City management addresses concerns related to proposed Downtown development plan

The scale house as it currently sits in the middle of the parking lot on First Street, in the middle of the proposed development site. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

The scale house as it currently sits in the middle of the parking lot on First Street, in the middle of the proposed development site. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’FALLON – The recent proposal of the new Downtown Plaza in O’Fallon is raising some concerns for local residents. Concerns about traffic, noise, and the relocation of a downtown attraction and a historic building are those that City Administrator Walter Denton says that he has been hearing the most.

Additionally, the artist’s rendering of the proposed development at First and Vine streets does not show the Scale House, which was moved to it’s current location by the O’Fallon Historical Society on June 2, 2001, and was designated as a City of O’Fallon historic landmark in 2004. The building was first erected in 1907 on East First Street and sat where the Chamber of Commerce building sits today. From there, it was moved two other times before the Historical Society saved the building from being razed and paid to have it relocated.

“The rendering is just a starting point. It is not the final version, so the way it looks now could be very different. This is just a concept. We know it’s a historical building and is important to the historical society. Right now, we’ve decided not to decide. If the development is approved, then it will be discussed and we can determine where it could go. Where it sits now is not the original location, so there’s no historical significance to the location. It will be continue to be displayed once we would determine a new location,” Denton explained.

Regarding the Santa’s Hut building, Denton said the all weather pavilion will serve as Santa’s new home.

This photo is the earliest known photograph of the Scale House in it's original location on East First Street (Photo Courtesy of Brian Keller, O'Fallon Historical Society president)

This photo is the earliest known photograph of the Scale House in it’s original location on East First Street (Photo Courtesy of Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society president)

“The idea for the pavilion is that it would be an all weather building, so in the winter, garage type doors would be down, and the Santa visits would take place in there, as well as leave plenty of room for waiting. Right now, if you’re waiting in line, you’re standing outside. There would be room indoors in the pavilion, as well as room for crafts or other activities,” Denton said.

Addressing residents’ concerns regarding noise, Denton said that the current response is that market days and events are fine during the day and on the weekends, but that the concerts seem to be the most concerning. “There’s a noise ordinance in place currently, and the O’Fallon City Council has complete control on what can go on there, and if residents in the community don’t want to have late night concert events, then we don’t have to have them. We didn’t conceive of having loud evening events, but just to have bands play during festivals and such.”

Denton urged residents to remember that this is a starting point, saying “We had to start somewhere. That area right now is an ugly site, just pavement and railroad tracks. This development could make it look nicer, make the town look nicer, and draw in more positive traffic and revenue to the area.”

The Community Development committee took a week long break after the proposal to come up with questions they might have, and at a special meeting on November 1, they voted to send the proposal to the full council. The full council will meet on Monday, November 7.

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