A few weeks ago, myself along with Mayor Guiccione of Wentzville and Mayor Zucker of Dardenne Prairie gave a "State of the City" update on each of our respective cities to the Western St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce. Here are some of the highlights for the City of Lake Saint Louis:
We all know COVID hit pretty much everyone hard in mid March - the City Hall building was closed to the public from April through July although business was conducted from emails, online requests, and phone calls. City Hall is open, but meetings with the public are held in conference rooms or the Board room with social distancing and masks required. We are still holding all of our Board meetings virtual via Zoom, and assess this decision monthly based on the County's COVID rates.
Some good financial news since many businesses were shut down from mid March until sometime in May - Sales Tax Revenue was $5.3M in FY20 compared to $5.2M in FY19 and $5.1M in FY18. Currently FY21 is surpassing FY20 - I guess when there is not much to do, shopping, grocery shopping to prepare meals at home, and home improvement projects are a way to pass the time!
No one will be surprised with this info when you see how quickly homes in your neighborhoods are selling - 207 new single homes at a cost of $173M in CY20 compared to 170 new homes in CY19 - one of our largest new home sales in years. Speaking of new homes, we currently have four subdivisions under construction in the City- McBride's Wyndstone off Duello, McBride and Benton Homes Mill Creek off LSL Blvd., Renaissance Living's Creekside Landing off Technology, and our newest Fisher & Frichtel and Consort Homes Windsor Park off Freymuth Drive. For those who often ask - none are in the LSLCA, as about 45% of the City is not, with eventually it being 50/50 - very important that the City meets all residents needs, which we are trying to do with our City parks, and partnership with the Meadows.
Some great news from our Parks Department in 2021 - the City will spend around $300K on some really neat new playground equipment for Boulevard Park, replacing 21 year old equipment which does not meet today's ADA requirements, and replacement parts difficult to find. Pictures are available on our City website under Parks as well as our Facebook page. In addition, the parking lot and walking trails will be repaired. Work will begin in March, and complete sometime in May.>The City now has a grand opening date for our 5th and newest park - Deer Ridge, accessed through the Wyndstone subdivision off Duello Road - Thursday, April 1st. A time has not been set, but most likely between 3-4 pm. The restrooms at the trailhead will be open by then also. The park has hiking trails totalling two and a half miles of paths along the creeks, through the woods, and up on the ridge with fantastic views. My husband, pup, and I hiked a trail late one afternoon and saw a beautiful sunset up on the ridge. We only wished we had more daylight to hike the entire loop.
Let's talk about our newest Police Officer - Zeke! He is a handsome black German Shepherd, our first K-9 unit who will join the LSLPD in March. We hope to have some type of open house in the future for everyone to meet this sharp fellow.
After several open houses and meetings from over 2 years ago on the Comprehensive Plan, to the present with meetings on our updated zoning districts and code changes, the Board of Aldermen approved the new zoning codes. This was achieved through many beneficial meetings with residents and our business partners. Thanks to everyone who had input!
We do have a couple of new commercial developments - South Ridge Shoppes with 16 acres shared with the city of O'Fallon off old Hwy N (behind Aldi's). Our first urgent care in LSL is open there - Total Access Urgent Care (TAUC). So nice to not have to travel to another city for urgent care now.
Another new development set to open next fall is the Dierbergs Center located on Ronald Reagan Drive next to Lowe's. The next metro Dierbergs grocery store will open with other businesses in the center as well as some outlots for possibly a new restaurant. Dierbergs plans to open later this year before the holidays - late October or early November. They join our other grocery options like Aldi's, Schnucks, and Walmart - why leave Lake Saint Louis to shop?
The City will also have a few new road projects, one being major. You either love them or hate them, but roundabouts do improve traffic flow, especially after everyone becomes familiar with the setup. The new roundabout at LSL Blvd. and the south Outer Road (Veterans Memorial Parkway by Hardees) will begin construction this spring. Please see the City's website and Facebook page for more details on the traffic flow. This solution was much better than the original MODOT plan where we would lose businesses from the bank to part of Denny's for a very long on ramp to I-70.
Another large project this summer will be LSL Blvd. Phase 3 from Newport Terrace to the spillway bridge. The entire surface will be repaved and the hill at Rue de Paix will be slightly reduced to improve the line of sight. Also another project this year will be a new overlay to pavements at Shoppes of Hawk Ridge. Later this year will be the final construction of Old Hwy N to Sommers Road with a stoplight at Sommers (this will provide another access to the South Ridge Shoppes). In 2023, sidewalks in the "uptown" areas of LSL Blvd. are planned to be constructed. Future projects with no exact date are repaving and redo of LSL Blvd. from I-64 to Hwy. N, and upgrades to Orf Road.
Despite 2020 being such a negative year in so many ways, the City of Lake Saint Louis has come out of it very well and much better than originally anticipated. As we all look ahead to a brighter 2021, I hope all of you remain healthy and have a prosperous year.
Mayor Kathy Schweikert