PEM facility to expand in St. Clair

The PEM Racing facility stands at 425 Industrial Park Drive July 19 in St. Clair. The St. Clair Board of Aldermen approved a site plan for a 23,760-square-foot addition to the building at its Monday meeting. 

The city of St. Clair is trying to sell five lots in hopes that builders will construct houses and spur growth in St. Clair.

At its regular meeting Monday, the Board of Aldermen discussed the first bid it received on two of its properties.

Betty Banks is offering $500 each for two lots on North Street and Sherman Street, which are adjacent. Banks owns a house on the adjacent block and wants to purchase these lots to use as a lawn. In a letter to the city, she said these lots were only mowed once this year, and she wants to maintain it. She thinks it will improve the appearance of the neighborhood.

Ward 1 Alderman Arthur Viehland called it “a ridiculous bid.” He wants the board to relist the properties.

The three other lots are on Main Street and Frisco Street. They have not received any bids yet.

Ward 2 Alderman Amanda Sikes suggested the board relist the properties but put a minimum bid stipulation on them. However, she noted that it would be unfair if they don’t give the current bidder an opportunity to raise their bid to that minimum. She also suggested the board stipulate that a house must be built on the property.

Ward 1 Alderman Cherie Counts threw out the idea of just giving the properties away.

“I think we could boost morale,” she said. “I understand we want money, but I’d love to see a cute little house there.”

Her reasoning is that the board is only selling these properties in hopes that houses would be built on them, which would spur more growth and development. Her suggestion involves having builders show the board their plans to build houses, and whichever plan the board likes most gets the bid.

Mayor Cozy Bailey said she wants the city to advertise these properties more on social media.

In the end, the board decided to table discussion about the bid for another meeting after aldermen have had more time to research and think it over.

At the meeting, the board also approved a site plan for a 23,760-square-foot addition at PEM Racing, an auto parts store at 425 Industrial Park Drive.

Roy Teeter, owner of PEM Racing, said the company is growing and wants to build a new dedicated warehouse.

Before the board approved the plan, City Administrator Travis Dierker suggested the company reroute the sewer line so that it does not go under its loading dock and is more accessible for maintenance, something PEM Racing was fine with. The board’s approval came with the stipulation that the company make this change.