ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – The residents of Heritage Subdivision near St. Peters battled severe water issues with homes in danger of sliding down a hill.
The residents have been coping with many problems that occurred in their neighborhood like stormwater run-off problems.
Recently, the St. Louis County Council led by County Executive Steve Ehlmann has organized a fund for about $5 million to help the water problems and soil erosion.
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“The Council authorized me as County Executive to match the state contribution up to $2.5 million dollars to deal with these water problems, we’re experiencing at Heritage and other places,” said Ehlmann.
He said he is focused on helping those whose homes are on a hill with serious soil erosion problems. One house had to be demolished because of the destruction caused by soil erosion.
Victoria Poletti’s home was next to the one that was torn down. The soil erosion has created a huge crack in her basement floor and the wall. Poletti said her family have to vacant her home because of the damages.
“We got married at our house, so a lot of memories that were built,” said Poletti. “It’s hard to walk away from it, but it’s good to know that there is a possibility that us being whole again after having to move out of the house.”
When FOX 2 were first involved in 2021, the residents accused county officials of not listening to their situation and telling them that it was a private problem to solve.
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Since then, St. Charles County Council changed its stance on the matter and Ehlmann said the residents were a victim.
“Back in the 1970s, you could build a house like that on a steep hill or you could build a house that would get flooded,” said Ehlmann. “The county would not stop you, there was no law to keep you from doing that. Today, you can’t build a house in the flood plain, and we would not let a developer build a house like that on a hill today. Unless he went out and did soil samples to show that it was safe.”
About 100 residents at Heritage went to the St. Charles County Council meeting in 2021 to voice their concerns about the problems that were damaging the neighborhood like a broken stormwater sewer and a house that was sinking. The residents have Ehlmann come to one of their homeowner’s association meetings to explain what the county planned to do to help.
State lawmakers from St. Charles contributed by attaining the funds from the budget. The County Council voted to match it using ARPA funds to address the issue.
Ehlmann said there are still some details to work out with the state before spending the funds, but he stressed that this is one deal that will get done. He told FOX 2, Elliott Davis, that it takes time.
”Between you saying it and me making it happen is substantially different,” said Ehlmann.”You’ve done a good service to these folks. At some point, I think you haven’t realized that government doesn’t respond and things can’t get done as quickly as you would like.”
Poletti told Elliott she thank him for his help.
”You’ve helped give us a voice and helped bring light to our situation,” said Poletti.
The residents said the funds may not solve all the problems at Heritage, but it’s a start.