Bryan Vogt: Welcome back to Ready, Set, Sold. I’m your host, Bryan Vogt. Thanks so much for joining us today. Okay, I’m so excited. I mentioned earlier in the program that we have the mayor of O’Fallon, Mayor Herb Roach. Mayor, are you there?
Herb Roach: I am here. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Bryan Vogt: Well, thank you for spending some time and just a little brief history with the mayor. And he prefers Herb, so we’ll go by Herb. Talked with Herb off air before we started the program. It’s actually amazing, his background. I mean, he has family roots in O’Fallon since the 1850s and he’s the mayor of O’Fallon.
His business life has been so customer oriented, service oriented, and also the idea of being on the aldermatic board for six years, and then became mayor, so this is a person who has a true love affair with O’Fallon so we’re so happy that he could be with us, and I want tokind of throw it to you, Herb, and that is there’s so many features of O’Fallon. Maybe you can just give us a few of why it’s such a fantastic place to live, and maybe some things that people wouldn’t necessarily know.
Herb Roach: Bryan, I’ll be more than happy to do that. We’ve got many very, very good cities here in the Metro East, but you’ll find it won’t take you five seconds to know how much I feel toward the city of O’Fallon and I’m extremely proud to be part of our city and we’ve got a history of 163 years, and to be part of the city government and one of the things that has helped O’Fallon grow is that we grow and work together.
The city, our citizens, our businesses, our youth organizations, our volunteer organizations, that’s how we’ve become the home to over 30,000 residents. And that’s the second largest community here in south of Springfield. Our growth has been brought … Go ahead, sir.
Bryan Vogt: When you said that I did not know the numbers had grown that big and that’s amazing because one of the things that everyone kind of knows if you live in this area is of course, the military presence in O’Fallon, and that’s huge and that’s fantastic and that’s ever-growing. But you know one of the things is that’s a portion of it. But what I’m hearing you talking about is the grassroots of people living there for generations and people having a sense of community and how important that is also.
Herb Roach: That’s the beauty that we’ve got in our community, we’ve got that group of people who have been here, whose families have been here for a long time, that have helped to develop the solid foundation, our infrastructure for our community, and made it an attractive place that other families have wanted to come into.
Then, we have the very good fortunate of having so many people who have moved to our community from outside of our region, and they have brought new ideas, new insight, from other parts of the country, that we would not have had. So you’ve blessed that with the stability and the foundation, and the new is what has make O’Fallon a community that has been on the move for years and continues to go forward.
As I’ve said earlier, we’re so fortunate to have many fine organizations and churches, and volunteer groups that get involved in the community which just makes our community that much better. We’re a community that is growing both residentially and business.
National value weighters have ranked our city as the 5th best community in Illinois for families to live in, the 18th best city for veterans in the country, the 103rd best small city in America, and the 30th best city in America for education and health.
And how did we earn this? We have some premiere schools to start with. Our high school is among the highest in graduating … our graduates who go on and get scholarships. It offers all types of sports, clubs, every type of program available for students to get involved. It also works with the local universities.
Some our students by the time they graduate, they have the equivalent of an associate degree in college which helps them. We have 9 elementary school buildings that spread across the city, and while many other local communities have to transfer their students to other communities to go high school, we’ve got two beautiful campuses here in O’Fallon for our students to attend.
We have homes, rental property that can meet various needs of the various families based on their income level. We’ve got a modern library that works very hard to please and work with our visitors. Our police department is ranked among one the highest in the Metro East and is proven by the low crime rate that we have. Fire department just went through its state rankings, and is now ranked in the top 15% in the state.
Our 911 Center, which is only one of only four in the county is one of the most modern in the area, and we help service other communities as well as the city of O’Fallon.
EMS department received awards for its life saving techniques. We also are blessed to have our own water and sewer department, which is unlike many other communities. This allows us to offer what I feel is superior service, and for example, our cost for water is about 40% below what other neighboring communities are.
Also recognized that we need to constantly maintain and upgrade our infrastructure, so that means taking care of the older parts of our community, as well as the newer parts of our community, so we don’t have areas going down and falling into what you would refer to as a “slum area”. We take great deal of pride in doing that and keeping those maintained as well.
Also we have an award winning park system. First class, and other first class recreational facilities. Included in this, we’ve got 10 parks, where some communities may have one swimming pool, or none, we have an outdoor swimming pool, and between our parks and other recreational programs, we have 3 indoor swimming pools.
We just opened up 7 new all season surface soccer fields. Over a dozen baseball fields, two indoor skating rinks. We have tennis courts. We have basketball courts, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, bicycle trails, splash pad, and so many more activities that lead to the quality of life that the residents here in O’Fallon enjoy, and this in turn allows us to attract major builders and developers.
That’s why we’re so proud that this year, we’ll probably have an excess of 150 new homes being built in our community, and that’s why we’re known as the fastest growing in the Metro East, and one of the top 5 in the greater St. Louis area.
In addition to that, we have a downtown area that has seen a tremendous amount of growth and development, and we as a community are looking to further enhance the development of our older downtown area, and this in turn allows us to be more aggressive and to attract national retailers – The Sam’s, the Home Depot, the Menards. And that’s not even to begin to mention, we just had the ribbon cutting for the brand new $300 million dollar state-of-the-art, 144 bed St. Elizabeth HSHS hospital.