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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Seeing the desired Progress Parkway subdivision plan brought fruition is the No. 1 priority for Ste. Genevieve Mayor Brian Keim in 2024.
“Obviously, we are hoping that we’re able to either make some serious movement or really start in on the Progress Parkway subdivision,” Keim said. “I think that’s priority one.
“That was priority one for me when I was elected, and we’ve made a lot of progress on that over the last nine or so months. But there’s still some work to be done to get that across the finish line.”
He hopes it becomes a shovel-ready project in 2024.
“We’re hoping that we are able to break ground by the end of the year on that and get that infrastructure going,” he said.
Keim noted that he ran for mayor, stressing the need for the subdivision, which should help alleviate the city’s housing shortage.
“That’s of the utmost importance to us because obviously we’ve got a real need for housing in the community,” he said. “Not that we will solve all of our needs, but it will certainly help.”
New homes would help in numerous ways.
“It will take the pressure off our current housing situation, and it will impact our employers,” Keim said. “It will impact our current residents because it will start to turn the real estate market over again. Right now, it’s very stagnant. We don’t have a lot of movement, so it will get the natural turn of the real estate market moving again. And hopefully we attract the new residents as a result. That’s obviously a goal.”
Improving what the city also has is another big goal.
“We’re still trying to make improvements to our existing infrastructure, which we all know has been an ongoing issue for the people of the city,” the mayor said, “and we recognize that, and we are listening to the feedback, and we’re trying to squeeze every dollar we can out of that budget to make those improvements.”
With neither money nor asphalt growing on trees, getting the most for the city’s money is always a priority.
“We’re hoping that we are able to get creative with that and find a way to tackle more of the infrastructure issues as they come, and also just to try to stay ahead of the game,” Keim said. “So we’re really working on a long-term plan to tackle a lot of those.”
He stressed that the traditional term “infrastructure” includes “existing city streets, sidewalks, stormwater.”
“We hope to make great strides with our current stormwater issues, of which we’ve obviously seen the impact of those over the years,” he said.
The stormwater situation has been a topic during many meetings and work sessions the last two or three years.
“Right now we’re working on a couple of different projects to alleviate some issues in a couple different areas of the city,” he said, “mostly by market at Ninth Street. Then, we hope to tackle International Subdivision here at some point, too. We’re close on both of those. We’re certainly very close on getting some serious improvements to that Market, Ninth Street. We hope to have a solution for that.
“We’re working on that right now, but we’re still in the engineering phase. So we’re hoping that we’re able to solve that issue by the end of the year. I think that’s also a huge priority for us. And that’s going to be a huge project as well.”
Completing the city hall building renovations and moving back in are also goals—ones the city hopes to hit within a few weeks.
“We’re excited to finish up the city hall remodel,” he said. “I think that it will update and modernize that building and it will have a much more modern feel inside the council chambers. It’ll really represent our city better than the one we current have we currently have. I think it definitely needed some updates.”
Getting the new text alert system fully implemented is also on the mayor’s radar.
“So, we’re hoping that that is another resource for our residents, to keep them up to date with things that are going on around town, whether it be road closures, whether it be storm updates, whether it be public safety alerts,” Keim said. “We’re hoping that that helps spread the message across the city and reach some of the residents that maybe don’t check Facebook or aren’t necessarily in tune with social media. I think that that will be a great resource for our city.”
Keim is pleased with the emergency services the city offers its residents.
“Obviously, we’ve made a lot of great strides with budgeting for our fire and our police,” Keim said. “We’re so blessed to have the police force that we have and the fire department that we have for a community our size. We’re just very blessed with the quality of people that we have working in those two areas, and the resources that they have. So it’s continuously trying to make sure that they have cutting edge technology and up-to-date equipment. That’s an ongoing thing.”
As a tourism destination, naturally enhancing tourism is always going to be another goal. Keim calls it “a hot-button topic” in the city.
“We’re excited to welcome Aaron Smith as the new tourism director,” Keim said. “He’s already hit the ground running. He’s got some great ideas. I think the community is really going to enjoy the vision that he’s going to bring to that position, and the more modern approach to the marketing aspect of that. He’s a perfect fit for this town. We’re so excited that he’s here, and I think we’ll see dramatic improvement there. I think just with his experience and his skill set, I think the sky’s the limit there and we’re committed to making sure that he has all the tools and resources available to succeed.”
McDaniels Marketing has been brought in to tailor a marketing strategy for local tourism.
“We’re finalizing a marketing plan for our tourism arm that will be done probably within the next month or so,” Keim said. “That way we’ve got a clear-cut vision and a clear cut plan for how we want to attack that.”
Working more with the county to enhance tourism is also a goal.
“We’re so blessed to have the support that we have from our county commissioners. They’ve been there every step of the way. They’re receptive, they listen, and they’re so supportive of all of the endeavors that the city is trying to undertake.”