County Commissioners Ponder Paving Projects, Grants
By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
No reply had been received from Charter Church Road property owners when the Ste. Genevieve County Commission met last Thursday. Associate county clerk Michele Gatzemeyer had written letters to them, telling them trees needed to be removed before the county can pave the road.
Charter Church has long been high on the county’s paving list. The 1.6-mile stretch is one of the last remaining stretches of gravel road in its vicinity. It requires a grader to be moved several miles to maintain it four or five times a year. Getting it paved would eliminate that need.
The plan has been to use chip and seal paving on it, which at about $25,000 a mile, is considerably less expensive than asphalt.
However, county road specs demand 20-foot width, adequate right of way and drainage ditches. Numerous trees would need to be removed to make this possible.
On the topic of road repair and paving, the commissioners agreed that they will make an early January “road trip” to determine 2022 priorities before hammering out the 2022 budget.
Another road that would be handy to have paved and no longer have to grade is McDaniel Road. With Pebble Creek Farm thriving as a wedding chapel on the road, the commissioners have hope that a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) might be available for paving McDaniel Road.
This helped the county improve a section of Eisenbeis Bottom Road in 2017 thanks to Earthworks rapidly expanding. Margaret Yates of the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission (SEMO RPC) was able to get CDBG money to straighten and widen a dangerous section of the road near the quarry. These grants are available when a correlation can be established with a number of full-time jobs that will be added by a company on the road in question.
The commissioners were unable to reach Yates by phone, but did discuss the idea with Chris Crocker, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson stressed that if they do paving on McDaniel, the entire mile or so stretch should be paved.
“If were do it, we need to go all the way so we don’t have to bring graders,” he said.
Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman reported that he would put pipes in on French Village Road in the spring. This month his crews are trimming and cutting trees, grading and doing general maintenance.
He reported that the cache of salt for winter roads is in good shape. He also reported that the dually truck needs a new air compressor.
Meanwhile, the road and bridge crew has an opening. It will also lose a second person in April. There have been two applicants so far.
Schmieder and the commissioners would love to find someone with a skill set similar to the late Mark Radford, who was the chief mechanic and could drive trucks when needed.
MORE HANDICAPPED PARKING NEEDED
Chief deputy Jason Schott, president of the county’s Senate Bill 40 board, told the commissioners that there is a lack of handicapped-accessible parking spaces in the downtown area.
He discussed an idea with them to add handicapped spaces on both sides of the Aisle of Flags between the courthouse, art guild center and the DuBourg Centre.
One side is owned by the city and one by the county.
They went over some of the challenges of picking out the best slots to use, considering many would be crossing over to events at the DuBourg Centre.
Nelson said he was open to the idea.
“I’m good with it,” he said. “I’m sure the city will be, too.”
COMMISSIONERS THANK HORRELL
Holcim’s Andrew Horrell, environmental manager for the local Holcim Cement plant, visited with the commissioners. A Ste. Genevieve native, he returned to the local facility in August after working for LaforgeHolcim in Pennsylvania.