Q4 Newsletter 2021


2021 was a big year for Crestwood and lots of positive changes happened.

The city hired a new Police Chief, implemented police body and in-car cameras, and the Police Department completed a multi-year effort to earn accreditation. In addition, the city partnered with Sunset Hills to combine our 911 answering positions, saving significant costs each year, and enabling officer pay increases.

Renovations and a new ADA compliant entrance at City Hall were completed, and we resumed in-person meetings in an updated and modernized setting. A new boardwalk and fishing plaza were installed at the Whitecliff Quarry (currently awaiting final inspections). A new wood floor was installed in the Community Center gym.

Most significantly, site plans and a new redevelopment agreement were approved with Dierbergs / McBride and that site finally has a SOLID future.

Next year has a full agenda with more challenging projects. Our city is definitely alive and active and I’m excited about all of the things in our future!

As a reminder, I will continue to add more posts to the website, as events occur and information is available. So be sure to visit shipleyward3.org, or better yet, subscribe to receive weekly/ monthly updates via e-mail.

Click on the topics below to view each article.

Per the 2020 census data released earlier this year, Crestwood grew to a population of 12,404 compared to 11,865 in 2010. Crestwood is the 17th largest city in St. Louis County and the 65th largest in the state.

Per the city charter, after each 10-year census, a Redistricting Committee is formed to review the ward boundaries and recommend changes to the Board of Alderman. Earlier this year one resident from each ward was selected to serve on this committee, along with the Director of Public Services, the City Clerk, and the City Administrator (7 total members).

The Redistricting Committee met several times during the summer and fall to review the goals and duties of redistricting. One of their primary goals was to balance the number of residents in each ward as much as possible. This balancing act is not as easy as you would think.

The census data is divided into “Census Blocks” which are smaller contiguous areas within each ward. A Census Block cannot be subdivided, so the committee was somewhat limited on how ward boundaries would be determined. It is for this reason that ward boundaries create situations where homes on different sides of the same street can be in different wards.

With the new 2020 population of 12,406, the target population for each ward would be approximately 3,101. The 2010 defined wards have 2020 population totals of:

Ward 1: 3,123 (22 above target)
Ward 2: 3,036 (65 below target)
Ward 3: 3,229 (128 above target)
Ward 4: 3,016 (85 below target)
(target average ward size is 3,101)

The committee also reviewed the 2010 ward boundaries and identified some of the unusual areas, such as how Buxton traverses three (3) different wards and an odd-shaped part of ward 4 was pulled into ward 2 along Manda and Sturdy. Again – the 2010 redistricting committee had the same “census block” restrictions, so they probably had to make some hard decisions to make populations balance as much as possible.

After reviewing multiple options, a recommendation was made to the Board of Alderman and that recommendation was approved and is now in effect.

Impact to Ward 3 boundaries can be viewed HERE

There has been a false rumor floating around that the Dierbergs development was cancelled. Not true! Everything is moving forward as planned. I stand by my (totally unofficial) estimate that we'll start to see bulldozers pushing dirt next spring.

At a special meeting on November 16, the Board of Alderman unanimously approved the Redevelopment Agreement with Dierbergs for Crestwood Crossing (the former mall site), replacing the former redevelopment agreement with Urban Street. This new robust and lengthy agreement details all of the conditions that Dierbergs must follow to receive the TIF and CID tax incentive reimbursements. Some of those conditions are described below.

It’s worth noting that the McBride residential portion of the development is not addressed within this redevelopment agreement, as that they will not participate in the TIF nor CID sales tax incentives. Although the 2016 TIF agreement that Dierbergs will use covers the entire 47 acres of the site, there will be no sales taxes generated in the residential portion, so it doesn’t really apply to that part of the site. To ensure there is no confusion on this point, an amendment to the TIF agreement will occur after Dierbergs completes the remaining steps to begin construction.

