O’Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy delivered his annual State of the City address Friday [Jan. 6] and he saved the biggest news for last.
“Although we have only began to scratch the surface of our infrastructure needs, I am proud to announce that beginning in 2017, we are launching a multi-year effort to upgrade and improve our city’s infrastructure needs over the next decade,” Hennessy said.
“This campaign, which we’re dubbing Renew O’Fallon, will be branded with signage on each project, so you know exactly what we are doing and where your tax dollars are going.”
Although O’Fallon dates back to the 1850s, most of it was built during the last 30 to 50 years, the mayor added.
He compared the city’s current infrastructure status to people in middle age – things start to break down, muscles that never ached before start to hurt and bones creak and crack more.
“Today, much of our city has reached this middle age and the level of care and the cost of repairs is increasing each year,” Hennessy said.
“This year, we are investing more than $10 million dollars into Renew O’Fallon, starting with street and road improvements in every area of the city,” he said. “No matter where you live, you can expect to see crews in your neighborhood fixing streets this year, and this is only the beginning. Over the next 10 years, nearly every aging street in the city will be repaired.”
Beyond street projects, Renew O’Fallon will upgrade water and sewer systems, beginning with a critical project, the replacement of Main Street’s water main. “This water main is more than 60 years old and as nearby residents and businesses will tell you, it can no longer handle the growing needs of our city, leading to frequent breaks and repairs,” Hennessy said.
“The entire line, from Pittman to Tom Ginnever, will be dug up and replaced over the next 18 months,” he said. This $2.1 million project is crucial to the development of the city’s north side. Since the line runs under Main Street, there will be some pedestrian and traffic inconveniences during this project but the city is committed to minimize its impact on its residents and businesses.
With more than $4 million committed to 13 storm water projects, Renew O’Fallon will address key problem areas throughout the city, such as drainage improvements and erosion control, etc.
He said the city will also begin design work on the $16 million I-70 Corridor Project, drastically improving the Hwy. K and Main Street interchange and improving access to the north and south sides of the interstate.
“2017 is only the beginning. When combined with the nearly $40 million we have committed for the Justice Center, O’Day and Civic Park improvements and the next decade of road, street and other infrastructure improvements, Renew O’Fallon will bring more than $100 million in investment to our city over the next 10 years,” the mayor said. “It’s much needed; and it is thanks to you, our residents and business owners, that we are able to do this.”