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Jan 02

Olivette's Top 10 Stories of 2016

Posted on January 2, 2017 at 5:40 PM by Samantha Weil


 The City of Olivette had a great year in 2016. It was a year of historical milestones, city accomplishments, lots of construction, and fantastic events. Check out the top 10 stories which happened in the Olivette community this past year. 

10. Mayor Springer Participates in Ladue Fifth Grade Center “Practice Voting Project”

During the first week of November, Mayor Ruth Springer along with the mayors of Creve Coeur and Frontenac attended the Ladue Fifth Grade Center event for practice voting. This event encouraged young people to be civically engaged in our democratic system.  

Mayor Springer commented on her motivation for participating in this educational opportunity for local students. "Voting is a right that all of us should exercise. I was especially pleased and proud to participate in the 'Practice Voting Project' last week at the Ladue Fifth Grade Center. Understanding the process and importance of voting is a great learning lesson for the next generation of voters. I especially enjoyed meeting the young voters from Olivette,” Mayor Springer said.

 Mayor Springer at 5th grade center     Mayor Springer at 5th grade center2

9. Fall Festivity Recap

Party in the ParkParty in the Park 2.0

On September 23, an outdoor festive was held for the first time at Warson Park. The park proved to be a wonderful location for Party in the Park 2.0 with ample parking, easy walking access and wide open spaces with a lovely forest backdrop. Party-goers enjoyed the Thrill Zone that included a zipline, mechanical bull, bungee jump, climbing wall and inflatables along with the ever-popular dance party by DJ Reggie’s Pure Entertainment. Dinners by Chicago Hots and drinks by Fallon’s Bar & Grill enjoyed in the beer tent rounded out the night. 

Boo Bash
Another perennial favorite, Boo Bash has offered Olivette children a special Halloween experience for over 30 years. The new location at Warson Park allowed additions of lots of new activities and larger games. Joining the traditional costume contest was an adult division that was highly entertaining. Other additions included lawn sixe Connect Four and Jenga as well as a Haunted Hayride. Circus Kaput provided face painting, balloon animals and a magic show. Olivette resident and all-around great MC Mark Biernacki kept everyone entertained and dancing between activities.  

Boo Bash1   Boo Bash 2   Boo Bash 3

8. Olivette Public Safety Assists with Presidential Debate
On October 9, 2016, Washington University hosted a presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It was the fifth time the University has hosted a presidential debate, more than any other institution. As you can imagine, the planning for an event of this magnitude begins years in advance and requires a tremendous amount of resources. Several Olivette public safety personnel were able to utilize their years of training and experience to assist with the operations surrounding the debate.

Fire Chief Scott Avery was asked last year to serve on the command staff for the fire service at the debate. The team began working on the debate over 14 months ago and continued to meet every month improving the plans for the debate from a fire and EMS perspective. They were able to bring together many different organizations and prepare for any re or EMS issues that could possibly develop when all of the people were in one place. There was additional training that was conducted and preparations that took over a year. We were able to watch the University campus transform into a television set and then back into a University campus. It was interesting to see the television sets that were assembled and then removed in the matter of a few days.

On the day of the debate, two command posts were established. One was at the Clayton Police Department; the other was on the campus of Washington University. Police Chief Rick Knox and Fire Chief Avery were present in both command posts. Also inside the command posts were personnel from several federal, state, county, city and local agencies. As you can imagine, the command posts were buzzing with nonstop activity. People were monitoring the debate itself, as well as a multitude of surveillance cameras relaying live feeds back to numerous monitors. Hundreds, maybe closer to 1000, individuals swarmed the University and surrounding areas to make their voices heard on several different issues. The main goal of all personnel in the command posts was the safety and security of everyone involved in the event.

