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Council limits traffic in alleys
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Council limits traffic in alleys

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Bonne Terre Council gets retail overview

Bonne Terre City Council members on Monday night heard an update on the NextSite project to fill gaps in the local economy.

Bonne Terre City Council members recently heard an update on the NextSite project to fill gaps in the local economy. They also passed ordinances reaffirming the curfew for minors and holding parents and guardians accountable for any damage done by their minor children. Another ordinance that was passed limits the weight of vehicular traffic through alleyways.

City Administrator Shawn Kay said the city has always had an ordinance for a curfew, but the latest ordinance adds to it.

“It provides a mechanism for us to be able to hold guardians of minors responsible for any damage or offenses committed in the city,” he said. “For example, if a minor is engaging in vandalism, a police officer can take the minor back home and ticket the parent or guardian for the minors' actions, since the minors were ultimately in their charge.”

Heavy vehicle traffic through alleyways prompted council members to approve an ordinance limiting weight to one ton, after holding two public comment sessions.

“A lot of people didn’t quite understand, when we put the information out, we were limiting traffic in that alley to local delivery and nothing over one ton,” Kay said. “They looked at the gross weight of their vehicles and thought, ‘Well my car weighs over one ton, I wouldn’t be able to drive in the alley.’ They didn’t realize we meant the tow capability the vehicle was rated for, among other aspects.”

Several citizens’ public comments during the two public-comment sessions were favorable for limiting traffic in the alley to one ton or less, Kay said, with only one citizen expressing concern. The ordinance passed unanimously. Any vehicle that has a payload of a ton or more won’t be allowed on city alleys unless for local delivery.

The city’s relatively new subscription to NextSite, which provides and prepares data based on shopping trends in a defined area, looks promising as the city and Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce has received its initial batch of economic insights.

“The vast majority of this information is from transactions, but we as a community had to fill out some of the information, and that’s been a collaborative effort between the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce and the city,” Kay said. “The information we’ve received from them include site maps of the regional trade area, retail gaps and leakage, demographic trends, consumer spending patterns, community overview, 3- 5- and 10-minute drive site maps, and customer journeys which essentially tell you what percentage of those people who are visiting, say, a restaurant, then goes to another location in town, such as a grocery store.”

Kay said NextSite doesn’t collect individually-identifying data, it collects data to be used in the aggregate.

“It’s fascinating, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface on the mountain of information it’s provided,” he said of the report. “The chamber also has access to this information. All this statistical data will be used to try to recruit new business.”

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Kay said one of the more interesting aspects of the report is looking at supply vs. demand on the local level.

“Clothing and clothing accessory stores, for instance,” he said. “’Supply’ for 2020 was $1.7 million, but ‘demand’ was $12 million, so there’s quite a gap. And it’s retail in general, not just in Bonne Terre. This is a regional trade-area gap.

“It’s interesting to look through the information.”

Also at the council meeting:

Members unanimously approved granting Kay permission to begin the process of forming a Tax Increment Financing District to improve the area of the strip mall, Bonneville Plaza.

Engineering work has begun on the Industrial Road extension.

The council approved the chamber’s request for a fireworks permit and park usage for an Independence Day celebration.

Spring cleanup had public works crews picking up rubbish at 269 residences.

The council discussed bids for jetters. Jetters are sewer-cleaning machines. The city needs one.

Maloney Wright and Robbins gave the city a clean audit report, and noted that its financial standing found a net gain of $600,000. Kay said it was partially due to some grant money coming in, and also conservative spending due to the pandemic.

Kay provided an update on the Community Development Block Grant project. The bridge on Buchanan Street is about 50% done and the bridge on Oak Street is about 75% finished. Kay said hopefully, both bridges will be completed by the end of the month.

The salt storage facility is complete, and the soccer bathrooms will be undergoing plumbing work to set the fixtures.

Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at shaas@dailyjournalonline.com.

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