Mississippi Digital News

Jefferson County's twin cities, Festus and Crystal City, move forward in development together

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In Jefferson County, the twin cities – Festus and Crystal City – are seeking input from residents on how to make their core stronger, from city hall to city hall.

The two towns have been awarded a $500,000 federal grant administered by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments for their plan titled “Main to Mississippi.”

Festus City Administrator Greg Camp characterized the area in question.

“It’s really kind of three different pieces between Festus and Crystal City,” Camp said. “There’s the Festus Main Street part, and then it transitions into the Bailey Street corridor, which is part of Crystal City, and then it turns onto Mississippi, which is historic cobblestone in downtown Crystal City.”

“We think this is a great way for the citizens to give their input on what they would like to see the downtown district look like, from city hall to city hall,” Crystal City City Administrator Jason Eisenbeis said.

“This is a chance for the public to come in over course of next five or six months, engage and tell us – blank slate – what do you want it to be?” Camp said.

Denny Foster owns Main and Mill, which is the name and the location of his Festus brewpub and restaurant.

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“We’re coming out of the pandemic, or still in it, but we added more business on Main Street than we lost during that time,” Foster said. “Currently, Main Street is thriving more than it has in the last 30 or 40 years, so this plan is coming at the right time. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to make this a vital part of, not only Festus and Crystal City and our county, but St. Louis as a whole.”

Camp said the initiative is not just about strategy, image and branding, but also, infrastructure.

“The sidewalks need repairs,” said Camp. “The storm waters need repairs. The parking needs to be addressed. So, there’s infrastructure pieces that need to be talked about, as well.”

Public input events will be held during the weeks of Feb. 1 and Feb. 15. They will focus on sections of the study area from Main Street in Festus to Mississippi Ave. in Crystal City. The sessions will be held at First Baptist Church, 107 N. Truman Blvd.

The sessions will be held on the following dates and times:

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 4-7 p.m. (Focus: Festus Main Street).
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 11 .a.m.-1 p.m. (Focus: Festus Main Street).
Thursday, Feb. 3, 4-7 p.m. (Focus: Main Street and Bailey Road).
Tuesday, Feb. 15, 4-7 p.m. (Focus: Bailey Road).
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Focus: Bailey Road and Mississippi Avenue).
Thursday, Feb. 17, 4-7 p.m. (Focus: Mississippi Avenue to Main Street).

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