The City of Wentzville has announced plans for the purchase of 80 acres on Wentzville Parkway for a proposed multigenerational recreation facility, along with retail and residential developments.
The mixed-use development, which will be known as “The Bend,” will extend along the Parkway from the new City Hall to William Dierberg Drive. It will border the city hall/police department property on the east and Heartland Park along part of its southern boundary.
Along with the rec center, the project will include park and green spaces, pedestrian trails, new retail spaces, and some residential development. The rec center is expected to be open by 2022, but the retail and residential components should be completed sooner, the city said.
70 West Sentinel talked to City Administrator David Gipson, who said that the property was currently under contract to a developer. The developer would be taking on the residential and retail aspects of the project, and the city would purchase the land needed for the rec center, green space, and trails. Gipson was not able to share the purchase price of the property or the cost of the city’s portion.
The city is looking at a bond offering of at least $55 million for the overall costs of the development and construction costs for the rec center, Gipson said. The city is proposing an additional one-cent sales tax, which would likely be limited to a section of Wentzville Parkway from Pearce Boulevard to William Dierberg Drive and which includes many of Wentzville’s big retailers such as Schnuck’s, Dierberg’s, Walmart, and Target. The funds generated by the tax will go not only toward construction but also toward the operational costs of the facility.
The additional tax would have to be approved by the property owners in the area affected. Gipson said that the tax, if approved, would not go into affect until 2019.
If the property owners do not approve the tax? Gipson said that without the additional tax, there would be no money to move forward with the project. City officials, however, are passionate about providing a recreation center for the citizens of Wentzville.
“The Parks Master Plan and our recently completed feasibility study, coupled with input from several public meetings, all emphasize a strong desire for a facility like this. This new amenity will greatly improve the quality-of-life of our growing and aging community,” said Parks and Recreation Director Mike Lueck in a press release.
Gipson said that more public input will be considered before the city makes a final decision on the facilities offered at the rec center.
“This will be an exciting new resource for our residents and will allow us to provide services which have been needed for some time. The Board and I have made this project a priority, recognizing the distinct needs of our residents – varying from indoor recreational opportunities to senior citizen amenities,” said Mayor Nick Guccione.