By MARK EVANS
With both associate commissioners new to the job this winter, Ste. Genevieve County Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson thought a “road trip” might be in order.
On Feb. 3, he and road and bridge foreman Scott Schmieder took new commissioners Karen Stuppy and Randy Ruzicka on a four-hour tour of various problem spots in the county. They stopped and examined several places that have generated phone calls of complaint.
They also swung over to Desloge/Park Hills and toured the Alan Wells St. Francois County Joint Communication and EOC Center.
Most of the roads in this trip were in Stuppy’s first district. A second trip will be made later to view some trouble spots in Ruzicka’s second district.
Among the roads they toured were Charter Church Road, Roth Road, Patt Road, Colony Church Road and Gillespie Road.
Stuppy then reported on the trip during last Thursday’s commission meeting.
She saw first-hand the situation the commission faces with Charter Church Road. If it is paved, it will free a grader and dump truck from having to travel all the way there to service it, since it is the last through gravel road in its area.
However, trees and leaning fences encroach on the sides of the road and there are no drainage ditches.
“Work really needs to be done for it to be paved,” Stuppy said. “There are trees and fences in the way and it needs ditches.”
This is a road the commissioners definitely want to pave if they can get sufficient cooperation from land owners.
“It’s the furthest road away that isn’t paved, so it would be cost-efficient to chip and seal it,” Stuppy said.
Meanwhile, Gillespie Road is still too narrow and needs ditches, while Patt Road is 20 feet wide, but has a narrow 12-foot slab crossing a creek.
The trip to the 911 center was eye-opening for the new commissioners.
Alan Wells, center director for whom the newly enlarged center is named, led them in a tour.
Both counties had aging, outdated equipment in 911 buildings set up in the early 1990s. The expense of one county making all the needed upgrades was prohibitive.
Now the combined center has state of the art equipment. Wells had to look to Spain to get the best and newest system on the market.
The Park Hills center is the first pilot program in the United States to use Next Generation 911 technology by Altos, an international company just entering the U.S. market.