The new Meramec River Bridge will be dedicated Aug. 25 even though it may not be open for traffic.
And it probably won't be open.
"We don't think it will be," said Fenton City Administrator Mark Sartors.
Alderman Harold Bade, who attended a meeting of the Olde Towne Fenton Business Association Tuesday, said, "What we're calling it is the dedication of the bridge. It' not an opening. There's lots of little stuff to be finished."
The final "stuff" includes the construction of fences on the bridge and some of the approach areas, completion of the roadway approaches to the bridge on the Fenton and Sunset Hills side of the river and asphalting of certain streets and parking areas in the construction zone. Sartors said the new bridge likely will not be open to motorists until the first or second week in September.
Bade and the Olde Towne group gathered Tuesday to put the finishing touches on the group's Beautification Day plans for Saturday when a variety of Olde Towne business owners and volunteers will fan out through the business district to spruce up the area. Participants, in "safety green" T-shirts, will pick up trash, place mulch around trees and planting areas, do some painting and generally clean up some storefronts and the streetscape.
The group also outlined plans for a citywide celebration Aug. 25 which is a revival of the old "Fenton Days" festival. The highlight will be a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on the new Meramec River Bridge, which likely will not be open to motorists until the first or second week in September.
In addition to the bridge dedication there will be contests, music, game and food booths and fireworks. The event is called "Fenton Days . . . A Celebration of 175 Years," a nod to the city's 175th birthday this year. The celebration has the support of some of Fenton's largest businesses, including Fabick CAT, Dobb's Tire and Auto Center, Jim Butler Chevrolet and Maritz, each of which will donate $5,000 to the Fenton Days event.
The festival is being organized by the Fenton Area Chamber of Commerce. For sponsorship opportunities or for more information, contact the chamber office at 636-717-0200.