The St. Charles County Port Authority has secured $3.5 million for river terminal improvements in the city of St. Charles and at Klondike Park near Augusta.
This is just a year and a half after the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners was formally established. No one could be happier than District Councilor Mike Elam, District 3. Elam worked for three years to persuade fellow councilors to pass an ordinance creating the Port Authority.
“After learning that not having a port authority was leaving money on the table, I started lobbying and educating other council members about why having a port authority is a good thing,” he says. “I’m pleased to see some of our infrastructure tax dollars flowing back to St. Charles County and thank the Port Authority for working so hard and so quickly to make this happen.”
Elam says the state is setting aside money for projects that can only be used by a port authority. There are 17 port authorities in Missouri, including St. Charles County, and these other counties received it. Now St. Charles County is in the mix. County Executive Steve Ehlmann, who appointed the Board of Commissioners, said, “The Board and staff have done a tremendous job in securing this grant and their research and diligence is greatly appreciated. However, I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank Councilor Elam for his perseverance in establishing a St. Charles County Port Authority. We are now seeing how a port authority can really work for the county.”
The projects, approved by the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners at the June 9 meeting, include $2.5 million to expand the water, sewage and power connections to the proposed river terminal at Klondike Park near Augusta , including installing a debris deflector to protect dock infrastructure and dredging, and $1 million for river terminal rehabilitation near the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum in the City of St. Charles.
These facilities will enhance river trade and provide the infrastructure needed to facilitate the development of additional river-based businesses. “Credit goes to the employees who worked hard to obtain this funding,” said Roger Ellis, Chair of the Board of Commissioners for the St. Charles County Port Authority. “We are very pleased to be able to fund the construction of the infrastructure required to provide public access to the Missouri River.”
Ehlmann appointed a seven-member Board of Commissioners at the end of 2020. Members include Chair Ellis, Vice Chair Monica Combest, Hyatt Bangert, Don Boehmer, Ken Dobbins, Tammy Holen and Jeff Rothermich. They represent each of the seven districts of the County Council.
The grants were recommended by the Missouri Port Authority Association and are now subject to approval by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission at its August 3, 2022 meeting.
“St. Charles County has more bodies of water than any other county in Missouri — 104 miles,” says Elam. “Improving this aspect of our county is a positive thing for our parks, for tourism, for businesses and for overall economic development.”