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Pagano seeks another term to complete unfinished business in St. Peters

Mayor Len Pagano

Mayor Len Pagano

St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano wants to remain on the job for another four-year term because he wants to finish some unfinished business.

Pagano, 70, the city’s mayor since 2007 and a longtime alderman, has announced that he plans to run for another four-year term as mayor in the municipal election next April.

That unfinished business includes further development of the city’s Premier 370 Business Park on the Mississippi River flood plain.  The recession and issues surrounding the levee district slowed development of the park at Hwy. 370 near Interstate 70. But Duke Realty’s plans, announced in February, to build a 500,000-square-foot warehouse have revived hopes for the park.

“It (the park) could have a major impact on the community,” said Pagano, who envisions a multi-use area that includes commercial and even residential components.  The park could provide good paying jobs for a long time, he said.

Other bits of unfinished business include further development of recreational amenities and new uses for the city’s 370 Lakeside Park.

“It’s become a destination park and we need more events and things there,” Pagano said. “In the RV portion, the only state in the union that hasn’t been there is Vermont.”  He also wants to introduce a five-year plan for the city.

And Pagano said he wants to continue to improve the city’s relationship with county municipalities and county government – although that relationship especially with county government, has been rocky at times.

St. Peters has clashed with the County Council and County Executive Steve Ehlmann over possible residential development at the 370 Business Park.  St. Peters and other cities have challenged a ballot measure approved by voters last year to ban red-light cameras after the council placed the measure on the ballot. But there have been strong examples of the county and cities working together, Pagano said.

Although they have differences, county officials have come together, Pagano said. “All the major highway improvements have wouldn’t have happened without our cooperation,” he said.

That cooperation extends to working with members of the city’s Board of Aldermen and residents.  He said part of his job is talking to people and aldermen, which he views as an accomplishment as mayor.  “I think I know all their pets’ names,” he said.

Pagano, a retired St. Louis warehouse coordinator with Unilever Corp., is no stranger to local politics. He served 24 years as Ward 3 alderman starting in 1983 before being elected mayor in 2007.  He beat five candidates to fill out the remaining term of then Mayor Shawn Brown, who resigned after being convicted of bribery. In 2008 and 2012, he ran unopposed.  He also ran earlier unsuccessful races for mayor and county assessor.

The mayor’s position in the city is not a full-time position, with many of the administrative duties handled by a city administrator. But Pagano said he’s busy most days at his office in city hall. If he had to work elsewhere full time, the job would be hard to keep up with, he said.

The mayor’s salary is $40,000 a year.

“With a $100 million budget we have all those departments, I still get called on a lot and people want to see me for things besides development and other things,” he said.

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