City Buys Former Mary Rents Building
Plan is to turn the property into a visitors center and transportation facility.
St. Charles is a step closer to building a visitors center and transportation facility at the intersection of Fifth Street and Boone's Lick Road.
The city council last week approved the purchase of the former Mary Rents property at 453 Boone's Lick Road for $392,000 on an 8-0 vote. Council members Mary West, Ward-4, and Mike Weller, Ward-5, were absent.
The property was owned by Carl and Regina Hoerman, who bought it in 1996 for $160,000.Its value had most recently been assessed in 2011 for $207,748.
Mary Rents, a tool rental business, moved to their new location on North Second Street in June, which raised questions about whether the city would
try to buy it as a possible location for a tourism center.
The city plans to use the property as a multi-modal transportation hub and has applied for grant funding for the $1.75 million project. The building would have a visitors center, offices, showers, lockers and restrooms, and bicycle racks. The transportation hub would be situated close to the roadway, leaving room for tour buses to drive behind.
The transportation hub is one piece of a larger "St. Charles Gateways" project that would renovate the entire corridor from Fifth Street to First Capitol Drive. The whole renovation, from adding bicycle lanes and a pedestrian bridge to widening the street to include sidewalks and tree wells, would cost about $15.3 million, according to the city's website.
Read our earlier article: Urban Housing, Retail May Line Fifth Street Corridor
The city applied for a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery III grant in the fall, but didn't get it. They applied for the TIGER IV grant this spring, asking for $10 million. The city could hear by May or June whether they won, said Debra Aylsworth, Director of Public Works.
The next step would be to demolish the building currently on the site, said City Council President Mike Klinghammer, Ward-8.
If the city doesn't get grant funding for the St. Charles Gateways corridor improvements, he said they'll consider turning it into a tourism welcome center.