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St. Charles County awaits news of St. Louis regional Amazon bid

St. Charles County officials still are awaiting clarification on whether sites submitted by five county cities to the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership are included in the region’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Mary Enger, communications director for St. Charles County government, said Oct. 12 that County Executive Steve Ehlmann had not received a briefing on the information the bid would include. The deadline for submitting the bid is Oct. 19.

Amazon’s second headquarter may generate 50,000 jobs and amount to a $5 billion construction project. Amazon’s announcement also has sparked interest around the country as cities and metropolitan regions race to finalize their bids.

In an interview with Mid Rivers Newsmagazine on Sept. 21, Ehlmann said he has been concerned whether the St. Louis regional proposal would include sites and information throughout the region or only those in St. Louis City and County. That discussion continued on Sept. 27 at the monthly meeting of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Board of Directors meeting.

At the meeting, during a briefing on the Amazon proposal by St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Sheila Sweeney, he sharply questioned how information submitted by the county would be weighed and reviewed.

The mayors of the county’s largest municipalities – Sally Faith of St. Charles, Kathy Schweikert of Lake Saint Louis, Len Pagano of St. Peters, Bill Hennessy of O’Fallon, and Nick Guccione of Wentzville – signed a letter asking that five sites they submitted be part of the formal submittal for the region.

“Since the RFP [request for proposal] did not place any restriction on the specific number of sites which could be submitted, we believe that these five sites deserve full consideration,” the letter states.

The letter continues that St. Charles County remains “the growth center of our region.”  These cities collectively represent more than 250,000 residents.

“People continue to move into our county to enjoy its excellent school districts, well-priced housing and community amenities,” the letter states. “Our communities remain safe and are highly desirable places to live, work and play.”  The letter adds that the mayors “look forward to being part of the joint submittal.”

At the council meeting, Sweeney told Ehlmann and other directors, who are the chief elected officials of the Missouri and Illinois bi-state region, that all the information submitted would be evaluated.  Sweeney said county officials would be briefed on the final bid.

The board discussed signing off on the finalized proposal with a support letter with directors meeting in closed session. But that session was canceled this week.

Whether the St. Louis area is successful with its bid or not, the work done on developing site information may be helpful when other development possibilities come along in the future.

Lake Saint Louis City Administrator Paul Markworth said one of the positives that came out of compiling information was finding out all the utilities that serve the site the city proposed for Amazon.  “We really didn’t have our arms around that,” Markworth said. “Now we do.”

Lake Saint Louis proposed a 230-acre site just west of the Shoppes at Hawke Ridge shopping center, along Lake Saint Louis Boulevard and north of Hwy. N, all inside its city limits.

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