The City of St. Charles kicked off the first of many public planning and design meetings for Fifth Street and the area surrounding SSM St. Joseph Health Center.
About 50 property owners, residents, and developers met Thursday at St. John United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall to join the round table discussions lead by The Lawrence Group, Crawford Bunte & Brammeier (CBB), and Development Strategies.
Public meetings will be held to discuss two separate projects. The first project would improve the flow of traffic down Fifth Street.
The second project would encourage development near the hospital and make the area around the hospital more pedestrian-friendly.
Craig Lewis is the consultant project manager for The Lawrence Group. Lewis and other developers suggested changes such as widening the road and reducing drop lanes might make Fifth Street more efficient.
"We can all agree that it's not the most high functioning corridor we have," said Lewis.
Many residents and property owners agreed Fifth Street could be improved, but some expressed concerns that widening traffic lanes would encourage speeding.
Lewis said the public will have to decide what balance of car traffic and pedestrian traffic is right for Fifth Street.
Some officials at SSM St. Joseph Health Center said they would like to see development around the hospital that would be more attractive to visitors.
“We’ve invested $40 million to renovate and upgrade the inside of St. Joseph Health Center to improve the experience for patients, physicians, employees and visitors,” says Aaron Robinson, Director of Strategy and Business Development for St. Joseph Health Center. “To complement these investments, we’d like to see a district surrounding the hospital that would further enhance our campus. Improved access as well as areas to walk, shop and relax would make the area a destination point not only for health care, but for other amenities as well. Basically, we’d like to expand the charm of Main Street to include the area around St. Joseph Health Center.”
Terri McClain and her family live close to the St. Joseph Health Center. McClain said she thinks the area should be more walkable and fit in with the culture of old St. Charles.
"I would like to see a family friendly development and to keep the historical integrity,” said McClain. “I think that's lacking in development here."
The design team will be available at the St. John United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall to hear your opinions from June 20th to June 23rd.
You can find a more detailed schedule . Thursday’s planning and design presentation will be posted on the St. Charles City website.