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Election Preview: Mayoral Race in Dardenne Prairie

Dardenne Prairie City Hall
Dardenne Prairie City Hall (File photo)

On April 6, voters in Dardenne Prairie will head to the polls to elect a new mayor. To help voters get to know who the candidates are and to better understand their priorities for their cities, Mid Rivers Newsmagazine asked each candidate to answer the questions shown below, plus “What specific skills will you bring to the position?”

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine has not verified and does not endorse the statements made by the candidates. Candidates in all races are listed in ballot order; incumbents are identified with an asterisk after their names. 

Q1. What inspired you to run for the office of mayor?

Q2. What specific skills will you bring to the position?

Q3.What are your priorities if elected? 

Q4. Dardenne Prairie is made up of land parcels that are separated by sections of unincorporated St. Charles County, which can make it seem fragmented. As mayor, how would you encourage economic development within the city and strengthening its identity with residents and visitors alike? 

David C. Zucker*

Q1. I have served as mayor since May 2015. With the Board of Aldermen, we have restored public trust in our city government. We carefully manage the public’s tax dollars. We continue to deliver important services to our residents, including a vastly increased program of street maintenance and repair, and the development of the new Dardenne Prairie Athletic Complex. We have expanded parks and recreation programs to include cricket, pickleball, corn hole tournaments, concerts in the park, senior programs and more. We are managing residential and commercial development with care and a commitment to keep Dardenne Prairie the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Q2. I am retired from 20 years of active duty with the U.S. Army, serving as an Army lawyer in the Judge Advocate Generals’ Corps (JAG). I retired from 21 years of private law practice serving large and small business clients and individuals. I have served in Dardenne Prairie city government since 2014, first as an alderman, then as mayor since 2015.

Q3. My priorities are to continue to expand our program of street and sidewalk repairs; complete the construction of the Dardenne Prairie Athletic Complex; carefully guide continued residential and commercial development; and pursue improved access directly into Dardenne Prairie from I-64 and Route 364.

Q4. There are over 100 acres of property along Technology Drive west of Post Road and along Town Square Avenue that are ripe for development or redevelopment. To promote that development we will continue to pursue approval by MoDOT of a proposed exit from westbound I-64 to Technology Drive as the “front door” to Dardenne Prairie. We will also pursue improved access to/from Route 364 near the Town Square Shopping Center and Youth Activity Park. Where possible, we have annexed isolated parcels into the city. We renamed a portion of Hwy. N to “Town Square Avenue” to strengthen the city’s identity and promote the Town Square Shopping Center.

John Gotway

Q1. As an alderman for the past six years I witnessed too many times how the current city direction does not fit with serving the residents of Dardenne Prairie. For example, the over $3 million renovation of the ballpark adjacent to city hall, which represents less than 200 Dardenne Prairie families. The majority of ball players using that facility are from outside cities. The renovation was good for the city but the $3 million-plus price tag was totally unnecessary and out of scope with the parks plan that favors a hiking and biking trail system. I will lead in the direction that best serves our residents.

Q2. My skill set is long and varied. In addition to 32 years at Boeing/McDonnell Douglas (systems engineering and logistics support), I have background in nearly all of the construction trades. At a recent board meeting, I listened to the mayor and some aldermen talk extensively about why potholes could not be filled within an acceptable time. Two days later I bought a $9 sack of pothole cold patch and in about 15 minutes fixed the pothole. As mayor, I will bring the skills and common sense to get many things done without forming a committee or paying for a study.

Q3. My first priority is our streets. Currently, the amount of time it takes to get our streets repaired is unacceptable. We need to generate and allocate funds to get our streets fixed and well maintained, even if it means a modest tax increase. I will reach out to build relationships with surrounding communities. Our relationships with O’Fallon and St. Charles Community College are horribly broken. We need good, mutually respectful, working relations with neighboring communities. For the past several years I have seen too much spending directed toward special interests. As mayor, I will focus spending, especially parks fund spending, toward the common good of Dardenne Prairie. 

Q4. It is not only St. Charles County but also the city of O’Fallon that makes Dardenne Prairie seem fragmented to non-residents. Wherever our property lines border other communities it is essential to have good working relations and close communications with those communities before any economic development can proceed. As mayor, I will rebuild the broken relations, gain mutual respect, and keep open and honest communication with O’Fallon, St. Charles County, MoDOT, St. Charles Community College and all other bordering entities. Then, and only then, will economic development succeed and our identity with residents and visitors be strengthened.

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