Prop "S" for Public Safety and Prop "P" for Parks Before the Olivette Voters Tuesday
Former Mayor Ruth Springer heads committee efforts for Olivette's future.
Judging by the number of yard signs along Old Bonhomme Road and other major thoroughfares in Olivette, it looks like The propositions on the ballot Tuesday, “S” for public safety and “P” for parks should be headed to victory.
Still, a strong turnout will be necessary. There are opponents of these propositions and their yard signs are up in places too.
The Committee for Olivette’s Future has some heavy hitters driving these issues. For one, long-time revered and now retired Olivette Police Chief Hank Davenport has lent his good name to the campaign. Other prominent citizens have endorsed these propositions including community volunteer Mark Biernacki, retired Rabbi Jeffrey Stiffman, local developer Greg Yawitz and artist Marian Steen-Knox, wife of the present police chief Rick Knox.
In fact Steen-Knox felt so strong about this, she has written a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, urging passage of these referendum items.
Committee Chair Ruth Springer, former Olivette mayor and active member of the Planning & Community Design Commission was anxious to refute charges by the “No group.”
“This is all about “NIMBY,” not in make back yard,” she retorts. “These bond issues have been planned now for three years; it was studied by a long-range task force of citizens and this has been under discussion all that time.
Now, as we are planning on rehabbing a building in the Olivette Executive Parkway (1101 Executive Parkway) are we getting opposition,” she said. “Only after the plan was coming to their office parkway did the opposition start up,” she said.
“They (the opposition) have even suggested we take the Smoke Land building (just to the west of city hall) by eminent domain. That’s a dirty word anywhere. The owner of that building wants at least $2 million for that piece of property, we would have to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and that could be tied up in the courts for at least three years.”
The Renaissance Building which is listed for $3.750 million is only 5,000 square feet bigger than the property the city is wanting to buy. The building at 1101 is 20,0000 square feet. If you take the per sq ft number listed below and do the math, the building at 1101 should actually sell for $3,000,000 which is about $200,000 less than we're actually buying it for.
That's the real comparable, not the numbers the Aaron and Neil Novack and Doug Wolf are giving to the public. The Renaissance Building is actually on Olive, not in the Industrial Park and more closely resembles the building under consideration than any of the comparables the opposition is trying to give tothe public.
Springer says we can’t wait a moment longer to begin. She cites information found in the committee’s campaign literature:
- The present building has no fire suppression sprinkler system.
- City Hall has an antiquated and inadequate heating system
- The building falls far short of code for earthquake or tornado safety
- The fire fighters barely can get custom-built trucks out the door
- The police department facilities are far inadequate and outdated
“Now the opponents (primarily business men who own property in the Olivette Executive Parkway) want us to adopt the ‘Ponderosa plan,’”
The old Ponderosa restaurant on the south side of Olive Street is on a little over 1.4 acres of ground and developers want at least $1.2 million to purchase the property.
“All of these other plans called for are way too expensive. We’ve had an expert who builds out existing buildings working on these plans. Interests rates are very low and this is the time to move forward,” said Springer.
Jeff Springer, the former mayor’s husband said there are three things that make a city great: “great public safety, beautiful parks and excellent schools.”
The Springers think the propositions on Olivette’s ballots are well thought out and will help the city solve these issues.
The decision is now in the hands of the voters.