Several infrastructure upgrades are among the items Richmond Heights will address in the near future, City Manager Amy Hamilton said Thursday.
She spoke during a joint meeting of officials from Richmond Heights, Maplewood and the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District. The event, held in the MRH High School library, featured a dinner and presentations from Hamilton, Maplewood City Manager Marty Corcoran and the district's superintendent, Linda Henke.
The bridge over Laclede Station Road near West Rankin Drive will be replaced this spring, Hamilton said. The present structure doesn't meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the new bridge will correct. The new bridge will resemble the one on Dale Avenue near The Heights community center.
"That's going to be a great improvement," Hamilton said. A grant from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments will be the primary source of funding for the project.
Additionally, Richmond Heights recently received a grant to begin work on the Dale Avenue Great Streets Project. It will cover improvements to the section of Dale located between Laclede Station Road and Telle Tire and Auto Service, which lies at the avenue's intersection with Big Bend Boulevard.
Other plans include the creation of an outdoor MRH classroom that will be located at The Heights. That site will feature a sensory garden with native plants. It would be located next to an existing playground.
The project is expected to cost approximately $233,000, the majority of which would be paid for using grant money, according to the Oct. 18 meeting minutes of the Richmond Heights City Council. Richmond Heights was expected to pay approximately $13,600 in cash and $11,400 in an in-kind match toward the project.
Hamilton also noted that:
- The Richmond Heights Post Office is looking to relocate from its 9,000-square-foot facility to a smaller 2,500-square-foot space.
- Nordstrom is expected to open a store in September in the Saint Louis Galleria. As a result, additional stores are expected to open in the fall in anticipation of the Christmas season, Hamilton said.
- A complete renovation of the Cheshire Lodge is planned, and the developer has asked for public assistance with the project.
- Clayshire Electric and Hi-Fi Fo-Fum are among the businesses that have closed recently. "The city is watching to see what happens with those properties," she said.
- A town hall meeting about the future of Hadley Township development is planned in February. City staff have met with developers interested in the area, but none have had the financing to pay for any projects at that location. Later in the evening, Mayor James Beck spoke briefly about the project in response to a question. "We're trying to bring the neighborhood back and do frontage," Beck said. "So it can be piecemeal."
Henke told those in attendance that 2010 proved to be a good year financially for the MRH district. The MRH Board of Education cut $150,000 from the district's most recent budget and is expected to cut at least that much out of the next one. At the same time, a small bond issue provided needed funding. District officials are watching to see how much the state of Missouri will cut from its education budget, she said.
Parking at the high school is one issue the district plans to address in the near future. Community members would like to use the school's new auditorium to host events, and having additional parking would facilitate those requests.
"I think this is going to make a big difference," Henke said.
Among the district's accomplishments: A perfect score on its Annual Performance Report from the state. The district got a 14 in 2010, Henke said. In the past, that figure has been closer to 11 or 12. The number reflects factors such as the number of students taking advanced courses and standardized test scores.
Officials ended the night with a discussion of sustainability efforts by the cities and district.