There were dozens of ideas floated Tuesday as a newly-formed Fenton business group tries to breathe new life into an old business district.
The group met Tuesday to discuss plans for the Olde Towne Fenton business district, which roughly extends along Old Gravois Road from Highway 141 to the Old Gravois Road bridge, which is under construction.
It is the closure of the bridge and the resulting lack of traffic through the Olde Towne district that has spurred renewed interest in formalizing a group that would help renew the area.
The completion of the new bridge became a focus of the meeting as the businesses rallied around the potential bridge opening to host a celebration, of sorts, that could include a small festival, a parade and a requisite ribbon-cutting when the bridge opens.
The concrete bridge deck was scheduled to be pored Tuesday, accord8ing to Fenton City Administrator Mark Sartors, but high winds made it impossible for concrete pumper trucks to operate safely. He said the deck now is scheduled yto be poured March 26, weather permitting. Follow8ing the deck roadway poring, the remaining work on the new bridge will consist of trim work, a sidewalk along the bridge and a variety of other smaller projects with the grounds surrounding the new bridge structure. If the weather cooperates, Sartors said the bridge could be finished by the end of August or earlt September.
It will mean the end of a long wait for the Olde Towne businesses who have had to deal with reduced traffic in the area and, thereby, fewer customers.
Tuesday's wide-ranging discussion by the Olde Town group focused on a variety of ideas for the business district including new, colorful signage that would bring an identity to the area. Suggestions included banners on light poles, as well as landscaped "welcome" signs at the entrance to the Olde Towne district. Some members also pushed for flower plantings and park benches in the area, particularly in Olde Towne Plaza Park. The park is adjacent to a plot that is the location of a pavilion recently approved recently approved by the City of Fenton as part of a Meramec Greenway improvement project that includes a trailhead on the hiking and biking trail. Members of the Olde Towne group also intend to work with the City of Fenton and with the Missouri Department of Transportation to have an informational sign along Highway 30 at the Fenton exit that would provide motorists with information on how to reach Olde Towne.
Another idea is to approach Metro to restore its bus route through Olde Towne, which was changed when the old Gravois Road Bridge was torn down for safety reasons.
As much excitement as there is about the new bridge being finished in a few months, there is equal excitement about continuing the efforts by the Olde Towne business people to bring more attention and "charm" to the area. Not much is off the table as the members search for ways to make the district more appealing. Parades and banners and flags and flowers will go a long way to restoring Olde Towne Fenton's visibility and the business group appears determined to see it through.