The professional staff has garnered wide praise from elected leaders and community members for its ability to track down grant funding for projects from outside sources at a time when everyone knows budgets everywhere are tight.
But Tuesday, at least one neighborhood trustee told City Council members that a push to go above and beyond in Creve Coeur's bid to "score well" on a grant application to fund sidewalk and pedestrian improvements along Conway Road could leave residents in the area with a traffic device that they say they don't want and don't need.
At issue, is a traffic beacon, like the one pictured which is located near . Under a project about to be completed along Conway Road, one would be placed at Conway's intersection with Laduemont Drive. The beacon would flash for 20 seconds once a button is pressed, then shut down.
According to a city staff report presented to council members Tuesday, "there was significant interest to add a pedestrian crosswalk signal at the Laduemont/ Conway intersection. This recommendation was made due to the sidewalk alignment crossing from the south side of Conway to the north side of Conway at an uncontrolled intersection."
Sheffield Estate subdivision trustee Jerry Ritter, who has lived there for 40 years, said he hasn't been aware of an accident in the area for decades and hasn't heard of residents who pushed for it. He expressed concern about property values, calling the beacons "ugly" and "unsightly" and "overkill of a non-existent problem." Ritter said his subdivision of 18 residents were unanimously opposed.
Michael Thomas, a trustee for roughly 40 homes in Ladue-Conway Estates, said 15 were strongly opposed, 2 were neutral and 1 was in favor. He added that the existing crosswalks meet standards, and that to put a beacon there would make it look like a school crossing zone when that's not the case.
Later in the discussion, when asked by Ward 2 Councilwoman Tara Nealey where support for the beacon came from, Public Works Director Jim Heines said it was from a city consultant at the time the project was first investigated in 2002, along with the Creve Coeur Police and members of City Council. Residents had been asked their opinion within the last year and a mailer to roughly 300 residents went out in April, according to City Administrator Mark Perkins.
The rest of the project is scheduled to be done by mid-June. The problem now is that the city can't say "no" to the beacon, or even hold onto it for use in a future project without some consequences in additional financial cost, or potentially damaging perceptions from future sources of grant funds.
Council members plan to visit the area in question themselves and give staff a recommendation at the June 11 meeting.
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Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Michael Thomas, a Trustee for the Ladue-Conway Estates, as Michael Jones. The error has been corrected.