Not Everyone in Olivette is Happy With Prop "S" for Public Safety
Aaron and Neal Novack, property owners in the Olivette Executive Parkway think the city can do much better.
It would be fair enough to say, there are some residents and business owners alike in Olivette who are strongly opposed to Proposition “S,” a public safety referendum for $9,365,000 on the August 7 primary ballot.
The purpose of Prop “S” is to fund construction of a new fire station at the present location at 9473 Olive St. and a new administration center and police headquarters building at 1101 Executive Parkway, the entrance to the parkway.
Some of the key opponents are property owners in the Olivette Executive Parkway,
Neal Novack, vice president and principal of J.E. Novack Construction Co., 1144 Olivette Executive Parkway and his brother Aaron, chief architect of the firm are not happy with the plans of the Olivette City Council.
They just feel this building, owned last by TouchPoint Autism and built in the 1980s doesn’t and won’t meet the standards of today.
“This building was built in 1986. We know construction costs and value of buildings and they (the city council) and administration could just do better,” said Aaron Novack.
They have tried previously to get their points across. They’ve had previous meetings with Olivette’s City Manager Mike McDowell.
Both brothers firmly believe the city could build a brand new building, meeting modern standards and codes at a similar cost of the $9.365 million bond issue.
Both point to Frontenac’s new city hall and public safety building as a shining example. That building, built to the tune of just a shade over $10 million houses the city administration, police and fire departments.
The Novacks have every right to voice their views. They own property in Olivette (two buildings in the Olivette Office Park) and pay over $90,000 annually in property taxes. Neil Novack resides in Olivette on Romany Park Lane; Aaron lives in Clayton.
Parking is the big issue, they both cite. The new city hall will have 66 spaces; where they feel more like 120 spaces would be adequate.
Olivette Executive Parkway just held a property owners meeting. “ I can tell you we are going to enforce our indentures strictly,” said Neal Novack. By that, indentures prohibit on-the-street parking at any time throughout the parkway,
Both think other problems exist. The building has two entrances, which will be hard to monitor, especially for evening events.
Plans call for meeting and public space in the building on the second floor, Visitors will have to go up and down hallways to use bathrooms and to enter and exit the buildings.
Even the council chamber is ripe with issues. Once the chambers are completely reconstructed, (including raising the ceiling) a support beam will partially block the audience’s view of the proceedings.
Neither brother has issues with providing for public safety overall. However, they think this whole project could be done in a more business like fashion.
“I assess property and I think paying $2,875 million to acquire the property is too much,” said Neal Novack.
Again, parking presents a major problem. Olivette proposes to destroy fully matured trees along the eastern side of the building to add an additional 16 spaces while reducing green space.
Doug Wolfe, owner of Pro Wolfe Partners, a marketing firm in the parkway is equally as opposed. “This parkway is well noted for ample green space. Now Olivette will be taking some of that away,” said Wolfe who also resides in Olivette in the Chevy Chase subdivision.
Olivette residents have been getting robo phone calls concerning this matter. The calls are paid for by "Citizens for a Better Olivette," Neal Novack, treasurer.
“We are doing survey work and fact-finding,” said Neal Novack. The Novack name is identified on those calls as sponsors.
Both profess to not be running an active opposition campaign. “We are just talking to a lot of people to express our views,” said Neal Novack.