Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Townsend
Board of Aldermen President
View Message from Alderman Townsend
GREETING FROM ALDERMAN TOWNSEND (VIDEO)
'WARD ONE UPDATE' INTERVIEW WITH ALDERMAN TOWNSEND (VIDEO)
Alderman Joyce Townsend has lived in Ward One St. Peters for more than 30 years, and has been married to Keith for more than 35 years. She graduated from St. Charles High School, has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from UMSL, and has owned and operated three successful home-based businesses.
She served as Alderman Ward One from 1996-2000, and then chose to stay home to raise her family's four children. During this time she and her husband were both very involved in Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting, and she served as a Leave No Trace trainer, teaching environmentally sound camping and backpacking practices to both groups of Scouts.
In her private life, Alderman Townsend is a member of the Saint Charles Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, one of the country’s premier Veterans’ service organizations. Her interests include genealogy research, public speaking and historical storytelling, gardening, and needlework. She is now the proud grandmother of three beautiful grandchildren.
Alderman Townsend currently serves as Board of Aldermen President.
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Message from Alderman Townsend
The Importance of History
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?” This is attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman who lived from 106 to 43 BC. He was an anti-dictator/anti-Julius Caesar spokesman who valued history and knew where he came from.
I happen to agree with him. We need to preserve our heritage, our stories, and our past, both the good and the not so good. Erasing history doesn’t remove it from existence – it merely relegates it to a place that’s hard to retrieve, and definitely impossible to learn lessons from.
For me, having lost both my parents and having no siblings, genealogy has brought a sense of connection that I don’t otherwise have. I’ve learned that I have some amazing living relatives and long-gone ancestors, in that they sometimes struggled, sometimes succeeded, but always persevered. I wouldn’t be here without them! I’m proud of my history, and hope that my research will someday inspire my children and beyond to do great things, just like our ancestors did.
I’m also proud of the research the Historical Focus Group is doing! We’re getting our original families’ trees sorted out, we’re discovering stories and items from the past, and we’re learning about our Old Town area’s buildings and streets. I’m collecting all the old newspaper articles I can, and getting them in readable condition again. And, with the help of many staff members and volunteers, we’re identifying hundreds of old photographs. We’ve got some amazing stories to tell once we get it all together.
If you like ancestry, genealogy, or a good puzzle, the Historical Focus Group is for you. We meet occasionally, but most of the work we do is in small groups or even individually. Please give me a call if you’re interested in helping us get St. Peters’ story told, and I’ll give you more details.
As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve the residents of Ward One, and I welcome your calls and emails. Reach me at Alderman.Townsend@stpetersmo.net or 636-357-2789.
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A Tribute to Former Mayor Al Wiegand
There are few people who had as important a role in the history and formation of St. Peters as we know it as Albert Wiegand.
Al was born in Hecker, Illinois in 1930. He graduated from the University of Illinois – Champagne/Urbana with his Bachelor’s degree, then completed his Master’s in Engineering on an ROTC scholarship in the early 1950’s. He served as a First Lieutenant in the Air Force for two years as an aircraft mechanic on a carrier during the Korean War. Then, he went to work as a mechanical engineer at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. While at McDonnell, he was part of the development team for the Gemini project, and earned the privilege of displaying the Gemini capsule to President Kennedy when he toured the plant on Sept. 12, 1962.
To be nearer his work, he and his bride, Bernice Schuchardt moved to St. Peters on their wedding day, Oct. 15, 1960. Bernice, who had a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, worked at Deaconess Hospital, then later became a school nurse, where she was a sponsor for the “Future Nurses Club” at the high school.
Al and Bernice’s two children, Eric and Dawn, attended St. Peters Elementary, South Junior High School (now South Middle School), and Ft. Zumwalt High School (current-day Ft. Zumwalt North High School). Al Wiegand placed great importance on higher education and inspired his children and grandchildren to pursue it. Both of his children and all five of his grandchildren— Jared, Zach and Victoria Wiegand, and Lindsay and Kyle Spitz—have or are pursuing degrees.
When Al and Bernice moved to St. Peters, and became involved with their new community, Al joined the volunteer fire department and became more familiar with the needs of their new hometown. In 1968, Al Wiegand won the mayoral contest in St. Peters. He was the first Mayor not born in the City. There were then four Aldermen helping him run St. Peters, along with a City Clerk and a Treasurer. Mayor Wiegand soon hired our first employee, Rose Mundwiller, who became the City Clerk when the former Clerk became the Collector of Revenue. City Hall was a 10x14 foot room at the top of a rickety back staircase above the L-J gift shop on Main Street. Al was ahead of his time, riding his bike to work every day!
Annexations began in earnest in 1969, and St. Peters grew. The dream of an affordable Senior Village became a reality when 24 units were built on McMenamy Road in 1971 and a second added in 1974. In 1972, he brought forth the idea of a regional shopping area called Rivers West Mall. While the original ideas did not get past the planning stage, the potential benefit of a regional mall in St. Peters was identified. Mid Rivers Mall would later happen very near this planned area.
In May 1972 a water main burst, and the resulting emergency eventually led to the construction of three water storage tanks located east of Jungermann Road, south of Willott Road and in Arrowhead Industrial Park so the City wouldn’t be without water again.
During his tenure as Mayor the first Planning Commission was formed in June 1972. In August of that year the first Comprehensive Land Use Plan was presented by the Planning Commission, which guided all future development in the City. Mayor Wiegand also appointed the first St. Peters Parks Board. His vision was for a park to be within reach of every resident without a large outlay of tax dollars. He urged developers to donate land and for civic groups to create parks.
With the City’s continued growth, the governmental structure evolved to provide more services. Because of his strong engineering skills and expertise in the City’s programs and needs, he agreed to resign as Mayor and become the City’s first Administrator on April 12, 1973. He served in this capacity until 1978.
Progress and growth continued. The first St. Peters summer recreation program was held in June 1973 and the first community pool opened in August 1973. The St. Peters Junior Football Association was formed, and in November 1973, the A. J. Wiegand Bowl Games were held in honor of all the work he had done to get the facilities they used at Brown Road’s field. It is now Brown Road Park.
During this time, new sales tax revenue sources began pouring in. Venture opened its store in the Cave Springs area in August 1973 and the City hired its first two police officers: Lt. Colonel Ray Wilson and Police Chief Doug Beaver. City Hall was expanded to fill the entire building on Main Street, and new offices were added for the workers to use. In 1975, May Company (the owners of Venture) donated a tract of land from the Venture site, and a new City Hall was built at the corner of Mexico Road and Venture Drive.
The Dardenne Bridge (better known as the Highway C Bridge through Old Town) was built in 1975-1976, and the 96-acre Dardenne Estates Country Club was purchased with its golf course, fishing lake, swimming pool, tennis courts, and the restaurant known as Dorato’s. It is now the site of our Golf Club and Water’s Edge Banquet Center.
Al Wiegand served as City Administrator through two mayors’ terms: Terry Williams and John Morris. After the 1978 elections with Gary Turner becoming the new mayor, Al decided his time to resign as City Administrator had come. He went on to develop properties through the McKelvey Company and as the founder of Mid-Rivers Realty and Development.
In 2017 after the death of his wife Bernice, Al moved to Leander, Texas to live with his daughter, Dawn, and her family. He got to know his family better and spend quality time with his grandchildren.
On May 6, 2021, our former mayor passed away after living a robust, interesting, and service-filled life. The City of St. Peters owes much to this man. Our condolences to Mr. Albert J. Wiegand’s family.
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