Wright City leaders fear Roelker Road, the street leading to the sites of a future new high school and expanding housing development, is at risk of collapsing without significant intervention. The …
Wright City leaders fear Roelker Road, the street leading to the sites of a future new high school and expanding housing development, is at risk of collapsing without significant intervention. The city is seeking aid from a federal grant fund to get that intervention started.
Wright City is applying for a grant from the “Safe Streets and Roads for All” program currently being offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, city leaders said on June 23. They hope the grant will help rebuild Roelker Road, which could be a hugely expensive project.
Roelker Road is in deteriorating condition because it wasn’t built for frequent traffic of the heavier vehicles that are already driving the area, said Alderman Nathan Rohr, who works in construction. With construction of more housing and a high school soon to begin, he said the situation will get much worse.
“As soon as this construction starts happening, Roelker Road is gonna be gone. It’s gonna blow apart, and we’re gonna be scrambling,” Rohr said. “We don’t have the money, but we’re gonna have to come up with something. ... The road can’t handle it. It’s not designed for that kind of construction.”
To that end, Mayor Michelle Heiliger said a freelance grant writer hired by the city in May is working to secure the Safer Streets grant. TMZ Marketing Services, based in Chesterfield, is drafting the grant application for a fee of $7,000, Heiliger said. This is in addition to $5,500 the city already paid for TMZ to identify the Safer Streets grant and other funding sources in the first place.
There’s no guarantee the city will receive the funding to rebuild Roelker Road, but aldermen said they’re willing to risk $12,500 to potentially gain much more in return.
“We can continue to do what we’ve done in the past, which is ‘let things fall apart,’ which will cost us more than $12,500. Or we be a little creative, allow for some additional resources (to seek grants),” said Alderman Ramiz Hakim.
“This could ultimately be the end of our problem on Roelker Road,” commented Alderman Don Andrews, who said he was still a little reluctant to spend city money with no promise of return. “But if (TMZ) gets awarded this, then that was money well spent.”
Mayor Heiliger said TMZ will also continue to seek other grant funding on behalf of the city as well, including an upcoming grant for baseball field construction.
The Safer Streets funding Wright City is seeking is part of a $1 billion pool of money the federal government recently made available for local communities around the country to address infrastructure needs and improve roadway safety.
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