By Elizabeth Barmeier
St. Clair Missourian Editor
Ward 1 Alderman Art Viehland was sworn in for his second term Monday night.
Before moving to St. Clair, Viehland lived in Pacific for 42 years and has three children from a previous marriage and five grandchildren. He said he is a retired teamster with local 682 and worked for Breckenridge Material in Chesterfield for 30 years.
“After I raised my children on my own, I met my present wife (Janet),” Viehland said.
He added that their 27th wedding anniversary is coming up. Janet is also an alderwoman for Ward 1. They moved to St. Clair in 1994 and started attending board of aldermen meetings, according to Viehland.
“This went on for quite a few years,” he said.
A few years ago, Viehland and Janet were asked to be members on a Transportation Development District, according to Viehland.
“This we gladly did and improvements to the Highway 47 and Interstate 44 corridor were started and finished,” he said.
He added that he was later approached by Mayor Ron Blum to fill an alderman Ward 1 vacancy.
“Well, I didn’t think I could give it the time that it required, so I suggested that my wife, Janet, be allowed to fill the position, which she did,” Viehland said.
Not too long after that Viehland said he was asked again to fill an alderman vacancy. This time, he accepted the position.
“It was at this time I decided I would make time to serve the people of St. Clair. When the term I was fulfilling was up, I decided to run for the position,” he said.
“It has been a real learning experience being involved in city government.”
He added that his time on the board has led him to being on the planning and zoning commission.
“It is a great pleasure to serve the people of St. Clair,” Viehland said.
Some of Viehland’s goals as an alderman include being where he is needed, to have the city’s best interest at heart and help the city reach its potential.
“We need more retail, everybody knows that,” Viehland said. “We need our streets fixed correctly, everybody knows that. We need our sewer system upgraded to meet federal requirements. This is going to be an expensive one so get ready,” he said.
He added that he would like to see continual improvements to the parks.
“I would just like to mention that there are a lot of great people serving in different areas of the city government and I appreciate all that they do,” Viehland said.
For the past 16 years, he has been working at M.R. Clark Auction and Appraisal. Viehland said he and Janet would attend auctions on the weekends, which let to his employment.
“In my spare time I find myself baling and selling hay on a farm I have just outside the great city of St. Clair,” he said.
He added that he has a “small” garden where last year he planted 130 tomato plants, 45 pepper plants, 30 cabbage plants, 25 cantaloupe seeds, 30 cucumber plants, a few beets and more.
“I love to stay busy and to be working,” Viehland said.
When he was younger, Viehland said he would mow lawns and worked at bakery in Pacific before and after school at 14. After high school, he added that he was given an opportunity to work at a concrete company in Eureka where he learned to drive a concrete truck. In 1973, he was transferred to Breckenridge Material and retired from driving in 2003 at age 51.