To broaden Crestwood initiatives and revisit multiyear city goals first set in 2017, Crestwood aldermen conducted a strategic planning session on July 8.
“We focused on the four categories of keeping Crestwood fiscally strong, how to best continue to improve the city’s comprehensive plan, establishing premier public safety and supporting a strong parks system with plenty of recreational opportunities,” said Crestwood Mayor Grant Mabie.
Mabie said with current board members expecting to be a team serving together through April 2021, the group believed it was the precise time to discuss what plans were tweaked during 2018 and to form a fresh list of objectives for 2019.
Board members asked City Administrator Kris Simpson to share the new list of tasks with residents on the city’s website, and to make progress presentations at future board meetings.
Regarding Crestwood’s fiscal status, Mabie said the goal is to maintain a fund balance and enough reserves to protect the city’s bond rating and provide balanced budgets. “We’ll also keep seeking clean audits and searching for best practices,” he added.
Board members already voiced support for the city’s recently unveiled Planning and Zoning master plan, which includes hundreds of goals. “We tried to break out what needed to be addressed in the next year or two,” said Mabie.
Of course, supporting redevelopment of Crestwood’s former mall area tops the list of the board’s priorities. “We’re not going to be a source of delay for new development. We may need to add more meetings and efforts to review site plans, but we’re committed,” assured Mabie.
He said continuing to make more sidewalk connections and to add bicycle markings or lanes also remains an important goal. “We made a lot of sidewalk repairs last year, but only one-third of the city is served with sidewalks. But with limited funds, we have to create a hierarchy of where new sidewalks will go and phase them in,” said Mabie.
The mayor said areas associated with schools, churches, parks and trails likely will receive a priority nod for upcoming sidewalks.
In support of the city’s comprehensive plan, board members are dedicating themselves to stronger code enforcements and working with St. Louis County officials to ensure properties are properly maintained.
“By the end of this year or early next year, we hope to have finished updating all zoning and code details,” Mabie said.
He said because the infrastructure wasn’t ideal near the Watson Industrial Park, they will target that area for possible stormwater, street and bridge improvements.
“We’re lucky to have so many great residents involved with the beautification efforts for Crestwood, and we hope to continue with those valuable landscaping, and possibly city signage, initiatives,” said Mabie.
Regarding public safety, Crestwood’s mission is to achieve a Class 1 rated fire department, the top ranked classification provided in the United States. Crestwood recently jumped from a 4 to a better 2 rating.
Mabie said fire department personnel also are working toward full accreditation.
During the strategic session, he said board members revisited the Whitecliff Park 2000 plan to determine what tasks were completed and what still needed to be done.
Mabie said they would like to seek a grant to construct a pedestrian bridge over Gravois Creeek. Another goal is to create an online, user-friendly way for residents to register for recreational activities.
Mabie said the group also wants to revisit the relationship put in place with the Sappington House Foundation during the late 1970s and early 1980s to ensure it reflects the best codes and partnership it can be.
“Although our biggest challenge remains with maintaining revenues, our budgets are stable and balanced. We have a lengthy, massive list of capital items that need to be prioritized, but we want to knock as many off the list as we can. The goal is to never stop improving Crestwood. We’re trying to make the city better in every aspect,” said Mabie.