ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOX) – St. Charles residents last night received their first look at $8 million in improvements proposed for historic Fifth Street.

Douglas Dillard doesn’t much care for spending money on aesthetics.

“The idea of the big gateway with “St. Charles” on it serves no function really,” he says. “You turn off the highway at St. Charles, you know you’re in St. Charles City. You don’t need to be reminded of it.”

But the big sign is resident Tim Carr’s favorite part of the project.

“When you get off the highway right there, you just don’t know what St. Charles has to offer because it looks like every other place in the United States. We need to make it a little more St. Charles-like,” he said.

While many complain about congestion on Fifth Street, they’re concerned that the addition of a new northbound lane could take out some businesses.

Business owner Elaine Kneemiller complains that, right now, customers can’t make left turns out of her parking lot. So for her, the plan’s best feature is the addition of new stop lights.

“They’re going to have two lanes going northbound because the traffic really backs up going northbound so I really like that,” she said Wednesday night. “A lot of the aesthetic options are really pleasing, will really make the area look better too.”

Kathy Michalak likes the plan for wider sidewalks and crosswalks.

“It’s hard to cross Fifth Street right now to get across to go down to Main Street so this would be one of the options,” she says. “They’re going to widen it and have a better cross-section which will be nice for us with kids.”

Wednesday night was the first of two public hearings on the project. St. Charles City Council approval of a plan is expected by the fall.


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