Mayor Pushes for Return of Main Street Trolley

Council considers using money slated for trolley to revamp tourism center instead.

Trolleys likely won't make a return to Main Street St. Charles in 2013, despite an effort from Mayor Sally Faith to include funding for them in the budget. 

Faith budgeted $30,000 to bring back the rubber-wheeled trolley buses in her 2013 budget proposal. In 2010 the city decided to stop running the free trolley due to budget concerns. 

Faith has tried included funding to bring back the trolley last year as well. 

"Really and truly we need this trolley," she said. "We need two trolleys to keep going and doing and everything. I have asked every year and at some point in time... someone will let me get those trolleys." 

Councilman Dave Beckering, Ward-7, pointed out that the city had studied the trolley issue before Faith was elected and found that it was too expensive to pay for the trolleys based on how few people rode it. 

According to a 2010 article published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it cost the city more than $60,000 a year to offer the trolleys free of charge.

The trolleys followed a route that ran along Main Street to Frenchtown to Sundermeier RV Park and back to Ameristar Casino and the Convention Center. 

"It was a ridiculous number in terms of what it cost per rider," Beckering said. "There is no way in today's environment even using tourism funds that I will support putting those trolleys back out there." 

Mike Klinghammer, Ward-8, who works on North Main Street, said he used to watch the trolley go up and down the street and it seldom had anyone on it. He said the council needs to come up with a better plan for the trolley than what they had before. 

During the Oct. 23 work session, the council decided to instead spend the $30,000 allocated for the trolley on a renovation of the tourism office on Main Street. 

David Leezer, economic development director, said the money will be used to take down several walls and improve the layout and functionality of the building. 

The city purchased the former Mary Rents building at Boones Lick and Fifth Street earlier this year, which will eventually be a new tourism center. 

Leezer said the city is still two years away from building a new tourism center on the property, which is why renovations are necessary now on the current building. 

Joe Strehl October 26, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I would totally ride the trolley if it came back! It would be such a better way of getting around Main Street on the weekends then head to Ameristar!
Karl October 27, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I think this is a great idea. St Charles can use the tourist dollars. I think the tolley can add value to persons who choose historic St Charles as a destination.


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