I hope that this newsletter finds you and your family well. This another beautiful weekend and I hope you are enjoying it. I am sure many of our Wildwood friends are watching the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show, whether you made it to the Chesterfield Valley or from your yard.
Since I last wrote to you, we swore in the recently elected council members that won the April 2022 election (See photo below).
I am also pleased and honored to share that the City Council re-elected me to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem for our city. This is a role that serves when the Mayor is unable to preside over a meeting. I greatly appreciate my colleagues for their vote of confidence to serve in this capacity.
I am also continuing to serve as Chair for the Administration & Public Works Council Committee and will continue serving on the Wildwood Celebration Commission (WCC). The members of WCC selected resident Libby Wilson and I to serve as Co-Chairs. I am excited about the work we are doing to plan for a fun, safe, and enjoyable Celebrate Wildwood event on September 24th.
This year I was also appointed to the Economic Development Committee for the first time. I’m thrilled to be on this committee as a majority of Wildwood businesses make their home in Ward 8 that I represent. I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to make Wildwood an attractive choice for businesses looking for a new place to call home. The Town Center serves as a the economic center of our city. We also have home-based businesses throughout Wildwood that are run by our residents.
I have numerous updates to share with you in this newsletter. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need any assistance. I can be reached at 314-750-5489 or by email (email@example.com).
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and our city. Enjoy the summer and stay cool. We’re expected some very hot temperatures over the next week.
‘22 Elected City Council Members Sworn-In
Summer Concerts are Back!
On May 20th, we kicked-off the summer concert series of Wildwood’s Music on Main with Dr. Zhivegas performing to packed crowd! It was a beautiful evening. In addition to the entertainment, attendees enjoyed free water, soda, hot dogs, kettle corn, and snow cones!
Save these dates for these upcoming concerts:
This Friday! June 17th with the ever popular Midnight Piano Band.
July 15th with Fat Pocket performing.
August 19th ~The Back to School Party with Griffin and the Gargoyles. The evening always features kids activities, including bounces houses, climbing wall, face painters, and balloon artists, all followed by a great concert.
September 24th ~ Celebrate Wildwood.
Are you Protected if Your Sewer Lateral Fails?
We need to take action, because you are likely not protected.
Friends, this is a story that I wish no homeowner has to face. The reality is that it did happen to one of my neighbors and it can happen to you. By the time you finish reading this story, I think you will agree - we need to do something to protect all of our neighbors and homeowners from the expensive burden of a sewer lateral repair.
Several weeks ago, I received a call from a neighbor asking if my HOA’s insurance policy covered sewer lateral failure. Unfortunately, HOA insurance only covers property belonging to an HOA, such as common ground, so there was no way to help in this situation. My neighbor had encountered a sewer backup into her basement that caused damage to the lower level living area of her home. A sewer repair company had been called and after several failed efforts to clear the blockage, it was discovered that the sewer lateral line had collapsed. However, the line had collapsed in probably what is the worst of cases, underneath the street before it connects to the main.
Let me pause for a second and explain for those of you wondering, what is a sewer lateral? A sewer lateral is the pipe that connects a home's or business' plumbing to the sanitary sewer system. Wastewater from your sinks, showers, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines flows through the lateral line to the public sewer system. A significant number of Wildwood’s residents are connected to MSD, also known as the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. Others that do not rely on public sewer may have a private wastewater treatment system.
According to MSD, “the lateral line, including connection, is private property. It is the property owners’ responsibility to maintain and repair the lateral line. It’s important to keep the lateral line clear of obstructions and in good repair. This will greatly reduce the risk of blockages, clogs and water backups. Lateral lines can be blocked or obstructed by items flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain, as well as tree roots, grease, and other obstructions.”
Now, let’s get back to my neighbor’s problem. As I mentioned earlier, it was discovered underneath the street, in fact it was 11 feet below. In order to get to her sewer lateral, she had to:
pay a contractor to break open the street,
pay for traffic control around the construction site,
pay for a trench protection system (shown in the photo) to protect the workers,
pay to fix the pipe,
pay to fill the excavation site with stone, and
pay for a new slab of concrete pavement for the street.
All of this was necessary, just to get to where the pipe had failed. At the end of the job, the bill to this homeowner to get sewer service restored was about $30,000 - and all of it out of her pocket. Her homeowner’s insurance did not cover it, because the break was not on her property - remember it happened underneath the street.
Now if you live in Ballwin, the voters approved in 1999 a sewer lateral insurance program that charges a $28 annual fee collected on your real estate tax bill and your covered up to $4,500.
If you live in Ellisville, you’re covered too for your $28 fee and they will take care of the excavation, repair or replacement of only the defective portion of the sewer line, backfilling, repairing sidewalks, driveways, and street pavement, and seeding and strawing of the disturbed portion of the yard.
If you live in Clarkson Valley, they too will cover you for your $28 a year. If you live in Chesterfield, your repairs are covered up to $15,000. In fact, even if you live in unincorporated St. Louis County, you’re covered too! Nearly 70 municipalities out of the 80+ in St. Louis County have some form of sewer lateral insurance program for their citizens.
What about if you live in Wildwood? Wildwood homeowners currently have NO coverage. Nada, zero, zilch! Sorry to be the bearer of this bad news. Wildwood did try back in April 2014 to get the necessary voter approval for this type of program, like all of the above mentioned cities did with success. However, Wildwood voters rejected a sewer lateral insurance program in the April 2014 election. 46.3% voted in favor and 53.7% voted against.
