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

Green Park Road focus of officials’ work session

Mayor Konopka breaks tie to name Pousosa new board president

To update residents and three newly elected Green Park officials on details of the planned Green Park Road reconstruction, a work session was scheduled earlier this week at City Hall.

The work session with the city’s project consultant, the Weis Design Group, was set Monday night — after the Call went to press.

As planned, Green Park Road would be widened by two feet in each lane to make 12-foot lanes on each side. The estimated $2.2 million project — 80 percent of which will be funded through a federal grant — would stretch roughly 6,000 feet along Green Park Road from Tesson Ferry Road to Lin Valle Drive.

Because of alterations that would be made to homeowners’ property along Green Park Road, residents have expressed concern to the city that the project is not needed.

At an October town-hall meeting, Tom Weis of the Weis Design Group told residents who live near Green Park Road that they would be asked to sacrifice some property for the road’s redevelopment. In January, owners of 18 homes near Green Park Road warned they would not.

The Board of Aldermen was presented at its Jan. 16 meeting 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.

Weis is expected to soon present right-of-way easement estimates to aldermen and then begin gathering residents’ signatures to have access to property needed for construction. He has said those signatures would need to be acquired by July to conform with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s August deadline.

Weis also has indicated he would like to put the Green Park Road reconstruction out to bid in November and begin construction in the spring of 2008.

Preliminary design plans 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 has also 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.

For pedestrian access, Weis’ plan proposes a six-foot-wide sidewalk on the road’s south side, where a majority of homes along Green Park Road are located. The road also would see crosswalks at Mueller Road, Antrill Drive and possibly other intersections to allow for easier access to Clydesdale Park, which is on the road’s north side.

Ward 1 Alderman Judy Betlach, who lives on Green Park Road and also signed the petition to deny permits, has said that the administration and her fellow aldermen ignored opposition to the sidewalk construction at the Oct. 30 public hearing on the project. She also has said that she and nearby homeowners are perplexed that an area already inundated with short driveways could possibly have its residential property area further reduced.

A letter attached to the petition of homeowners opposed to the road’s reconstruction points out that it would move existing telephone poles further into residential property. The letter further states that the proposed project would not provide adequate alleviation of traffic backups and no substantial improvement for emergency-vehicle access.

The project does, however, include a provision to minimize traffic stacking near Green Park Road’s intersection with Tesson Ferry Road by proposing an additional right-turn lane at the Tesson Ferry stoplight.

Because of concerns about interference on residents’ property and the road’s re-design not conforming with the city’s 2005 comprehensive plan, numerous residents have persuaded aldermen to further study the road’s redesign.

Policy 2.1.1 of the city’s comprehensive plan states it’s the city’s policy to “preserve, reinforce and upgrade existing residential neighborhoods by preventing the incursion of non-residential uses into residential areas.”

At the Board of Aldermen’s April 16 meeting, aldermen agreed to table an ordinance that would shift the source of federal funding to supply the road’s grant that would pay for 80 percent of Green Park Road Bridge’s redesign.

City Attorney Paul Rost said the ordinance “really doesn’t matter to us” because it would only authorize the federal government to pull grant money from a different source — bridge-road maintenance funds — and not change the amount of funding that the city has already obtained.

Aldermen last week also named newly elected Ward 1 Alderman Anthony Pousosa as board president.

Pousosa was elected board president after newly elected Mayor Tony Konopka broke a 3-3 tie between aldermen and supported Pousosa.

Ward 1 Alderman Judy Betlach made the motion for Pousosa’s nomination, which was seconded by Ward 2 Alderman Tim Thuston. Betlach, Thuston and Pousosa then voted in support of Pousosa as board president.

Pousosa’s presidency was opposed by Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Wilson, Ward 3 Alderman Mark Hayden and previous board President Fred Baras of Ward 3.

Hayden and Wilson both said their “no” votes were not personal and that they merely believe that a newly elected alderman should not be president because of a lack of experience.

“This is nothing against Tony (Pousosa),” Hayden said. “But I believe that somebody on their first meeting showing up at the Board of Aldermen probably should not be appointed as president. That’s just my thoughts on it.”

“I would like to see somebody with more experience,” Wilson said. “It has nothing against you (Pousosa). I don’t know what kind of president you’d make or not make.”

Another new alderman, Thuston, was elected to serve as the aldermanic liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

That measure passed 5-1 with Hayden again voting “no” because of Thuston’s lack of experience

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