Project Timeline – Dierbergs is still working to get approvals from the State, the County, and MSD. It is expected that once those occur, Dierbergs will close on the sale of the site from Urban Street (probably early next year). At that point Dierbergs will provide the city with their Letter of Intent to Proceed and the timeline clock will start.

Phase IA of the project will address ALL of the prep work for the site, including soil remediation, site grading, utility lines, installing and paving all of the primary streets. [McBride also plans to participate in site prep and street paving during this phase].

After that significant work is completed, then construction of buildings can begin. The Dierbergs grocery store and “attached” retail/restaurants will be completed during this phase.

A connector path and bridge over Gravois Creek (next to Watson Industrial Park) will also be completed in this phase. Details have not been decided, but they are expecting to spend around $350,000 on this connector.

Dierbergs previously stated that they hope to have a grand opening of the new Dierbergs in 2023. The Redevelopment Agreement states that this must happen within 24 months after the Letter of Intent to Proceed.

Phase IB includes the construction of the biggest Gathering Space of the site. The designs of this are still conceptual but will include at least 10,000 sf of restaurant space and another 12,000 sf of plaza space with a water feature. The final design and layout of this gathering space will depend on the tenants selected but will be in the same spirit as the plaza in downtown Kirkwood. The redevelopment agreement states,

“such restaurant shall be of a full service, sit down variety that offers a full menu of food and beverage options in an innovative, unique, destination and/or compelling setting that includes dedicated exterior patio space”

This must be completed within 32 months after the Letter of Intent to Proceed (8 months after the deadline for Phase IA).

The remaining phases (IIA, IIB, and III) consist of the remaining portions of the site and will include additional sit down restaurants, drive through restaurants, small retail, and service oriented businesses.

Watson Road Improvements – Dierbergs will provide up to $625,000 to the city to help pay for beautification improvements to Watson Road, including planters and decorative street lighting of similar design to those on Olive Blvd just east of I-270. This will be completed in conjunction with planned repaving improvements planned by MoDOT in 2024/2025.

The 2021 budget had planned to spend more funds than received to accomplish some large projects. Instead, the city is projected to end the year with major surpluses in all funds. This happened since street repairs were postponed until 2022 and because of the ARPA Federal funds received.

Next year the city expects to receive the remaining ARPA funds, but also plans to double their street repairs to catch up from last year. There are many improvements coming to our city in 2022:

  • Selective slab concrete street repairs
  • Mill/overlay and sealcoat asphalt street repairs
  • New sidewalk construction
  • Sidewalk repairs
  • Down payment on new pumper fire truck
  • Whitecliff Quarry Phase II (pavilion) – grant supported
  • Rebuild Whitecliff basketball courts
  • Resurface Whitecliff tennis courts
  • Whitecliff Bridge – engineering for replacement in 2023
  • Police station renovations
  • Sanders Park pedestrian bridge replacement
  • Sanders Park playground surface replacement
  • City-wide Park master plan
  • Government center window replacements (phase II)

The following streets are scheduled for repairs:

  • Aloha Dr
  • Arban
  • Bali Ct.
  • Brookview Dr.
  • Dublin Dr.
  • Fort Donelson Dr.
  • Fort Henry Dr.
  • Fournier Dr.
  • Glenrose Dr.
  • Hutchins Dr.
  • Larsen Ln.
  • Lodge Dr.
  • Lodgepole Ln.
  • Lopina Blvd.
  • Missy Ct.
  • Morningstar Trl.
  • Oakmont Woods
  • Paddock Ct.
  • Pardee Lane
  • Rosebay Dr.
  • Samoa Dr.
  • Sappington Greens
  • Satinwood Pl.
  • Starling Dr.
  • Tahiti Dr.
  • Tower Ave.
  • Whitecliff Park Ln.

RESCUE TRUCK - The primary firetruck for the city is a pumper. It carries tools, supplies, and hundreds of gallons of water to help quickly attack a fire. The city also has an reserve pumper which is used whenever the primary pumper is in the shop for repairs.

