6 months ago

West Newsmagazine 4-11-18

Local news, local politics and community events for West St. Louis County Missouri.


16 I NEWS I By JESSICA MESZAROS April 11, 2018 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE Work slated for this summer will make it easier for Des Peres residents to get outdoors and walk on sidewalks that are less likely to trip them up. Recently, the city released updates about an overhaul concerning many residential streets and sidewalks, including repairs and aesthetic improvements. According to Director of Public Works Steve Meyer, over 600 sidewalk slabs will be replaced in the Dougherty Woods and Dougherty Ridge subdivisions after numerous issues regarding tripping and injuries from overgrown tree roots lifting the slabs from the rest of the pavement. The process of repairing the city’s sidewalks has been years in the making and is a product of tree roots uplifting sidewalks in high-traffic areas and creating potential hazards. About $100,000 has been budgeted by the city for repairs after taking measures to document every trip hazard in the city for 2018 and onward. “We had our guys take inventory of all of our sidewalks in our city,” Meyer said. “They walked all the sidewalks and counted the number of trip hazards and the number of slabs that needed to be replaced. That resulted in a backlog of between $300,000 to $400,000 of work. That’s where we asked the board, during our budgeting process last year, to increase the funding for sidewalk replacements for a few years, so we could get caught up. Of course, as those trees kept growing, we kept having more hazards.” While the city usually repairs about 1,000 linear feet of sidewalk annually, about 3,000 linear feet is planned for 2018. The city also has been utilizing a joint material called TripStop for about three years to hold sidewalk slabs together in high-stress areas. “We’re hoping that by focusing on that for the next couple years, we can really make a dent in that backlog and get things under control,” Meyer said. “We’re fighting all the time with sidewalks and trees because you want both but they don’t get along well.” In addition to controlling damage from roots, the city also is conducting a tree inventory in 2018. The inventory will be GIS-based [geographic information system] and can be updated in real-time via tablet or phone. A TRIM grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation will reimburse about 75 percent of the expense. “With GIS, now we can keep that updated in the event that we trim the trees or we cut them down, or we plant trees, we can add that into the database and keep track of how many trees we actually have out there,” Meyer said. The improvements don’t cease with trees and sidewalks. On March 12, the Des Peres Board of Aldermen approved a contract for $392,475 with Kozeny Wagner to replace the Oak Drive Bridge over Two-Mile Creek. A federal Surface Transportation Program Grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT] will cover about 80 percent of the estimated bridge replacement cost. Work for the project is tentatively scheduled around Memorial Day and will include a projected three-month closure road closure. Residents of the impacted Gray Estates North will have access through Crystal Lake Park. A segment of Fairoyal Drive in Royal Acres also will be replaced this summer, with the project’s length spanning from Eastroyal to Dunroyal. The street’s deck will be replaced with eight inches of new concrete. The project will be approached in four phases to reduce the number of homes without access during the work period. Its start date also is scheduled for @WESTNEWSMAG WESTNEWSMAGAZINE.COM Des Peres set to overhaul local sidewalks, residential streets this summer around Memorial Day. According to Meyer, existing curb ramps will be replaced at Dunroyal and Kenroyal to make the areas ADA compliant. Other updates will occur along Andre Drive, Anduin Court, Christine Avenue, Claychester Drive, Windridge Court and Windridge Drive. Each street will have its existing asphalt surface milled off, the underlying concrete replaced as-needed and an asphalt overlay installed. However, the southern section of Christine will simply receive an overlay. A contract with Ford Asphalt as the lowest bidder went to the board for approval on April 9. The second phase of the 2016 Topping Lane project will start up in 2018 to add curbs to correct drainage issues before installing the asphalt overlay. Bids for the project are due April 20 with work to begin by late summer. While the city is working to make sure residents aren’t deprived access to areas, residents are prompted to watch for construction signage and to drive through areas carefully as projects arise. Letters of notification will be sent to all adjacent residents prior to the start of each project. According to Meyers, up-to-date information also can be found on the city’s website, Help Us ATTACK Cancer! Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Lafayette High School 3pm-Midnight For more information, contact Join Rockwood School District and the Community to raise funds for cancer research and programs, celebrate survivors, remember those no longer with us and to have fun! *Disclaimer- NO running required! Sponsored in part by Theme for 2018 What happens at Relay??? Games, food booths, crafts, items to buy, baskets and auction items to bid on and lots of fun!

