O’Fallon, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A St. Charles County town wants to revamp its main street, but they aren’t sure how to do it so they are turning to their downtown businesses to provide feedback.
The city tried to implement controversial changes almost 12 years ago that would have seen a $200 million redevelopment plan for downtown O’Fallon, but eminent domain would have forced relocation of several homes and businesses.
“We really dodged a bullet last time,” said Robert Tiemann with Randy’s Jewelry, “because if they did what they wanted to do and the economy did what it did, you’d have a mess down here.”
Randy’s Jewelry has been along Main Street for 30 years and Tiemann said he’s cautiously optimistic about the city’s plans, but other business owners will want to know more specifics about the plans.
“There’s no doubt they could beautify Main Street down here,” Tiemann continued, “but it depends if they want to widen the sidewalks and take away some of the traffic flow. I don’t know what that means to us.”
A city survey shows there are feelings that downtown O’Fallon is in decline, that it is no longer a destination spot and now the city wants to change that.
“There’s opportunity here for O’Fallon to really develop something that is a vibrant downtown,” Tom Drabelle, with the City of O’Fallon, said, “that benefits both the city and the business owners.”
Ideas for improvement include sidewalk dining, new street lights, signs, benches and landscaping. There are vacant lots ready for development and a chance that more restaurants could come into the area.
The city said it will develop a vision first and then try to identify grants and money that might be available for funding.