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Help Wanted to Envision a New Fifth Street, SSM St. Joseph Health Center

St. Charles City and SSM St. Joseph Health Center host public meetings.

St. Charles is asking community members and business owners to help envision a plan for the future of Fifth Street and the area surrounding SSM St. Joseph Health Center.

The city and SSM are hosting a series of public planning and design meetings to get input on a future plan for the area. The first meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight in the fellowship hall of. More meetings are scheduled during between June 20-23.

“The meetings will be designed to get input from people, to tell us what you’d like to see done,” said Bruce Evans, director of community development. “People will be asked to identify where they live and they’ll be given a chance to say, ‘I’d like to see more delis, I’d like to see more parking.'”

Earlier this year, the city council approved a contract for a traffic engineering and economic development study of the Fifth Street corridor between Interstate 70 and Washington Street. The city council also approved a resolution in February supporting the creation of a redevelopment area for the SSM St. Joseph Health Center campus. 

Evans said that because Fifth Street is the main corridor leading to SSM St. Joseph Health Center, it makes sense to combine the public discussion on both projects.

SSM St. Joseph Health Center is seeking the establishment of a hospital district for the area surrounding the hospital. Evans said such a district could create architectural standards that would complement the hospital, although nothing has been decided.

Gaspare Calvaruso, president of SSM St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles, said during the past four years SSM has renovated the intensive care unit, the obstetrics unit and the emergency department of the hospital to create essentially a new facility. Now SSM would like to work on the outside of the facility as well.

“The outside area should be reflective of that renovation and revitalization,” he said.

Calvaruso offered an example of a situation in which a McDonalds might locate in a historic district. Architectural standards would dictate whether the building has bright colors or a more muted look that would blend with the surrounding area. A hospital district might have similar standards.

The “working borders” for a hospital district are the two-block radius around the SSM property, said Evans. The SSM property is bordered by Fifth Street in the west, Jefferson Street in the north with the exception of the U.S. Post Office, Second Street in the east and First Capitol to the south. 

Calvaruso said the charette is a process that isn’t new and has been proven to get input from the public who may have ideas that SSM may not have considered.

“We don’t have the answers to these questions at this point, but what are things that could spark revitalization and investment?” said Calvaruso.

Evans said the city held similar public design meetings to create a plan for the riverfront in 2004. This time, the city has sent letters to more than 700 residents and businesses inviting them to participate in the public events.

The meetings are scheduled all day June 20 to 23 and will include meetings with commercial developers, Fifth Street property owners and public officials, as well as discussion about historic preservation, a strategy for First Capitol and Lindenwood Univeristy, and signage. At the end of the meetings, the design team is expected to  give a presentation about potential improvements to the Fifth Street and First Capitol corridors and development of the SSM St. Joseph Health Center campus from 6 to 8 p.m. June 23 at St. John United Church of Christ.

A timeline for any redevelopment at SSM St. Joseph Health Center is still unclear. However, the city council's to approve zoning for the Lindenwood Town Center project on Tuesday means now SSM can proceed in negotiations with the , which is located near the hospital campus. The post office is expected to relocate to the Lindenwood Town Center.

"Now there is a site for the post office to go on," Calvaruso said. "There's more to it than that, but it's one of the hurdles."

Public Meeting Schedule

All meetings held at St. John United Church of Christ, 405 South Fifth Street, St. Charles.

Thursday June 9

6-8 p.m. Kickoff presentation and public workshop

Monday June 20

1-5 p.m. Transportation design workshop

5-6 p.m. Project design update and daily work pin-up session.

6-8 p.m. Hospital district property owners

Tuesday June 21

8:30-9:45 a.m. Fifth Street property owners and businesses I

10-11:15 a.m. Commercial developers and brokers

1-2:15 p.m. Fifth Street property owners and businesses II

2:30-3:45 p.m SJHC Lindenwood University- First Capitol strategy

5:30-6:30 p.m. Project design update and work pin up session

7-9 p.m. Open design studio

Wednesday June 22

8:40-9:45 a.m. Regulatory and redevelopment strategies

10-11:15 a.m. Public officials

1-2:15 p.m. Transportation implementation

2:30-3:45 p.m. Wayfinding and signage

4-5:15 p.m. Open design studio

5:30-6:30 p.m. Project design update and daily work pin up session

7-9 p.m. Prepare for closing presentation

Thursday June 23

8:30-9:45 a.m. Open design studio

10-11:15 a.m. Open design studio

1-6 p.m. Studio closed to prepare for closing presentation

6-8 p.m. Closing presentation

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