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Wildwood deemed well-positioned after statewide shutdown

At the Wildwood City Council meeting on June 22, and on the heels of St. Louis County’s stay-at-home order, Mayor Jim Bowlin gave a State of the City address in which he touted the city’s current position.

“Our city is in one of the best positions in its history,” he said, at the city’s first live meeting since March. [A Zoom option also was offered for participants who were not quite ready to attend in person.]

“Not only have we successfully weathered the COVID-19 health crisis that has affected the entire country; we responded in significant ways to both help and protect our residents and businesses,” Bowlin said.

He stated that the city is in the process of delivering high-speed Internet access to 91% of rural residents so they can work and study from home, and has expanded seating and event options for restaurants and businesses to help them reopen.

The city, he said, also has made progress in resolving the Lake Chesterfield drainage issue, meeting with stakeholders regarding geophysical surveys and establishing a workable plan at minimal cost to the city. For the first time, it will be based on reliable scientific data, he added.

Bowlin laid out five additional goals: protecting trees and wooded areas in developments; increasing residential lot sizes in Town Center; protecting 3-acre minimums; expanding conflict of interest rules and limiting officials’ use of residents’ private information; and developing workable solutions for erosion occurring around creeks and streets.

Following the mayor’s address, the city clerk swore in council members and Joe Garritano was elected mayor pro-tem. Committee assignments were made, and Larry Brost was elected to serve as the city council liaison for the Planning and Zoning Commission.

In other news, the city will receive approximately 27 acres of property after a generous contribution from the trust of long-time resident Joanna Yost. The donation of future park property at 4064 Hencken Road is to be named Poertner Park.

Site of future Poertner Park

Conditions placed on the donation include that access and use will be free of charge; the property is to be maintained as an undeveloped wildlife refuge and preserved for picnicking, bird watching, hiking and fishing; hunting, shooting or killing will be strictly prohibited; and the property must remain in its natural state.

The council voted to accept the property. In another nature-related topic, the council agreed to allow Chesterfield Montessori School to operate an outdoor educational center at 17950 Pond Bridge Road.

The private, not-for-profit elementary school will use the land to give children the opportunity to study and observe nature. Structural plans call for a 1,700-square-foot premanufactured building with a covered patio area, parking lot and vault-type restroom facility on the 7.19-acre lot.

Site of Montessori School’s outdoor education center

The Planning and Zoning Commission previously approved a conditional use permit and site development plan for the project and the council followed up with a review of the plan, Joe Vujnich, Wildwood’s director of planning and parks, said.

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