A few miles away from the debate stage, a staging area had been established. This area housed approximately 100 police officers and re personnel from many surrounding jurisdictions. It would be their responsibility to respond to situations where additional resources were needed to quell riotous behavior. Lt. David Wolf was on hand to assist in managing the staging area. Sgt. Steve Ford and Sgt. Beth Andreski were assigned as part of Force Protection. They would lead a team officers to help protect re and emergency medical personnel if those types of resources needed to be deployed in the areas surrounding the debate venue. Sgt. Mike Wayt and Sgt. Garrett Wood were assigned to lead a team that provided security for the staging area itself. Fortunately, there were no incidents during the debate that necessitated the need for mutual aid resources. 

7. Welcome New Businesses 
2016 November Newsletter Final Version-Pie ChartThis summer and fall, Olivette became home to 10-new businesses.  Bently’s Pet Stuff opened its second location in the St. Louis area at the Price of Shoppes Crossing, and LuLu’s Asian Kitchen opened a new restaurant at Olivette Center.  Other retail and personal care businesses include Rezult’s Hair Salon, Auto Beauty Specialist, and Festive Couture Floral.  A full list of Olivette businesses can now be accessed via the City’s website under the Department of Planning and Community Development.

For the 2016 calendar year, the City has a total of 354 businesses operating, 38 of which opened just this year alone.  With the guidance of the Olivette Economic Development Commission, the City is developing an electronic database to inventory our businesses.

6.  Turkey Trot Recap

The Third Annual Turkey Trot was bigger and better than ever. Olivette’s Annual Turkey Trot started three years ago with 250 participants and then grew to 680 in 2015. This year 876 people came out to start their Thanksgiving day with some community spirit, charity, and fun.

The Turkey Trot is a 5K walk/run on Thanksgiving morning that raises money for charity especially charities which helps feed people who might otherwise go hungry. Together our community donated more than $7,000 to the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.

Jeff Springer, the event organizer, commented on how the Turkey Trot attracts people from all over St. Louis. “It brings people to Olivette who are not familiar with our great community. I've heard comments from participants who've said, ‘I didn't realize how pretty Olivette is,’” said Springer. According to Springer, participants have also commented on how great it is to spend time walking and talking with their kids who come home for the holidays.

Turkey Trot 2     Turkey Trot 3

Turkey Trot 1     Turkey Trot 4

5. Olivette is Named One of the Best Places To Live

Many now know what Olivette residents have known for some time. Olivette is one of the best places to live! This year the Suburban Journal ranked Olivette number 4 in the top 15 best suburbs to live in the St. Louis area. Read the full article at:…/the-best-suburbs-in-the-st-lou…

Olivette also made Niche list of Best Places to Live. The list ranks a total of 100 cities in the United States based on thirteen different subject areas including: cost of living, education, crime, jobs, and health. See the listing here:

A full story published in the St. Louis Business journal can be viewed:…/4-county-locations-among-best-…


4. Local Boy Scout Installs New Trail Markers

New Trail Markers2Combining his love of hiking with his passion for community service, Cedrick Evereart of Boy Scout Troop 344 installed mile markers along the Olivette Pathway and the Stacy Park trail. In planning and designing the project, Cedrick solicited input from the Olivette Parks & Recreation Commission and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Once the design was finalized, Cedrick organized volunteer crews for two phases. The first phase consisted of cutting, sanding and applying the protective coating to the 12 wooden posts in his garage. The second phase was to install and cement each post along the trails.

The Stacy Park markers are placed every tenth of a mile and the Pathway markers every quarter mile. The high quality wood posts have a protective coating and mitered top to shed water with easy to read aluminum plaques showing the distance.

“The trail markers are a wonderful addition to Olivette,” said Beverly Tucker Knight, Olivette’s Director of Parks and Recreation. “Through the recent Olivette benchmark park survey, we learned a majority of residents rank walking trails as their number one park amenity. Several residents also shared how much they miss the distance markers that wore away. This project truly benefits our entire community,” Tucker Knight said.

The project was funded entirely by Cedrick through community donations. The Parks and Recreation Department provided assistance in drilling the postholes.  As an additional service, Cedrick also refurbished one of the Stacy Park message boards. The trail marker service project is the final step for Cedrick to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. 

