ST. CHARLES, MO (KPLR) – The recent completion of the Fifth Street Expansion project in downtown St. Charles is proving positive for economic development, according to city leaders and business owners.
"I love the fact that this fifth street expansion project gives people like me-people that have been here for a long time-the opportunity to open businesses and bring that hometown feeling back and I’m all about that" said Cheryl Abrams, owner of Fifth Street Hair Designs.
The expansion included a diverging diamond interchange, additional driving lanes north of Interstate 70, beautification signage and sidewalks. Abrams says the simple addition of sidewalks means more people accessing her small business.
"We’ve gotten so many more walk ins now, there’s a place to walk" said Abrams. "It’s just beautiful and it’s nice the city has decided to go and fix it up for us and it will help keep this street alive" she said.
"It brings people through this street where they may otherwise may have avoided it to get where they’re going" Abrams said. "It makes it easy for them to get from one part of town to the other. It’s a great way for us to have visibility and so people know we’re here. I would think it’s helping everybody" she said.
The city's Director of Economic Development, David Leezer says the completion of the project helps attract people into the city.
"We believe in the long run they will see more customers, greater commuters, easier access not only to businesses but to those key entry points to the city like Streets of St. Charles, AmeriStar Casino, and SSM which is vital to our downtown area" Leezer said.
Leezer hopes the completion of the expansion project is a representation of what's possible and what's in store for future growth in the city and throughout the county.
"If it’s happening, it’s happening in St. Charles" said Leezer. "Industrial, commercial, retail, transportation it’s happening in St. Charles so it really shows what’s going on with that" he said.
"It demonstrates that we have growth we have investment and we’re trying to meet the needs not only for 2016 but for the years to come" Leezer said.