FACEBOOK.COM/WESTNEWSMAGAZINE WESTNEWSMAGAZINE.COM Wildwood committee gives update on rural internet progress By JESSICA MESZAROS On April 5, the city of Wildwood’s Rural Internet Access Committee [RIAC] held a meeting to provide updates regarding the city’s ongoing mission to install poles in underserved and unserved areas of Wildwood to provide residents with high-speed, wireless broadband internet service. The city is continuing work with two internet providers – Bays ET and Wisper ISP – to bring residents high-speed internet options in both north and south areas of the municipality. Underserved and unserved areas are scattered across the entire municipality, with many of the outage pockets around densely wooded areas like Babler State Park, Greensfelder Park and Rockwoods Range Conservation Area. According to Joe Vujnich, director of planning and parks, the city continues to examine and develop strategies to fight against the complicated local topography. “Some of the poles have been around 88 feet in height but, more recently, what we’ve been focusing on are smaller poles that, for the most part, are intended to take the signal from the larger pole and then shoot it up into a valley or around an area of trees because the topography and vegetation causes a problem,” Vujnich said. “That’s what we’ve been fighting through.” So far, about 21 poles have been installed throughout the city and are online. On the south side of the city, during the first week of April, Bays ET was authorized to install three poles at the intersection of Bouquet Road and Ben Alder Drive, in the Wakefield Forest Subdivision at Wakefield Farms Road and Wakefield Forest Court, and on Melrose Road. Two additional pole installations also are planned but will require easements from private landowners before proceeding. Bays ET and the city also are looking into verifying four additional locations, for a total of seven sites to be completed by May 2018, bringing the total of functional poles to 24 across the municipality. On the north side of the city, Wisper ISP has been working with the city to provide pole repair updates on the Babler State Park [St. Louis County] Emergency Communications Tower. That facility is not currently functional but, upon completion, could serve up to at least 100 residents. Delays on the facility are related to material back orders, structural tower repairs and St. Louis County protocols relating to electrical tower installations. As a result, the city had to partner with an electrical contractor to bring the facility up to code. “It’s been a little frustrating with this county facility because it’s going to serve an area that we just haven’t been able to get to yet,” Vujnich said. “A lot of people have been patiently waiting, and we’d like to give them service.” The goal is to have the facility running in the next few weeks, which then would allow for needed updates and repairs to four existing city poles, increasing overall internet speed while simultaneously expanding the network area. Efforts to extend internet service to rural areas are not limited to Wildwood. In January 2018, President Donald Trump issued an executive order pertaining to increasing efforts, streamlining and expediting the location of broadband services in rural areas of the United States. “Currently, too many American citizens and businesses still lack access to this basic tool of modern economic connectivity,” Trump said in the order. “This problem... hinders the ability of rural American communities to increase economic prosperity; attract new businesses; enhance job growth; extend the reach of affordable, high-quality healthcare; enrich student learning with digital tools and facilitate JOIN US FOR OUR FREE, FUN-FILLED EVENT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! BBQ & CARDINALS 2018 SEASON CELEBRATION! April 14th | 12 - 4 pm Come celebrate the start of the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals Season with Fredbird and the Stonecrest of Wildwood staff. Enjoy local BBQ, peanuts, drinks, dancing and fun for the whole family. Don’t miss out on our free Cardinals ticket giveaway! * *must be present to win 251 Plaza Dr | Wildwood MO 63040 Please RSVP to (636) 273-4966 April 11, 2018 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE I NEWS I 17 access to the digital marketplace.” In Wildwood, Vujnich said, “We’ve turned over every stone when it comes to internet access. We’ve talked to satellite providers, we talked to wireless providers, we’ve talked to Google. We’ve tried every option, including the traditional ones like AT&T and Charter. It’s been a frustrating process for a lot of people ... “At least it’s not just us in the boat, rowing alone. Hopefully, there will be a lot more people that get in that boat, help row it and we’ll get there faster.” Call or Visit Today to Learn More! 251 Plaza Drive, Wildwood, MO 63040 (636) 273-4966 | LOCAL BBQ | JOE BOZZI BAND | CARDINAL TICKET GIVEAWAY | MEET FREDBIRD AT 2:30 PM