South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Aldermen must decide on Green Park Road plans by September, engineer says

Former Alderman Hoehn says three-lane road needed

The fate of the proposed redevelopment of Green Park Road will have to be decided by September. If not, a representative of the engineering firm that designed the project said it will be history.

For the second time in as many months, the Green Park Board of Aldermen plans to meet in a special work session to again discuss the $2.4 million project to widen the road by two feet in each lane. At press time, the work session had not been scheduled.

Mike Schillito of the Weis Design Group, which has engineered the project, told aldermen May 21 that if the city does not decide on final design plans for the road and acquire all easements needed to complete the project by September, the city would be in jeopardy of losing a federal grant paying for 80 percent of the project.

Schillito said another option would be for the city to write a letter requesting a one-time schedule change by September.

Aldermen last week discussed the possibility of altering the project by moving a planned six-foot-wide sidewalk from the more residential south side of Green Park Road to its north side, which has three houses.

Schillito said while that remains an option, he anticipates that the city might have trouble acquiring property from those three homeowners as well as from St. Louis County for land at Clydesdale Park, which is also on the north side.

“If we push everything to the north, those three properties at the very west end will be impacted greatly,” Schillito said. “And there’s an entire process there, a critical process of a buyout if that’s the route the city goes. And also, we have to deal with the park for litigation.”

The city was presented in January with a petition of residents pledging they “will not approve the grading permit required to intrude upon my non-easement property” to construct sidewalks on the south side of Green Park Road. The petition was signed by 19 residents at 18 homes — 16 of which are on Green Park Road. Homeowners on nearby Mueller Road and Lisa Marie Court also signed the intent to deny permits.

At the future work session, aldermen also will further discuss the viability of connecting Lin Valle Drive, which intersects with Green Park Road, to the Lindbergh Business Court. The board unanimously voted May 21 to conduct a feasibility study of that possible connection. Proponents of that connection have said it would ease traffic along Green Park Road traveling to Lindbergh Boulevard.

But Mayor Tony Konopka said last week that because of the presence of businesses along Lin Valle Drive and the narrow, steep condition of that road, he does not believe the connection is a viable option.

As for Green Park Road, plans call for the road to be widened by two feet in each lane to make 12-foot lanes on each side and stretch roughly 6,000 feet along Green Park Road from Tesson Ferry Road to Lin Valle Drive.

Tom Weis of the Weis Design Group has said he would like to put the project out to bid in November and begin construction in March 2008. Preliminary design plans also call for eliminating drop-offs and ditches from the road and replacing them with curbs on each side. Because the curbing would replace ditches on each side of the road, a storm sewer would be installed across the length of Green Park Road.

Weis also has said substantial grade changes would be made at the road’s intersections with Kohrs Lane, Mueller Road and Lisa Marie Court to improve sight-line visibility and provide better curb alignment.

Board President Anthony Pousosa of Ward 1 told aldermen they should be more concerned about the road itself and its visibility and safety than moving sidewalks.

Former Ward 2 Alderman Fred Hoehn, who also led and designed the incorporation of Green Park in 1995, said it would be a mistake for the city to move forward with plans that don’t call for a three-lane road on Green Park Road. He pointed to a previous study that stated once the Green Park Commerce Center reached its third phase, which it has, that the plan recommended a three-lane road and a connection from Lin Valle Drive to the Lindbergh Business Court.

Without those, Hoehn said the city would never live up to its full potential.

“I guess what I’m trying to say to you is when I put this city together, it was based on certain financial considerations to make it work,” he said. “The financial considerations are the Lindbergh (Boulevard) corridor, Lin Valle, that whole area that fronts (Interstate) 55 and the commerce center. You have to provide access to change those dynamics. If you don’t do that, all you’re ever going to be is a little city that discusses sidewalks and discusses trucks that are blocking the road, things such as that. You’ve got to change the dynamics. I know there are people living on Green Park Road. I also know that the city owns quite a bit of right of way along one side of the road on the north side. The park has to be talked to. You’ve got to sell that.

“And there are three houses up there, which I’m sorry to say are going to have to be looked at as probably history. That’s going to cause some real problems with those people up there. But they need to be treated fairly, and you’ve got to get an adequate road on there. No one on the board can tell me what the dynamics of the commerce center are going to be one year from now, five years from now or 10 years from now. And if you build an inadequate road now, you will live with that forever and you will have a cork in that bottle and you will never achieve what this city can achieve.”

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