Thuston sees bright future for Green Park

Thuston wants to see more involved in the city’s events

Tim+Thuston

Tim Thuston

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

Green Park Mayor Tim Thuston, whose first term in office was anything but normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic, asked voters for another term in office as mayor in the municipal election last month —  and they answered.

“This last year has been pretty strange and unusual. I didn’t have the opportunity to do the mayoral things as a group,” Thuston said on why he pursued an additional two-year term, which he says will be his last.

“I want to give it a shot to work at it normally. … Do some of the things I don’t think are done yet.”

Thuston defeated Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton 66.56 percent to 33.44 percent, out of 302 votes. Due to the rare occurrence of a special election for another Ward 1 seat, both Ward 1 seats were up for election this year and Broughton ran for mayor instead of running for re-election as alderman.

“I enjoy serving the community. There are pros and cons, but all in all I think it’s a very valuable contribution I can do for my fellow citizen,” said Thuston. “I met with (City Administrator) James Mello after the results came in and went through some things I want to get started on already. … We’re gonna be busy.”

Thuston was elected unopposed to his first term as mayor in 2019, after longtime Mayor Bob Reinagel, who served since 2013, did not seek another term. Thuston served as a Ward 2 alderman since 2007.

But Thuston’s roots in Green Park run deeper than his aldermanic service, even before the city’s incorporation in 1995.

“I feel a civic responsibility (to Green Park). My family has been here since the 1940s. My mom is probably the oldest resident — she’s been here since 1942. She’s very proud of this area and so am I,” said Thuston. “I don’t want to leave the job unfinished. I feel there’s a lot yet to contribute.”

His first term as mayor came with challenges unique in the history of Green Park, with businesses shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and city meetings conducted virtually. Additionally, four of the city’s six aldermen are new to the board within the last two years, with several appointed by Thuston. Ward 2 Alderman Matt Farwig won election the same year as Thuston did mayor. Ward 3 Alderman Martin Finn was elected in the delayed municipal elections in June 2020, along with Ward 2 Alderman Ronald Slattery. Slattery was previously an alderman over two decades ago, when Green Park was still in its infancy.

Ward 1 Alderman Esad Softic was appointed by Thuston in September 2020, after no one ran for the seat. Softic was the second alderman appointed by Thuston — just the year before, Scott Treece was appointed to fill the vacancy of Tony Pousosa, who moved from the city in 2019. Treece did not run for re-election due to family issues.

The city is still offering virtual meetings, but allowed the public in at its May 17 meeting. “It’s been hard not being able to meet as a group, and it’s difficult on a 1-inch square on a computer to get to know each other,” said Thuston. “There’s a lot of new members, but not a lot of time to meet face to face and hand to hand.”

Despite those obstacles, Thuston said that he is proud of the city’s accomplishments completed under his tenure, including the city buying the building City Hall is located in outright. In 2019, the Board of Aldermen voted to pay off half the building, with the other half paid out in 2020: “We settled the debt and we’re no longer paying interest. We’re also collecting rent, which makes it an asset to the city.”

However, the mayor said that he suffered the past year from “not getting enough done,” pointing to a list of priorities that include completely remodeling the City Hall Community Room — which is named in honor of the late Officer Blake Snyder — along with finishing and restriping Mueller Road and making sure residents have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Really the timeline on projects is going to depend on the health and the country. Once that’s defined, we’ll have a better idea of when we can get these things done,” Thuston said.

Thuston also wants to implement a renewed city streets program, with a strategic plan for the city’s roads that would be reviewed every few years. The city had a master streets program in the past that has nearly been completed.

“It’s time to look at the master street program anew and do some new planning. We need to project when we’re gonna do repairs and replacements,” said Thuston. “We’re pretty well caught up and I would like to maintain it. We need to try to stay in front of it and make sure you plan ahead and properly prioritize.”

As for the city’s economic outlook, Thuston said that officials will continue to look at the South Lindbergh Boulevard corridor to make sure that it remains strong.

“When I started as an alderman, you’d go down Lindbergh and you’d see empty lots and buildings with no tenants (but) on our side, full and vibrant and active businesses,” said Thuston. “We still have maintained that. There hasn’t been a great deal of failure on our side of Lindbergh and Tesson Ferry as well. It’s maintained itself. Clean, high-image properties all around the city.”

Another focal point for Thuston is Groovin’ in the Green, the annual summer concert held at Officer Blake C. Snyder Memorial Park, formerly Clydesdale. Groovin’ in the Green did not take place last year because of COVID-19. It had been held each year since 2016.

“One of the biggest things that I’d like to see done before I move on is make Groovin’ in the Green really great. We had great plans for that that really got altered last year. Hopefully we can reinfuse some of that energy into it this year and make it more actively fun,” said Thuston. “We wanna have it for our citizens. … We wanna do it more on a basis of an appreciation for our citizens, let them enjoy a night in the park with their friends and neighbors.”

As for what the mayor would like to see from his fellow citizens, Thuston encourages more people to get involved, including attending meetings and running for office.