As it turns out, the big story of the week was the stunning election results in Olivette. Nearly 50 percent of the voters went to the polls to decide these two initiatives.
Proponents of the two referendums in Olivette, Proposition “S” for public safety and Proposition “P” for parks saw both of their referendums go down to defeat last night. (Tuesday, August 7).
Proposition “S” was a $9 million dollar proposal to renovate an office building in the Olivette Executive Parkway for a new city hall and police station.
Plans included building a new fire house where city hall stands today.
Prop “P” for some $3 million would have paved the way for the demolition of the Olivette Community Center, and the addition of five ball fields, tennis courts, new play ground areas and other outdoor amenities.
The backers of the referendums found out pretty much how tough economic times are right now.
The vote for Prop “S” went this way: yes, 1,217 (55.12 percent); no, 991 (44.88 percent). The yes side needed 57 percent to pass. Supporters calculated a swing of 22 or 23 votes would have pushed this over the top.
Prop “P” for parks didn’t fare nearly as well. The yes votes were 1,097 (49.80 percent ) and no 1,106 (50.20 percent). The vote came up short of a simple majority.
Some citizens, mostly property owners in the Olivette Executive Parkway took issue with this campaign, and fought hard for the defeat, especially of Prop “S.” They were opposed to remaking a 1980s building, adding more parking to the structure and the general nuisance they felt would be coming to their quiet parkway.
Mayor Arthur Merdinian of Olivette said “I’m incredibly disappointed with these results. A lot of people worked towards the success of this initiatives and right now, I don’t know if we will even bring it back around again.”
City Manager Mike McDowell felt this moment was critical for the future of the city. “Interests rates to do these projects will likely never be lower than right now,” said McDowell.
Former Mayor/present alderman Missy Waldman was also disappointed with the outcome. “This was a democratic decision and I’m disappointed the way it ended up. We will have to sit down and look at the situation and see what we want to do next.
A lot of people worked very hard on these issues. Our public relations firm (Steinbach-Musen) worked hard on this. I am sorry the way it worked out.”