When I first moved to St. Charles County there was so much open space, I felt like I had moved to the country. It didn’t take long, however, to see the farm fields turn into rooftops and streets. And that is when I decided to run for office and try to make a change. My campaign slogan was “preserving the past and assuring the future.” What I meant by that was to preserve as much open space as possible so that future generations could enjoy what I did when my family and I moved to St. Charles County.
My career with St. Charles County as a Council Member serving District 7 began on April 3, 2001, at a special election to replace outgoing Council Member Carl Bearden. Since then, I have run and won four elections to serve the citizens of District 7. During my first term, I enjoyed working with County Executive Joe Ortwerth. He was the right man at the right time and place to establish St. Charles as a first-class county. One of Ortwerth’s goals was getting Highway 364 (the Page Extension) to run through St. Charles County to help alleviate the traffic jams on Highway 70 and Highway 61/64. I am proud to have been a part of that project.
Shortly after I was elected, I tried to seek out open space. I was fortunate enough to meet a lovely couple named Bill and Nancy Knowles. They owned property at Highway 364 and Upper Bottom Road. After getting to know them and understanding that they did not ever want to see development, they decided to donate their property to the County for a future park made known as Spring Bend Park. This park will be connected to the Heritage Museum Park by the Centennial Trail thus making it a great lineal park.
As a proponent of open space and trails I am proud to have been part of the development of our wonderful and diverse park system. Under the leadership of two County Executives, Joe Ortwerth and Steve Ehlmann, as well as three great park directors, Curt Loupe, Bettie Yahn-Kramer and Ryan Graham, we now have over 4,000 acres of parkland and trails. This is one of the factors that makes St. Charles County a great place to live.
Through the years there have been many changes in the county. Developments now sit on disappearing vacant land. These developments bring families who will enjoy all the county has to offer, but the growth brings increased traffic and water runoff issues. Through the actions of the St. Charles County Council in cooperation with the St. Charles County Executive’s office, there have been great strides made to combat these and other issues.
I’ve had the pleasure to have served on the St. Charles County Planning and Zoning Commission, the Parks and Recreation Board, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, the University of Missouri Extension Service, and as a board member for the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. Along with those activities, I have been involved in the organization of the upcoming St. Charles County Parks and Recreation’s Spring Bend Park, the Harvester/Mid Rivers Optimists – Heritage Trail, and pushed for improvements on Highway 364 at the Heritage subdivision entrance.
I have also enjoyed working with County Executive Steve Ehlmann through the years. He has guided us through some very difficult times. I’ve had the pleasure to work with so many different County Council members. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and caliber of our County employees; there are so many dedicated, intelligent people working for the County.
Of all the goals and achievements while serving I cannot boast of achieving them alone. I am forever grateful to all who have helped me through the past years achieving my goals. I would especially like to express my gratitude to the Council staff, Carol Miller, Donna Vogt and Claire Felder for their support and help.
I have enjoyed my entire time serving the citizens of District 7 and believe they will be in good hands with the new Council Member, Tim Baker. I will miss the challenges of overcoming obstacles as well as the good times when things were going well. Helping people is the reason I ran for this office and will continue to help when needed and asked. I will be ever appreciative of the time that I was able to serve as a St. Charles County Councilman. I’ve met so many wonderful people who have enriched my life.
My world will become different now. I plan to focus on personal projects including land conservation. Thank you for allowing me to serve District 7 for so long!