The city of Ballwin has several good reasons to join the West County Day Tripper program – and it’s not to page homage to the Beatles hit of the same name, though it is precisely those residents, who would easily remember that song, who will benefit.
At its Feb. 10 meeting, the Ballwin Board of Aldermen approved joining the cities of Chesterfield, Ellisville, Manchester and Wildwood in a two-year pilot program that provides funding for a 22- to 24- passenger shuttle bus.
“This program is to meet the needs of aging constituents,” explained Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway, who noted that seniors are more active than ever. “It’s a two-year pilot program that would basically give more capacity to what we’re offering.”
There are several reasons for the project. For one, studies have shown that baby boomers remain the fastest-growing segment of our population. Many are living on fixed income rates that are lower than many in our society. So, chartering a bus for any of the several current full-day excursions can be a bit beyond their means.
For this program, the state would offer solid funding to lower the day trip costs for area seniors. In response to a question from Alderman Kevin Roach [Ward 3], City Administrator Bob Kuntz noted that the program would indeed be financially neutral for Ballwin due to that state funding.
Alderman Frank Fleming [Ward 2] cited a similar program in Hazelwood that is extremely popular. “With five [West County] communities, we may need more than the 22-24 seats!” Fleming exclaimed.
City Attorney Robert E. Jones agreed to draft a resolution of support for what amounts to a joint, two-year lease program with an option to buy the van at the end of that time period.
The board also was unanimous in supporting the parks department in the evening’s only consent item for ‘the purchase of staff uniforms and program participant apparel’ for the year 2020.
After soliciting bids from 22 local vendors and receiving five proposals, the city awarded the contract to St. Louis Sportswear, which was the lowest bidder at a cost of $15,743.30.