Almost a year after the of St. George’s municipal election launched a campaign to dissolve the city, the tiny government’s final business will soon be put to rest.
Most notably this final transition will resolve the fates of the city’s two major properties: the house that has served as city hall and a small park with a playground. According to St. George resident Bob Burns, the executive in charge of the disincorporation process, the city’s park will be taken into and maintained by the St. Louis County park system. City hall, meanwhile, will be converted into a 24 hour St. Louis County police substation for the neighborhood, commanded under the Affton/Southwest 3rd Precinct.
The fate of the park in particular for some St. George residents in the months of debate leading up to the . Other residents, however, said they had not been aware of the park’s existence.
“I’m elated because everything (the county) promised has come true…it’s going to make our community a better place,” said Burns, who was appointed to wrap up St. George’s business by the St. Louis County Council despite objections from some of the other citizens who lead the charge for disincorporation, including former mayor Carmen Wilkerson.
Captain Mike Dierkes of the Affton precinct said that the new substation was in the planing stages, pending the official handover of the properties to the county on Mar. 8, inspections of the house and some finalized negotiations.
County Chief Operating Officer Garry Earls said that, since Burns had chosen not to sell the playground, the park would indeed become a county asset maintained by the parks department. Though it might seem against the grain to take on a new park given the county budget problems that nearly closed numerous parks around St. Louis, Earls said the tiny parks would not be a significant cost in the 13,000 acre grand scheme of the county parks system.
Burns told Patch he hopes to make his final report to the council Mar. 13. St. George’s last bills must be paid, and the town’s remaining financial assets, which Burns said come to approximately $360,000, will be turned over to St. Louis County.
St. George also had a truck used for road maintenance, which has been sold. The city’s riding lawnmower will likely remain to help maintain the park and substation grounds. The rest of the city’s items will be turned over to county surplus. City records are also being hauled off for storage by the county.
What remains of St. George’s court proceedings and will be taken over by Division 2 Circuit Judge Maura McShane.
Burns said police and county officials have already been visiting the city’s properties, inspecting city hall for transformation into a police substation. They have also removed a number of St. George city signs and what Burns said were several excess stop signs.
The biggest job Burns said he had to do was manage the city’s salting and snow removal while the city effectively had no government for the past two months. The county had instructed him to honor the contract St. George had signed with its snow removal company.
“It’s just been a wonderful experience,” Burns said of working through the disincorporation.
was a controversial and heated issue in St. George, with some residents arguing that they would pay more taxes and receive less police service if the scandal-fraught municipality joined unincorporated St. Louis County.
“I don’t knock them for disagreeing, but we are showing them with our actions that this is turning out good for the community,” Burns said.
According to Burns the county is considering throwing a small parade in the neighborhood sometime in April.
Updated Feb. 24 with additional information from Captain Mike Dierkes and Garry Earls.