SR seeks business support for economic growth group

Darrell Todd Maurina

ST. ROBERT, Mo. (Nov. 5, 2008) — St. Robert city officials plan to host what they call a “make-or-break” breakfast meeting on Nov. 19 in an effort to enlist area business support for the “Pulaski County Economic Growth Alliance.”

The new organization has been in the planning stages for nearly a year and traces its origins to a $175,000 development study funded by the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. That grant paid for a study of Pulaski County’s economy that recommended the hiring of an economic developer to promote the county and a development organization to support that work.

“We’re hoping that we get a large showing,” said Alderman Ralph Cook, noting that City Administrator Norman Herren has recommended inviting 20 area businesses.

Herren said he plans to propose on Thursday that the St. Robert Finance Committee recommend reducing the money given to the Fort Leonard Wood Regional Commerce and Growth Association and redirecting it to the new organization.

“It’s not going to cost you any more than to be a member of the Pulaski County Growth Alliance, as far as the budget is concerned, because there is enough money that we have been budgeting for the RCGA,” Herren said.

“This is vital for our community,” Herren said. “We’re also going to join the chambers, at least in name, countywide, so that all of them have a part of this growth alliance operation. Say the chamber of commerce in Dixon would get a lead; they would transfer that to the Chamber office here, which would be given to the economic development person.”

Herren noted that the economic development study recommended that Pulaski County create an organization that’s quite similar to those in neighboring counties.

“This is the closest thing we’ve had so far to developing a countywide economic development group,” Herren said. “Phelps County has a very successful operation, and so does Laclede County, and we don’t need to miss out on this.”

In other business:

· St. Robert firefighters presented certificates to area children for their involvement in a fire prevention week art project.

· City Clerk Debbie Adkins reported that the city’s annual Halloween haunted house attracted more children than ever before.

“You can’t beat a city of employees who work together as a team, and that’s what’s most important, is that we are team players and I certainly thank you for doing that,” Sanders said. “It keeps our children off the street and keeps them safe from all the dangers of running across the street or somebody else doing some crazy things to them.”

The next major events will be a joint Veterans’ Day parade in Waynesville and a Dec. 7 Christmas in the Park event, Sanders said.

· Lyle Thomas, St. Robert’s director of public works, reported that the new Pump Station Six is finally complete and the old pump station will soon be demolished. Rehabilitation work continues on Water Tower Five, he said, and the Foxworth stormwater project is fully complete after two years. Other projects are underway as well, he said.

“I’ve received a lot of complaints in the last month or so regarding the striping of St. Robert Boulevard,” Thomas said. “That was something that we added into the contract for the construction of the Carson Boulevard extension and McKinnon Street extension. We’re hoping that striping will actually be complete in about two weeks.”

· Alderman Todd Williams reported that the new T-hangar at the joint Waynesville-St. Robert Municipal Airport is complete and planes should be using it soon.