|Last modified: Friday, November 16, 2007 8:55 AM CST
Cities form Mid-Metro 4 due to Highway 40 closure
By Todd Smith
The Highway 40 (Interstate 64) construction project has brought together four communities that will be affected by the closing of the road.
Representatives of Clayton, Brentwood, Maplewood and Richmond Heights have formed a coalition called Mid-Metro 4 to keep the public informed about their areas' accessibility and to promote their many assets and attractions.
"This is an outreach program that will help the public understand that the I-64 closure may be an inconvenience, but the same wonderful amenities that have been enjoyed, such as shopping, dining and cultural events, will continue," said Mary Sawyer, a spokesperson for Mid-Metro 4.
All lanes of Highway 40 will be closed Jan. 2 from Ballas Road to Interstate 170 and remain closed through all of 2008.
Mid-Metro 4 is designed to ensure the stability of the areas' businesses during the construction and beyond, while re-emphasizing the accessibility of the areas' unique offerings, Sawyer said.
The coalition includes city managers and representatives of chambers of commerce, large and small employers, retailers, restaurants, school districts and nonprofit organizations that operate in the four cities, she said.
"We are all banding together to create an informational Web site with promotional aspects on all the great things available in these communities," Sawyer said.
Members of the coalition are asking business owners in the four communities to go to the Web site http://www.midmetro4.com/ and sign up.
Sawyer said a business promotion as part of the effort involves discount cards.
Participating merchants will have the laminated cards available at their businesses, and consumers can go on the Web site and see what promotions are going on and then take the card to a business to receive a discount or some other offer, Sawyer said.
"Everything will be done using these cards," she said.
The cards are free and also will be available at community events and city halls.
Sawyer said the Web site also will list special events going on in the communities and information about the businesses.
"The Web site will include directions on how to get to a restaurant or business during the construction," Sawyer said.
She said the Web site will be available for consumers in mid-December and go into full effect Jan. 2.
Rachelle L'Ecuyer, Maplewood's community development director, said the efforts of the four communities make sense, because the cities form a ring around the construction area.
She said Highway 40 construction will be like it was "snowing every day."
"Mid-Metro 4 is a tool to help maintain connections for consumers to businesses in these four communities and let them know we are still open for business even though Highway 40 is closed down," L'Ecuyer said.
Judy Kekich, Clayton's communications coordinator, said the Web site will act as a one-stop location where consumers can gain information.
"One of the aspects of the Web site is that people can continue to find multiple ways to get to their business or restaurant destination," she said.
In Clayton alone, there are 13 annual community events and 7 million square feet of office space, Kekich said.
"The other communities have special events and also a tremendous amount of shopping opportunities," she said.
Kekich also noted people can get to the communities by Metro buses and MetroLink.
"Like the other cities involved, we have a desire to ensure that the four cities continue to succeed throughout the construction of the new I-64, and Richmond Highest concurs that we have a stronger presence working together than individually," said Irene Johnson, public relations coordinator for Richmond Heights.
Sawyer said money for Mid-Metro 4 is funded by a portion of a $1 million grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), and the four cities.
"Hopefully we can all continue to work together on some level following construction and continue to promote shopping, businesses and living in the mid-county area," Brentwood City Manager Chris Seemayer said. "It is much better for us to all work together than compete with each other."
He said this was probably one of the reasons that led MoDOT to give Mid-Metro 4 part of the grant.
"I don't think we would have had near the chance for the grant if we had acted separately," Seemayer said.
You can contact Todd Smith at email@example.com.
Mid-Metro 4 Web site: