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We need your participation in reimagining a new Rock Hill 

Rock Hill is creating a new vision. Business development is booming, city finances have stabilized, and our community was recently ranked third on a list of the best places to buy a home in Missouri by Niche.com. We are now planning new city facilities with much needed upgrades in police, fire protection, and administrative infrastructure. Let’s come together to explore new possibilities for improvements in city services.  

 


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Open Houses March 16 & 30

Prop. R, a referendum for a new Rock Hill police and fire station and City Hall, is on the ballot April 5. Currently Police, Fire and City Hall are housed in substandard and inadequate rented facilities, causing concerns for safety and security. As you consider this proposal, we hope you will visit us and see first-hand the current conditions.

REIMAGINE ROCK HILL OPEN HOUSES
5 – 8 p.m. • Wednesday, March 16 and Wednesday, March 30
Rock Hill Police, Fire Protection & City Hall Facilities
320 West Thornton Ave. • Rock Hill, MO

If you cannot attend an open house, but would like a tour of the facilities please contact City Administrator Jennifer Yackley at 314.561.4302. 

 


Board of Aldermen vote to place Prop. R bond issue on April ballot

Rock Hill residents will vote on a $6.1 million bond issue April 5 to build a new City Hall, Police Station and Fire Station. The Board of Aldermen approved the ballot issue at its meeting Tuesday, January 5 after considering the substandard conditions of the current municipal facilities and positive feedback from the community.

 

The facilities are rented and the City pays $100,000 annually to two landlords. The leases expire in 2018 and there is no guarantee of renewal for an extended period.

 

Bridget Geiss and Jeffrey Pounds, co-liaisons of Reimagine Rock Hill, described to the Aldermen how the community engagement team of local volunteers had canvassed every household in Rock Hill and hosted two open houses at City Hall and the Police and Fire Departments. Residents were asked for their feedback, and the great majority of comments were positive regarding the need for new facilities.

 

The average Rock Hill household, valued at $150,000, would pay an additional $125 annually in property taxes, or approximately $10.50 per month.

 

The new municipal facilities would be built on property already owned by the City near the intersection of Manchester and Rock Hill roads, now occupied by Rock Hill Park. Ten years ago, Rock Hill vacated a previous City Hall facility to make way for the development of the Market at McKnight. Since then the Police and Fire Departments and City Hall have moved around to several locations and there has been no permanent facility.

 

Prop. R Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Prop. R and how does it impact Rock Hill facilities?

Rock Hill’s Board of Aldermen voted January 5 to place a $6.1 million bond issue on the April 5, 2016 ballot for the sole purpose of constructing a new municipal complex, including a City Hall, Police Station, and Fire Station. 

 

Why does Rock Hill need new municipal facilities?

City Hall offices, along with the Police and Fire departments are currently housed in rented facilities at 320 West Thornton Ave. in an industrial area off N. Rock Hill Road.  The facilities are inadequate and substandard, causing concerns for safety and security.   For example, the Fire Department rescue vehicles are housed in a cramped pole barn with insufficient storage space.  Maneuverability is extremely difficult, and the adjacent trailer used for offices and sleeping quarters is vulnerable to severe weather and flooding.  The Police Department does not have a secure area for bringing in prisoners, nor are there cameras, an emergency generator, or a secure area for evidence, among other problems.  Facilities are desperately at odds with modern police practices.

 

What will this cost the taxpayers?

The additional cost for the owner of an average house in Rock Hill, with an appraised value of $150,000, would be approximately $125 a year.

 

How long will it take to retire the bonds?

The bonds will be paid off in 20 years.

 

What is the current rent?

Rock Hill pays $100,000 annually to two landlords—one for the Police/City Hall building and one for the land under the Fire Department garage.   With permanent facilities, these rental funds could be redirected to other city services.

 

Why do we need a bond issue now?  Why not wait a few more years?

Both leases will expire in 2018 with no guarantee that they can be renewed for an extended period and no guarantee what future rent might be.  In addition, historically low interest rates make this a good time to construct new municipal facilities.

 

Where would  the new facilities be built?

The new municipal facilities would be built on land already owned by Rock Hill, behind the Market at McKnight, near the intersection of Rock Hill and Manchester Roads.  This area is currently Rock Hill Park and provides tennis courts and a playground.  The City has lighted tennis courts in Oakhaven Park and is considering options to relocate the playground equipment if it cannot remain on site.  Using land already owned by the City will reduce project costs.

 

How does this bond issue compare to other area bond issues for municipal facilities?

Rock Hill’s goal is to be fiscally responsible while maintaining a high level of service to residents.  The  proposed  $6.1 million bond issue compares favorably with expenditures by neighboring municipalities in the past few years.  For example:

 

  • Brentwood Fire Station - $4.2 million
  • Maplewood Fire Station - $6 million
  • Ladue Fire Station - $3.9 million
  • Olivette City Hall, Police and Fire Station - $13.5 million

 

 

Could Rock Hill merge its fire protection services with another city?

There has been some discussion about merging the Rock Hill and Glendale Fire Departments as both departments are in need of new fire stations.  Rock Hill administrators have considered this merger, but it doesn’t make sense in terms of cost.  For example, Glendale spends approximately $1 million annually on personnel costs for their Fire Department, while Rock Hill spends the same amount for ALL Fire Department functions.   In addition, Rock Hill has a dedicated sales tax to support the Fire Department.  Glendale does not have this sales tax.

 

Why are City facilities currently in rented buildings?

The City of Rock Hill has seen tremendous economic growth over the past 10 years which has impacted the location of City Hall and other City facilities.  In 2006 City facilities were sold and moved to make way for the development of the Market at McKnight at the corner of Rock Hill and Manchester Roads.  Plans were developed to move to the land where the McKnight Crossing condos are now located.  The City purchased the land and encountered challenges because of the state of the property and its feasibility as a good location for the City’s facilities.  It was determined that the best financial decision for the City was to sell the land to Mills Properties.  The properties where the Goddard School currently stands on Rock Hill Road were available so the City used the proceeds from the previous land sales to purchase these. The City intended to construct a new fire station and other facilities.  In 2008 ARCO offered to buy this property, and with the recession starting the City decided to sell.  The proceeds from the sale helped fund City services and operations through the recession.  Now that the City is in a strong financial situation with an AA bond rating, the time is right to update the City’s facilities.

 

Why is bond funding needed for these facilities?

Bond funding will allow the City to update facilities without impacting City services.  If another form of financing, such as a Certificate of Participation Note (COPS note), is used the City would have to pay off the loan with existing revenue.  This would jeopardize the City’s ability to provide existing services and could diminish our bond rating.

 

What do community residents think of the proposal so far?

Last fall the Reimagine Rock Hill community group was formed to get input from Rock Hill residents about the proposed new municipal complex.  Volunteers canvassed every household in Rock Hill and organized two open houses at the current facilities.  Residents were invited to tour the Police and Fire departments and talk to City officials about the proposal.  Feedback on the proposed new facilities has been very positive.  Residents can find more information on this project at www.rockhillmo.net/reimagine and www.facebook.com/reimaginerockhill.  Questions are invited.

 

Where can I find my polling place?

Go to the website govotemissouri.com for voting instructions regarding PROP R.

 


 

 

 

Reimagine Rock Hill

Current police, fire, and municipal facilities are inadequate and substandard causing concerns for safety  and security. 

Favorable interest rates make this the best time to consider construction of municipal facilities. 

Modernized facilities will improve services to residents and enable municipal employees to better serve our community. 

New municipal facilities will anchor Rock Hill and highlight its excellent housing and business/commercial development.   

 

A Message from Mayor Edward Mahan

Rock Hill Needs You Rock Hill is a wonderful place to live with established neighborhoods, thriving business districts, and popular restaurants. Our children attend one of the top ten school districts in the state of Missouri. Our central location makes it easy to get around St. Louis County or commute downtown. Our municipal facilities, however, have not kept pace with housing and business development. It has been many years since Rock Hill City Hall has had a permanent home. The current temporary location at 320 W. Thornton Avenue is inadequate for the scope of services required by the residents of Rock Hill. We are considering options for new facilities adjacent to the Market at McKnight. Low interest rates make this the best time to consider construction of new municipal facilities to assure that our police officers and firefighters can do their jobs safely and effectively for all of us.     

 

Your Safety Is Our Priority • A Message from our Fire Chief Kevin Halloran 

The Rock Hill Fire Department maintains the highest level of  professionalism despite the inadequate nature of the facilities.  While the fire station is typically a cornerstone for the community, most Rock Hill residents don’t even know where  we are located. Our rescue vehicles are parked in a cramped pole barn where there is insufficient space to store fire gear  and equipment. We share road access with a manufacturing plant making maneuverability extremely difficult as we  contend with nearby truck traffic and parked vehicles.  A small trailer houses our office, kitchen, and sleeping quarters. There is no room for private meetings, classes with our mutual aid partners, or public safety programs. The trailer is vulnerable to severe weather and flooding. Its proximity to the police department is a serious security risk. I hope you will visit us to see first-hand our current “facilities”  and learn how we hope to improve them.   

 

Security Must Be Improved • A Message from the Chief of Police Donald Wickenhauser

Our current police facility is at odds with modern police operations. Handling prisoners is a major concern. There is no secure area to bring them in, and no cameras or restroom in the  cell area. Prisoners are held in the same room as the officers’  cubicles, which is near civilians and non-police employees. There is no emergency generator, leaving the facility unusable in a power outage. If a disaster occurs there is no space for a  major case squad or command center. Handling evidence properly is a challenge without a secure  location for bulk and refrigerated evidence. The interview/interrogation room is located within an office space shared by two officers, though their separate functions are not compatible.  Despite this situation, your police officers maintain the highest  level of standards possible. Please join us at one of the upcoming open houses so we can  show you the challenges we face on a daily basis.        

 

Contact Form

Use our convenient email form to contact for more information.

 

Reimagine Rock Hill Community Engagement Facilitating Team

Community Liaison Co-Chairs  

 Jeffrey Pounds & Bridget Geiss  

 

Members  

Eve Ballman

Steve Baybo

Benjamin Franklin

Clint Heath

James Killion

Rita Lay

Stephanie Stuppy

John E. Thomas

Rosemary Turner

Kim Vinceny  

 

City Officials 

Edward Mahan, Mayor

Jennifer Yackley, City Administrator  

 

 

News Coverage

 

Webster Kirkwood Times: Rock Hill Citizens' Opinions Wanted On Facilities

 

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Rock Hill group to go door to door to invite residents to meeting on proposed city hall 

 

 

 

Contact Form

Reimagine Rock Hill
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320 W. Thornton Ave. Rock Hill, MO 63119 Telephone:(314)968-1410