Commission Wants To Improve Old Riverview Site

By mark Evans

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Four years ago, what to do with the aging, abandoned Riverview at the Park nursing home on North White Sands Road was a perplexing question for the Ste. Genevieve County Commission.

The  35,000 square-foot building, which had reverted back to county ownership, was finally demolished later in 2017.

Now, the County Commission is again concerned about the property.

The county has offered the building site to the city to augment Pere Marquette Park, which borders it.

Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said he felt it would be a good potential beginning or end for the revamped walking trail the city of Ste. Genevieve wants to build in Pere Marquette Park.

The city has not officially accepted the property, pending the outcome of some grant applications. Nelson said he and city administrator Happy Welch will be meeting this week to iron out some details.

The site is far from attractive right now, however, which bothers Nelson.

“We don’t want our part to be an eyesore,” Nelson said during last Thursday’s commission meeting.

“If we’re going to be involved in it, we want it done right,” he added the next day. “We want to have a good rest room and a good parking area.”

The site, at the corner of North White Sands Road and Mathews Drive, which leads into the park, would  seem to be an ideal addition to the park –especially considering Park and Recreation Board plans.

The board, much more energized during the past year or so, has adopted a master plan for the park, drawn up by Nick and Mary Donze. That includes a better walking trail.

CARRIG ASKS ABOUT USING PARKING LOT

Toby Carrig, tourism director for the city of Ste. Genevieve, asked the commissioners about the possibility of using the new county parking lot during future festivals and special events.

“It would probably be a mess,” Nelson said. “I don’t want to get into a tug-of-war between different organizations.”

Nelson said the idea is “something we need to discuss” before making definite commitments.

Complicating matters is the fact that part of the combined lot is privately owned. The city paved its part and areas where property owners were willing to contribute to the paving costs. The rest remained unpaved.

Nelson said they might paint an orange line to show the boundaries of the county property. That might help keep people off of the privately-owned parts.

Carrig said there may be a June event that could make use  of it. Nelson said he would check with the Church of Ste. Genevieve and the other property owners and see how they felt about the idea.

It was suggested that one of the alleys leading into the lot could be used to park an ambulance or as a cooling area.

Carrig also said that there has been a good deal of traffic in town lately. Some of it has been people on the way to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Others have been heading to the new Ste. Genevieve Museum Learning Center. He said that a St. Louis blog site had a story about it in January, which seems to have driven some traffic this way.

MUELLER CALLS IN COVID-19 REPORT

Jennifer Mueller, health department administrator, contacted associate clerk Michele Gatzemeyer with her weekly report on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mueller reported that the total number of cases, since March 2020, had risen to 1,728.

Probable cases remained steady, at 230, while active cases stayed in single digits, with nine cases. The death total was still 17, plus three probable deaths.

Mueller also informed the commission that second doses of the two-dose Moderna vaccine would be given this week.

She said 750 vaccines were given at last week’s clinic. Of the 750 doses, 300 were health department doses, 300 from Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital and 150 that were redirected from Walgreens.

Mueller said there were 25 no-shows. However, the waiting list was consulted and 25 more people were quickly recruited.

She said that because of the “manageable number” of doses the county has been able to get, having a waiting list is feasible.