3. 30
th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run

On May 12 the Olivette Police Department participated in the 30th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. The run benefits Special Olympics Missouri. Each year the LETR raises thousands of dollars and inspires all participants. Olivette Officers received the torch from Brentwood Police Officers at Delmar and I-170, carried it through the streets of Olivette, and handed the torch over to Ladue Police at Ladue Road.

According to the Special Olympics of Missouri, “The Law Enforcement Torch Run ® gives officers, athletes and the community the opportunity to come together for a superior cause. Whether one is inspired to volunteer, donate or participate, they can be confident knowing they are supporting the Special Olympics’ mission statement by “giving children and adults with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.” Learn more about the Law Enforcement Torch Run at:

Torch Run

2. Groundbreaking for New City Center

On the morning of March 19th, a Groundbreaking Ceremony marked the beginning of construction for the New City Center. Over 100 people gathered to hear speeches from city staff and officials as well as watch the first shovels of dirt be dug from the ground as construction on the New City Center officially began.

In her opening remarks of welcome, Mayor Ruth Springer told residents, “Your vote to approve this project was not just a simple vote to approve the construction of this building; it was a real affirmation of your commitment to our community and an affirmation of your confidence in our first responders.”

Police Chief, Rick Knox, then spoke on behalf of both the Police and Fire Departments. Both of which will be moving their staffs into the New City Center.

“This building, long awaited for, long in the planning, is a small monument for our city.  Aptly named, Olivette City Center, it will be a building for everyone to use and I thank everyone who worked hard and voted or made this a reality,” said Chief Knox.

The New City Center will provide a modern and efficient working space for all city workers, police officers and firefighters. The building will include a multipurpose meeting room available for residents to use. The Fire and Police Departments will be able to function more safely and effectively in the facility. Our firefighters will be able to train onsite.

Barb Sondag, Olivette’s City Manager, commented that she was pleasantly surprised by how many residents attended the groundbreaking.

“The groundbreaking was an exciting event not just for staff but also for residents. People saw this building project as a new beginning for the City. The attendance of so many residents reaffirmed that the New City Center is more than a building, it is a community project.”

The construction, which symbolically began at the groundbreaking ceremony, will continue through 2016 and into the spring of 2017. The New City Center is expected to be ready for move in during March of 2017.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Olivette. It was in the 1950’s that the city last broke ground on a Municipal Center. Today is a new day, in a new chapter. Thank you all for being a part of it,” said Mayor Springer.

You can stay updated with the progression of construction on the New City Center at:


Groundbreaking 2     Groundbreaking 3

1. Zoe's Story

For several weeks, citizens called into the Olivette Police Department to report a dog in the area of Grandview and Forsythia. Citizens were concerned with the dog’s well-being, as the dog did not appear to be a stray. Olivette officers, with the Animal Control Officer Roman Shmulevich, saw the dog and tried to catch it on several occasions; however, when approached, the dog would run away. 

Animal Control Officer Shmulevich would use food to attract the animal, but to no avail. Shumlevich insured the animal was fed, until he decided to borrow a large humane trap from the St Louis County Animal Care and Control. An Olivette resident allowed the trap to be set up on his property and Shumlevich placed food in the surrounding area and in the trap. 

The trap was checked each hour and at 8pm the dog was found in the trap – prior to the night’s bitter cold. The dog was taken to St. Louis County Animal Care and Control where she was found to be in good health and microchipped. Due to the microchip, dog owner, Charlene Snider of O’Fallon, MO, was contacted and she was reunited with her dog, Zoe.

Snider told officers that Zoe escaped from her daughter’s home in Overland, MO where Zoe was being watched while Snider was out of town. Zoe has been missing since November. Snider said she had posted flyers and pictures “all over the place” as well as on social media and missing pet websites. Snider expressed her gratitude to all of the agencies involved in finding Zoe and stated that she was, “on cloud 9.” 

Prior to coming to Olivette, Animal County Officer Shumlevich trained dogs and has many medals from training dogs for shows.

Zoes Story