City governments face a constant challenge in weighing the needs and desires of most residents against the needs and desires of a few residents.
City Engineer Luke Kehoe briefed the Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen at its May 1 workshop meeting regarding the plan for the North Hanley Road reconstruction project scheduled for construction in 2020. Kehoe summarized the public response to the plan as presented in an open house held at city hall on April 4. Mayor David Zucker joked, “The Cardinal’s home opener was delayed from April 4 to April 5 so as not to conflict with the open house, although perhaps inclement weather had something to do with moving the game.”
Kehoe reported that two homeowners requested eliminating some sidewalks in order to save some trees planted at their front yard property lines. However, he added, “All of the other homeowner comments were positive, especially after they understood the full extent of the improvements, including the new sidewalks, and how the stormwater sewers would work.”
The project will widen Hanley Road from Feise Road to Pleasant Meadow Drive to two standard lanes with selected center lanes for left turns, curbs, sidewalks and a signaled crosswalk. Storm sewers will replace the existing stormwater ditches.
After Kehoe’s update, Zucker asked the aldermen to think about the homeowner feedback and be prepared to provide project guidance in the near future when North Hanley Road engineering plans are presented for formal approval by the board. Alderman John Gotway [Ward 3] said he was thinking about the project’s intent to create infrastructure “for the next 40 or 50 years,” and believed this is the time to look at the long-term instead of a few short-term objections. Alderman Kevin Klingerman [Ward 1] agreed with Gotway’s view and said the city “should do all that it could for this project now because the results will last for decades.”
Alderman Mike Costlow [Ward 2] asked how much money would be saved by eliminating the sidewalk from the west side of the street. Kehoe said it would save about $40,000 of the $1.8 million total project cost. Zucker pointed out that St. Charles County and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments are covering 90% of the cost and the city is covering 10%. He said the actual savings to the city, created by eliminating the west sidewalk, would be only 10% of $40,000 or $4,000.
Armed with that information, Costlow said, “It would seem wise to put in both sidewalks now, before any additional growth in the area, and to avoid potentially higher costs to do that work 10 years down the road.”
Zucker closed the discussion by asking all of the aldermen to keep thinking about this for when it comes time to provide approval for the North Hanley Road final plans and RFP, as well as the future Stump Road project with similar plans for sidewalks. He also reminded the board about Star Trek’s Vulcan logic: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.”