In addition to these two pumper trucks, the city also runs a smaller “rescue” truck. The Rescue Truck is used to carry additional firefighting and rescue tools and supplies but is also used for medical (EMS) calls. It might surprise you to know, but over 70% of all fire department calls are for EMS situations. So, as it turns out, this rescue truck is the most used vehicle in the department’s fleet and is scheduled to be replaced next year.

Instead of purchasing a new truck, the department found a used rescue truck from Idaho Falls and purchased it, saving the city at least $100,000. While it’s not new, it is a much better brand of truck (Rosenbauer) than the city had planned to purchase. Not only is it a better truck, it is also much larger so it can carry additional tools and supplies. It also has features that are new to the city, including large overhead LED lights to illuminate a scene, and onboard air tank refilling.

The truck was inspected by the local dealer and only one issue was found – which was corrected by the seller. It is scheduled to get a fresh coat of red paint and be placed into service in early 2022. The city plans to sell the existing rescue truck.

AMBULANCE SERVICE – When someone in St. Louis County dials 911 for an emergency medical service, the ambulance that arrives is almost always from their local fire department, unless if you live in Crestwood. Crestwood does not have an ambulance but outsources this service to Abbott / AMR. This arrangement has been working fine for many years, but ambulance response times have been declining.

Crestwood Fire has a target average response time of 3:33 minutes. That means that in less than 4 minutes after receiving the dispatch notice from 911, they are in the truck, out the door, and reach the scene somewhere in Crestwood.

Abbott staffs two ambulances to support 3 cities – Crestwood, Maplewood, and Rock Hill. They normally park one next to our fire department and when it’s available they arrive quickly on the scene. But when that ambulance is busy, another is dispatched from further away. Therefore Abbott has an average response time of over 10 minutes and has had response times of more than 20 minutes about 10% of the time.

Fire Chief Hecht has attempted to negotiate with Abbott to improve these response times, but due to ongoing EMT shortages and other factors the delays continue. City staff and the Board of Alderman considered multiple proposals and ultimately approved a ballot measure for April to help fund in-house ambulance service.

I expect we’ll hear more about this before April, but the following measure will be before the voters:

Proposition 1 - Shall the City of Crestwood impose a fire protection sales tax of one-half of one percent (0.5%) (an increase of one-quarter of one percent (0.25%) above the current fire protection sales tax) for the purpose of providing revenues for the operation of the Crestwood Fire Department?

So basically we already have a 1/4 cent fire protection sales tax and this is asking voters if they approve raising that to 1/2 cent.

If approved, the city will hire additional firefighter paramedics and purchase two ambulances (one new, one used) to provide that fast response time with highly trained personnel. In addition, if Crestwood ambulances are unavailable, neighboring fire departments will provide mutual-aid support and send their ambulance (which they can't do today).

There are many additional details about this topic that I will share prior to the April election. Stay tuned.

In 1947 a group of concerned citizens petitioned the court to incorporate Crestwood as a Village and on November 12, 1947, the County Court approved the order. The western limits were approximately at Sappington Road and the eastern limit was about 200 feet west of Grant Road because the village could not afford to take on partial maintenance of that street.

The Village of Crestwood later became the City of Crestwood. This map shows the area of the 1949 city and adjacent territory (as it existed about 1905). Highway 66 which did not exist at the time the original map, was superimposed and the original city limits where shaded.

In November of next year, the city will reach its 75th anniversary and has a year-long celebration planned. There is a 75th Anniversary Committee chaired by Alderman Greg Hall. This team has been working very hard to plan all the events for next year.

I encourage you to check out their website crestwood75.org where you can watch a slideshow of vintage photos, sign up to receive email updates, and get more information on each of the events planned.

Some of the events include a Trivia Night (March 12), Golf Tournament (April 1), Concert and Movie Night (May 14), Bowling Night, Glow Bingo, a 5K run, a parade down Watson Road, and fireworks. It’s going to be a busy and fun year to live in Crestwood – I can’t wait!

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