Merger Would Lop Off Part of Pacific, Altering the River City’s Future

By on March 19, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Dorl Thornton’s house on Walnut Street is on the far western edge of St. Louis County. His dad and father-in-law built the little brick ranch. He and his family have lived in it for 55 years. And he likes it just fine.

But in two years, his home could be removed from city boundaries.

“I think it’s a boondoggle,” Thornton, 84, said recently. “That’s what I think.”

Municipalities across the region are examining the details of the St. Louis city-county consolidation proposal that has roiled the region, and many officials now worry that they could lose control of parts of their communities that make them what they are — from senior-citizen utility bill forgiveness to home-repair grants to housing development.

But the proposal’s impact on 7,000-resident Pacific may be the most dramatic: About 2 square miles along this river city’s eastern edge are in St. Louis County. The rest, about 4 square miles, sits in Franklin County, just to the west. Merger advocacy group Better Together’s plan strips the St. Louis County land out of Pacific, and makes it part of the proposed metropolitan city.

“What does St. Louis care about us out here?” asked Thornton, sitting in a worn rocker, his great-grandchildren passing in and out of the room as he talked. “We do all right.”

Pacific is growing east, along historic Route 66, further into St. Louis County. National utility contractor ADB Companies just built its headquarters there. The U.S. Silica sand mine is looking to expand. The city has refurbished a park on the bluff overlooking 66. It even owns an old roadhouse, Red Cedar Inn, that it plans to redevelop — perhaps into a microbrewery — with hopes it will anchor development around planned hiking and biking trails along the Meramec River here.

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