Picture it this way: You have five pre-teen and teen-aged children and you live in a two-bedroom house. Furthermore, the roof leaks and the kitchen is a wreck. What would you do?
Naturally, you’d put a for sale sign in the yard and move out ASAP. The City of Olivette has rapidly become the Little Old Woman in the Shoe. She has so many children, she doesn’t know what to do.
The present government building at 9473 Olive Blvd. purchased by the city in 1950 is woefully inadequate for today’s needs. The building is only some 12,000 square feet, and it houses a cramped fire department; a squeezed in police department, administrative offices, court space and a meager council chamber.
Something has to give.
In August, Olivette will go to the voters with two propositions (Proposition S for Public Safety and Proposition P for Parks) to do something about the dire needs of this community of 7,500 residents.
“We can’t go on like this anymore. Something has to give,” said Olivette’s Police Chief Rick Knox. “Our council as given us the tools to operate a first-class police department and we lack the facility space to do our work. We don’t have adequate locker room space for our officers or evidence storage space either. You just have to keep pace with the changing times.”
Fire Chief John Bailot, who supervised the construction of three different fire houses in Kirkwood knows all too well.
“The new facility would give us four bays and 16,000 square feet. We are nowhere near that today. We are out of space and totally cramped. Our sleeping areas, workout facilities and bathrooms all run together and that is not a healthy situation. We’re just outdated and we’ve hit the limits,” said the fire chief.
Going to the electorate
On August 7, residents in the City of Olivette will vote on two propositions to authorize City of Olivette bonds to acquire and build new public safety and parks and recreation facilities in the City.
Proposition “S” authorizes $9,365,000 of City of Olivette General Obligation bonds to relocate the City Hall and Police Station and to build a new fire station in the current City Hall location. The primary focus of this proposition is improving public safety facilities and capacity for Olivette residents and businesses.
Olivette currently has no debt obligations and a sunset provision calls for the Prop P and S bonds to be paid in 20 years.
Plans for the parks too
Proposition “P” authorizes $3,020,000 of City of Olivette General Obligation bonds to redevelop and rebuild Warson Park for a comprehensive outdoor athletic and recreation complex. (More on that in a separate article).
The two referendums are separate from each other and require separate majority votes of four-sevenths in order to pass.
If this referendum passes, the city will move five departments (administration, courts, police, public works and parks and recreation) into the vacated TouchPoint Autism building at 1101 Olive Executive Parkway at Olive Street. The police would use the bottom floor and the other departments will occupy the space on the second floor in a 20,000 foot square building.
The bond elections will be held in connection with statewide primaries on August 7.
Olivette has scheduled five more public forums to explain the ramifications of Prop S and Prop P. They are July 9, 18, 24, 18 and 31, all at 7 p.m. other than the July 28th meeting at 10 a.m. All meetings are at city hall.
All of the information is on the city’s current website.
“We’re busting at the seams and we need to do something about it,” said Mike McDowell, Olivette’s City Manager. “This was a small fire house in the 1950s and we’ve expanded several times. Olivette residents passed a bond issue in 1952, its first expansion in the city’s 80-year history.
“This building does not meet seismic standards. There is no public entrance. We are not fully covered by a sprinkler system and there is no emergency power for the building,” said McDowell.
$100,000 home $4.20 per month
$200,000 home $8.39 per month
$250,000 home $10.49 per month
$300,000 home $12.39 per month
More on this referendum in the days ahead.
Tomorrow, read about Prop P for parks in the City of Olivette.