CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) – The Clayton Board of Alderman voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the rezoning of a special development district in downtown Clayton, allowing the Centene Corporation to move forward with their headquarter expansion plans.
"This is an exciting night, not just for the city of Clayton, but for the entire region" said Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger. "This project will bring 2,000 jobs and growth" he added.
While the vote is a big step forward for Centene, Mayor Sanger says there is still a long road ahead.
"What we did tonight was strictly to change the zoning into a special development district, so that we can now settle down into the details of what will be in that district" said Sanger. "That will come through the plan commission and then back through the board of alderman" he said.
Tuesday's meeting was widely attended by community members; many in support of the expansion, many in opposition. For some Clayton residents, the expansion also brings major traffic concerns.
"This thing is just too big" said Clayton resident John Hartwig. "It's going to choke up the traffic in Clayton terribly" he said.
According to a traffic study presented before Tuesday night's vote, officials estimate the expansion to increase traffic or delays through downtown Clayton by about 15%. The example officials give of the proposed changes, is that if it currently takes 10 minutes to travel through downtown Clayton, after the proposed expansion, it would take 11.5 minutes.
Mayor Sanger says while he is aware of the concerns of residents regarding the project, he hopes everyone continues to have an open mind as the project now moves forward.
"There is a lot of speculation about what it will look like and we do have a preliminary plan, but again the details are still to be worked out and I would just ask everybody to wait and see what the details look like" Sanger said. "We will take all comments into consideration this is by far not a closed up deal" he said.