Autumn is upon us and I think the weather is about to change!

Typically summer is the time when city staff implements many of the projects we budgeted and planned for - and for the most part that held true this year. COVID related shortages and pricing issues caused the street improvements to be postponed until next year, but other areas kept busy.

Here's what's been going on - Let's go.

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Click on the topics below to view each article.

McDonald’s - As you have probably heard, the owners of the Crestwood McDonald’s plan to tear down the existing building and replace it with a new building that will be located closer to the street and have improved drive-thru flow. They received all of the various city approvals during Q3 of this year, but later requested a time extension for starting the work. I believe they are now targeting Q1/Q2 of 2022.

Taco Bell has plans to renovate the old Jack in the Box and open a new site at that location. They received their preliminary approvals from the city and are working on final site plan changes. They intend to reuse the building and drive-thru facilities, with mostly cosmetic updates to make it look more like a Taco Bell and less like a Jack in the Box. They stated that they intend to open by the end of 2021, but I think it may take a little longer than that. In any case, it will be great to have another fast-food option in Crestwood soon.

Malone’s Bar and Grill closed earlier this year, but Tami’s Dugout quickly opened in the same space. I have not yet visited, but I’m told that it has a simple menu with good food and is a great place to watch a game with friends.

During the winter and spring of 2021, city staff worked to gather bids for the relocation of the Joseph Sappington House to be placed behind the existing Thomas Sappington House. After multiple attempts to gather bids, only one bidder (Antique Logs Unlimited) responded and the total costs for the project far exceeded earlier projections (over $500K).

The Sappington House Foundation continued to work towards this goal and was able to negotiate better terms with the owner and the contractor. An agreement between the Sappington Foundation and the city was approved by the Board of Alderman. It limits the city’s contribution towards this move to $125,000 and ensures that it will be completed by November 2022. The Sappington Foundation will be responsible for raising the remaining funds and coordinating with the contractor to have the home deconstructed, stored, and rebuilt at the Sappington Park.

During the process any damaged or rotted materials will be replaced, and the result will be a “new” log cabin built on a full basement and a new front porch. This building will also address planned updates to the park, providing event space, entertainment venue, and storage in the basement. The building will be removed from its current site this fall and is planned to be rebuilt next summer/fall.

At the July Board of Alderman meeting, the mayor stated that residents had approached him about making the Vauk service entrance a permanent public entrance to Whitecliff. I stated that I could not support this idea and proposed that the city survey the residents in the area before proceeding – which was done. Approximately 300 surveys were hand delivered to homes in the immediate area and about 100 were returned. The result was 85% No and 15% Yes. Given the overwhelming “no” sentiment, the mayor and city staff agreed that this would not proceed, the service road will continue to be blocked by the yellow poles, and any future updates to the city’s comprehensive plan should remove references to making this a public entrance.

As was noted previously, this service road will be opened as the official entrance on a temporary basis when the bridge over Gravois Creek is replaced in the future (2022 or 2023). At that time, temporary stop lights will manage the two-way traffic on this one-lane road.

Normally each year the city allocates $25-30K for sidewalk repairs. However, last year with COVID related budget issues this didn’t happen. This year the city will be spending $75K to get back on track. This includes updates to sidewalk issues throughout the city, including the following streets in Ward 3: Buxton, Clydesdale, Cordoba Lane, Ewers, and Queenston. The city-wide list of streets and addresses can be viewed HERE.

Negotiations and planning work has continued between the city and Dierbergs/McBride. There are still five types of approvals needed, but those are nearing the finish line. I expect those approvals during Q4 of this year (if everything continues moving forward).

One of those steps will involve approvals of the site plans for the commercial and residential areas. Dierbergs/McBride met with the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) for preliminary discussions, where they presented the plans. There will likely be a special P&Z meeting to review the plans in detail and vote on approvals.

The preliminary plans include 81 new homes, a new path and bridge to Grants Trail, a public gathering space, Watson Road improvements, and lots of new commercial space – including (of course) a new Dierbergs store. The residential and commercial will both be implemented simultaneously, but the commercial will take longer and will be built in phases. Phase 1 will include Dierbergs and attached spaces for retail/restaurant. Phase 2 will include additional retail/restaurant spaces and the public gathering space with a water feature. Phase 3 will include the remaining retail along Watson. It’s my understanding that site work may begin next spring (pending all of the approvals and such).

The community center at Whitecliff was built in 1978 but has seen minimal reinvestment/updates since then. There are many deferred maintenance issues including mechanical systems, electrical, roofing, and things we can’t see. Parks staff started working to gather pricing and determine what will be involved to address everything. As staff learned during the flooding at city hall, there are often many “hidden” issues that come out during renovations, so they had multiple architects walk the building to provide advice. Surprisingly, they all said that given the amount of work needed, it will likely be cheaper to tear down most of the building and start over. Wow.

If you have ever walked around our parks, you probably also noticed plenty of additional maintenance items needed and improvements that would make them even better. The Community Center is an important part of Crestwood and these updates/repairs will be very expensive. So city staff is investigating their options – update the existing building or build new (keeping the gym). In addition, they will review the existing master plans for all our parks and develop a comprehensive recommendation on what is the best path forward. As part of that research, they will hold public meetings to gather resident thoughts and feedback.

Depending on the results of those studies, there could be a sizable cost that is outside of the city’s available budget. This could mean adding a bond issue to the ballot and see if residents agree with the plan and would be willing to fund the updates via a property tax levy. It's still early in this multi-year process, so we’ll see where it goes.

If you missed any of the previous newsletters, you can find a link to all of them here.