Recently, a real estate agent informed me that they are seeing more and more of these sewer lateral issues pop up during inspections in Wildwood. I expect we will see more as neighborhoods continue to mature and age. As you may know, Wildwood is approaching 27 years since it’s incorporation.
In closing, I believe no citizen should have to bear the burden of a potential $30,000+ unplanned bill when we have the option of implementing an insurance program that many of our neighboring cities have offered for years to their citizens. We need to do something to provide protection for those that connect to a public sewer and are willing to pay a nominal annual fee.
I urge you to talk with your neighbors about this topic and reach out to your local elected officials to help raise awareness. We need to take action and provide our citizens with the same protection that many others already have for over 20 years.
In the meantime, there may be some options through private insurance companies if you are interested, although they may be a bit costlier than a city sponsored program. I recommend speaking with your agent or broker for more information.
Lucky Dog Central Opens for Business
It was an honor, along with a furry friend Max, to help welcome another new business that has chosen to make its home in Wildwood, Missouri. We held a ribbon cutting last weekend in partnership with the West St. Louis County Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Adam & Diana Mekler’s opening of Lucky Dog Central in the historic Grover area of Wildwood.
Stop by and visit Lucky Dog Central at 16917 Manchester Rd. They are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Future plans for Lucky Dog Central call for a dog-friendly cafe and expanded hours.
Farmers Market Open Saturdays
The Wildwood Farmers Market, located in the Wildwood Town Center on Plaza Dr, is now open every Saturday from 8:00am to noon. The market will be open each Saturday through October, except for the weekend of Celebrate Wildwood on September 24th. At the market you will find fresh produce, locally raised meat and eggs, fresh cut flowers, handmade items, and much more.
A list of market vendors is typically posted each week prior to Saturday at the Wildwood Farmers Market Facebook page.
Wildwood Celebration Commission Plans
Recently, our Wildwood Celebration Commission made up of citizen volunteers from each ward conducted a site visit at city property adjacent to City Hall. This area will be used for picnic tables, Boy Scout exhibitions, and bounce houses. We’re excited to plan another super fun weekend to Celebrate Wildwood, taking place on Saturday, September 24th.
Thank you to the commission for entrusting me as co-chair and congratulations to Libby Wilson as fellow co-chair. I’m excited about the team and ideas that we will co-create!
Share Feedback for the Future Route 66 Roadside Park
Park proposed for Manchester Rd & Grover Crossing Dr
The Historic Preservation Commission is proposing to establish a Historic Route 66 Roadside Park as a tribute to this legacy on a half-acre parcel acquired by the City in 2019, which is in the core of Town Center at the southeastern corner of Grover Crossing Dr and Manchester Rd. The parcel is located on the original Route 66, from 1926-1932, before the road was realigned. SWT Design, a landscape architectural firm, has been selected to develop potential design concepts for the site, in conjunction with the public input and participation of interested stakeholders.
Wildwood Receives the McReynolds Award
The Wildwood area has a rich history that stretches long before the city was incorporated in 1995. In 2013, the Wildwood Historic Preservation Commission decided to document and interpret the area’s history using signs narrating the history, background, and character of various locations. The information provided was thoroughly researched using local repositories and sources. While many planning and design decisions were made in the summer of 2013, the project was a multi-phase process. The first markers were placed in the communities of Glencoe and Pond, largely due to their locations on city-owned property. The next two installations included the Monarch and Westland Acres communities, both located on the north end of the city. Each installed marker was accompanied by a ceremony to commemorate the occasion and all marker locations include a parking pad to make it easier for people to stop and read the signs. In addition to the signage, the Historic Preservation Commission has developed a corresponding Points of Interest map which encourages visitors and residents to take a driving tour throughout the area, read the signs, see the sites, and learn more about the area’s historical significance. Missouri Preservation recognized the Wildwood Historic Preservation Commission for their efforts to preserve and interpret their community’s history.
Micro Meadows Opens
Micro Meadows is now open in the Dierbergs Wildwood Town Center at Taylor Rd & Main St. The store is open Monday to Friday 10am-6pm and Saturdays 10-4. Come check out this beautiful new store.
The Exercise Coach Opens
The Exercise Coach, 101 Plaza Drive, opened on Wednesday, June 1. Stop by and visit Don and Jessica to see their new business.
Photo: The Exercise Coach Facebook page
Local Government Success
Recently, newly elected officials throughout Missouri began their terms to serve their communities. Read my May/June President's Column titled "Your Local Government Success" in the Missouri Municipal League (MML) Review magazine where I share some of the lessons I have learned as an elected official and through leadership in the MML.
Elected Officials Training
I have been blessed to serve as President of the Missouri Municipal League (MML) while serving as a Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem for Wildwood. My term as MML President will end in September. However, I will continue to serve on the board while I remain as an elected official.
Recently, over 250 elected officials, and many newly elected for the first time, attended the annual Elected Officials Training Conference. This event provided an opportunity to hear from a range of attorneys, and government and elected officials speak about topics that are important to running our cities in the most ethical and transparent manner. I am inspired by the energy and interest that these folks show to serve their communities.
Wildwood (pre-incorporation) was home to one of two dinner theaters in St. Louis called “The Barn Dinner Theater”. It open on New Years Eve in 1971. Later on The Barn was converted to a banquet hall and eventually became a “Bubba & Coy’s Southern Style Catfish” restaurant until it was sold a few years later.
Where was this in Wildwood? Answer below.
Answer: The site of the New Community Church.