stage for concerts without taking away the beautiful river view.  

Recreation Space

Features of the improved park include a spray pad, turf for playing, and possibly even an ice skating rink.

River Access

Find out why McHenry is “The Heart of the Fox River” with a stroll on the beautiful McHenry Riverwalk.  You can park your boat at one of our public boat slips or launch your kayak at Miller Point.

McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce

Once constructed, the McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes will be fully owned and managed by the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce.  Members of the retail incubator cohort will receive education, guidance, and business support from the Chamber as they begin their entrepreneurial journey.

City of McHenry

Improvements to Miller Point Park, including the bathrooms, proposed amphitheater, spray pad, and turf areas will be maintained by the City of McHenry Parks and Recreation Department.

McHenry Community High School District 156

Students will help with the design and construction of the buildings, as well as assist local professionals for marketing, social media, and other aspects of this project giving them real world experience and allowing them to give back to their community.

McHenry Area Businesses

Local business owners have pledged their support for this project through donations of time, money, labor, and expertise. Several have been active in the planning stages to help mold this project and will serve as mentors for our new shop owners.

Progress

  • April 2021

    Idea Proposed

    After a visit to Batavia Boardwalk Shops, Carl Vallianatos (Asst. Superintendent for MCHS 156 and McHenry Area Chamber Board Member) proposed the idea of a collaborative project to the City of McHenry, Chamber, and the High School.

  • May 2021

    Committee Formed

    A joint committee was formed to plan what would be called the McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes.

  • August 2021

    Site Chosen

    The Riverside Drive location proved to be the best option out of the potential sites for grading, utility access, parking, and visibility.

  • January 2022

    Plans Expanded

    Plans were expanded to include Miller Point Park improvements, including an amphitheater, spray pad, turf space, and redesigned parking lots.

  • April 2022

    Logo Created

    Working with instructors Matt Connor and Vanessa Kirk, the McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes logo was researched and designed by MCHS Graphics students Kaylie Kopsell and Giselle Zavaleta.

  • May 2022

    McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes Building Draft Completed

    The 12×12 and 12×16 buildings that will house the McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes were designed by Jonathan Kuzynowski of Wold Architects and Engineers, MCHS engineering teacher Russell Micklinghoff, and several MCHS engineering students after input from the committee.

  • June 2022

    Construction Begins

    McHenry High School construction students led by teacher Dan Rohman begin work on the walls and ceiling joists of the buildings that will eventually be assembled on site at Miller Point.

  • August 2022

    Vendor Applications Open

    Interested vendors can apply to be part of our inaugural season.

  • December 2022

    Vendors Chosen

    After a thorough process, with help from an impartial jury, our top 10 finalists were notified they would be included in our 2023 season.

  • January 2023

    Workshops Begin

    Our shop owners begin educational workshops and receive strategic support from the McHenry Area Chamber in order to put them in the best position to succeed.

  • April 2023

    Site Development Begins

    Excavation and grading to prepare for the Riverwalk Shoppes, bathrooms, and other features begins at Miller Point Park.

  • May 2023

    Shoppes Constructed on Site

    Over 400 volunteers will participate in some capacity to build the McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes buildings.  16 contractor groups have donated their labor to complete the project in just 3 weeks.