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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Putting in a good sidewalk along Fourth Street will be the city of Ste. Genevieve’s priority in pursuing a 2024 Transportation Alternative Plan (TAP) grant.
What projects to pursue for TAP funding was one of two items on the board of aldermen’s agenda for last Thursday evening’s work session.
This year the city’s TAP grant request was approved for putting in a sidewalk along St. Mary’s Road, to help connect the Ste. Genevieve National historical Park with downtown.
The TAP grants are an 80/20 match, with the city having to come up with 20% of the cost. However, if the city would volunteer to pay a higher percentage of the total, it could improve its chances of getting the grant. (This year, all the Southeast Missouri grant requests were approved.)
“I’m just trying to get an idea if you want to do another TAP project like we have on St. Mary’s Road,” City Administrator Happy Welch told the board. “We’ve got various spots that we’ve listed on here if you want us to consider it. You can get the engineer to look at it, give us an estimate, because we’ll need that up front to submit for a TAP application.”
Welch listed the options. One would be to improve sidewalks around Ste. Genevieve R-II Schools, giving students an uninterrupted string of sidewalks to safely walk to and from school. Another would be sidewalk improvement/extension along Highway 32, connecting the commercial district with Progress Parkway.
Welch also noted that the county had been approved for a grant to add sidewalks along the south side Highway 61 from Highway M (Rozier Street) to Parkwood Lane. So, another option would be to move the other way on 61.
Others included a bicycle trail from the ferry landing to Pere Marquette Park, and extending the St. Mary’s Road sidewalk from the Green Tree Tavern to Seraphin Street.
Something to discourage speeding and/or driving the wrong direction downtown was another option.
Ward 3 Alderman Joe Steiger opted for Fourth Street sidewalks, the fifth item on Welch’s list.
“If you ask me, it’s No. 5,” Steiger said. “That’s the most dangerous part. We can’t get kids from downtown out to the community center. And that section there from, really from the railroad tracks, it says Gerard, but from the railroad tracks, I know you did some work in front of the mill and a couple of the other ones, but by far that’s the most dangerous place and with the most traffic and the highest speeds. That would be my vote”
Welch explained that they were looking at extending the sidewalk on the east side of 32. As it is, part of 32/Center Street has a sidewalk on one side and part on the other side.
“I agree,” Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan said.
“I don’t see how somebody hasn’t stepped out on the road of Fourth Street and gotten hurt,” Steiger said.
That decided, a second choice was discussed.
Ward 1 Alderman Patrick Fahey voiced support for extending the St. Mary’s Road sidewalk as the No. 2 priority.
“Well, it’s hard to argue against school children walking,” he said. “At the same time, the use of those historic buildings, it’s a little dangerous walking down St. Mary’s Road with no sidewalk.”
Welch noted that part of that would be covered in this year’s project, which should be finished next year.
The other work session item was the police garage that was built beside city hall a few years ago. Chief Jasen Crump told the board about issues the structure is having.
“We’ve been fighting this issue since the building was built,” Crump said. “So it’s got the wrong channel around the bottom of it. So it’s allowing water to come in the bottom of the garage at the sill plate. In turn, we have everything that we store in the garage is covered in mold, anything that’s metal, rust. So we’ve been looking at some ventilation issues or how to fix the ventilation.
“So we contacted three different companies and had them come in and bid. All three, two of them decided that the best option would be to do a mini split and condition the air in the two bays. The third company decided that a full central heat and air system would be the best option and those bids ranged from five to ten thousand dollars, which still doesn’t fix the problem with no ventilation in the attic and it still leaks water at the bottom. So the question is, where does the board want to go with it and you know how much money do we want to invest in it?”
Welch noted that the city had hoped to do the work in-house, but found that “We just don’t have the staff” to tackle the project.
After some discussion on the specifics of what the building needs, it was agreed that Crump would seek outside bids.