Jun 01

A Message from the County Executive: The Dardenne Creek Blueway

Posted on June 1, 2022 at 8:16 AM by County Executive

I had an opportunity to check out the new Dardenne Creek Blueway recently, and I recommend it to all kayakers and canoers out there! St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano and County Councilwoman Nancy Schneider joined me, and we toured this new water way. While it’s just a 3.5-mile jaunt, it connects the County’s Riverside Landing Park to the City of St. Peters’ 370 Lakeside Park where there are numerous activities for those who love to be outdoors. 

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May 05

A Message from the County Executive: Remarkable Growth

Posted on May 5, 2022 at 1:43 PM by County Executive

“Growth in St. Charles County has been remarkable.” That was the lead sentence in an article in the St. Louis Business Journal by Jacob Kirn in the Dec. 9, 2021 edition of the newspaper. He is correct, it has been. And it continues to be. 

The population of St. Charles County grew 12.4 percent from 2010 (360,485) to 2020 (405,262) and continues to grow. The latest estimates put our population at 411,748, an increase of 1.6 percent or more than 6,000 people in less than two years.

Most of the growth is in the western portion of our county – specifically Wentzville – which grew from 29,070 in 2010 to 44,372 in 2020 – a 52.6 percent increase. O’Fallon also had a significant increase – 15.1 percent during that time – from a population of 79,329 to 91,316. And Cottleville, while just over 3,000 in population, grew 82 percent.

This growth means housing and retail have been on the rise. Despite the pandemic, the County reports year-end 2021 totals for housing and commercial construction permits remained ahead of the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019 and rival those of 2020. O’Fallon, St. Charles, and Wentzville lead the county in the number of single-family home permits.

This growth provides your County government with the challenge of continuing to expand and improve infrastructure and an opportunity to expand its parks system to provide more recreational areas for our growing communities. Many thanks to those who voted for Prop R in April to reauthorize the County’s 1/2-cent Transportation Sales Tax. The proposition passed by nearly 72 percent and ensures we will be able to continue to provide construction of major road projects for growth, safety improvements and congestion relief, and construction of new roads and repair and reconstruction of existing roads and bridges for another 10 years. 

Our Parks and Recreation Department is celebrating its 25th year – a relatively short life for a parks system. But as the county has grown, so have our parks. Today we have 17 parks open and four in reserve. This summer, we plan to open Oglesby Park near Wentzville – 199 acres at 2949 West Meyer Road. We continue to look for new opportunities to make certain that, as our population grows, we have green space to maintain a healthy community.

Amid all this growth remains our dedication to serve the county’s residents, businesses and visitors with public services needed to maintain St. Charles County as a great place to live, work and play. Whether you are new to the area as part of this growth or have grown up in the county, please visit our website to learn more about the services County government offers—from Parks and Community Development to public safety and health.

Mar 24

A Message from the County Executive: 2021 Annual Report Overview

Posted on March 24, 2022 at 10:44 AM by County Executive

As I do each year in March, I presented the County Council with my annual report for St. Charles County government at a recent meeting. For this 2021 report, I focused on recovery, safety, and growth. I’ll be presenting the report at meetings throughout the county in the coming months but want to take this opportunity to give readers an overview. If you want to know more, you can access my slide presentation or watch my presentation to the Council

Recovery. I highlighted the areas of COVID-19, opioid abuse, and the tornado in Defiance in this section. As I’m sure all of you know, COVID-19 is on a downturn presently, but at the end of 2021, and through February of this year, we, along with the rest of the region and state, had our highest peaks since the pandemic began. Overall, our cases, death rates and hospitalizations, have been below many in the region. While 61 percent of our residents have been fully vaccinated, we still encourage those who have not been to do so.

St. Charles County is to receive $19.6 million over the next 18 years in a nationwide settlement against companies that manufactured and distributed opioids. We’ll be looking at the opioid addiction crisis with programs addressing prevention, treatment and law enforcement involvement in fighting the illegal drug trade. While the Medical Examiner has not yet completed all reviews of the 2021 deaths, as of March 15, there were 122 drug-related deaths in St. Charles County, 112 of which were opioid related.

In December, the Defiance area experienced an EF3 tornado which injured three – one fatally – and damages were estimated at $3.4 million. I am thankful and proud of all the agencies across the county that came together to respond to this disaster, as well as the many volunteers who aided in the relief. While the damages were not enough to qualify for Federal disaster funding, the County keeps money in reserve for just this type of disaster.

Safety. When we began experiencing an uptick in auto break-ins early in 2021, St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz, along with other chiefs in the county, and Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar formed an Auto Theft Task Force. Since 70 percent of individuals incarcerated in the St. Charles County Department of Corrections on auto theft-related crimes are not residents of our county, St. Louis County and Maryland Heights police departments have adopted our plan and are now running operations in conjunction with ours. In 2021, auto thefts in St. Charles County were down 15 percent compared to 2020. There is still work to be done and we will keep at it, showing thieves our prosecutor is committed to requiring automatic jail time and higher bonds for anyone caught stealing or breaking into a vehicle in our county.

Growth. The phenomenal growth in St. Charles County continues. The U.S. Census showed our population at 405,262 in 2020, and it now is estimated at more than 411,000. Despite the pandemic, the County reports year-end totals for housing and commercial construction permits for 2021 remained ahead of the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019 and rival those of 2020.

As more people call St. Charles County home, our Parks system is keeping pace. The Parks and Recreation Department is celebrating its 25th year with 21 parks open to the public and four in reserve for a total of 4,151 acres. We acquired land in Wentzville for a new park and a donation of more than 11 acres made it possible to complete a 17-mile portion of the Dardenne Greenway between I-64 and I-70. If you haven’t visited all 21 parks, I’d encourage you to do so! There is truly something at each of them for the entire family to enjoy.

In my report, I told the Council about our low unemployment rate, our increase in gross retail sales, and the infrastructure accomplishments made possible by the County’s ½-cent Transportation Sales Tax. Despite the challenges from COVID, 2021 was a good year for your County, and we’re working our hardest to bring a successful 2022 to our residents as well.