Community Profile

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St. James – “Forest City of the Ozarks”

St. James, Missouri is known as the Forest City of the Ozarks. St. James was founded with the desire to preserve a “spot of great natural beauty for the enjoyment of the people” and that early emphasis has been continued in this beautiful Missouri community. Began in the early 1800’s as a trading post, St. James has grown into a thriving community that has successfully blended quiet neighborhoods with a steadily growing diverse business and industrial base. St. James was recently selected as the site for a Wal-Mart Distribution Center and is home to Boys and Girls Town of Missouri, the Missouri Veteran’s Home, and several manufacturers.


Described as quaint, unique and full of history, St. James is known for its trees, its grape vineyards and is home to several awardwinning wineries. Time Magazine described St. James as the “most handsomely wooded town in the nation”. The community has many beautiful buildings and outstanding recreation areas that were gifts to the community from the James Foundation, a foundation of Lucy Wortham James, one of the first citizens of St. James. St. James is the gateway to the Ozark Scenic Riverways and lies within a 30-minute drive of the Mark Twain National Forests. Old Route 66 intersects the community and the community is bordered by the Maramec Spring Park—a trout hatchery, park, campground and nature preservation area, and the Woods Memorial Area, a 6,500 acre conservation area .


A strong sense of community and great community pride combined with natural beauty, prime location and the many other unique aspects of the community do indeed make St. James a place of great natural beauty to be enjoyed by all!


St. James - Centrally Located

St. James is located in Phelps County, Missouri. According to the 2010 Census St. James is 74 miles east of the center of population.


St. James is strategically located on Interstate 44 and State Highways 8 and 68. The community lies 90 miles southwest of St. Louis, sixty miles south of Jefferson City, one hundred twenty miles northeast of Springfield and one hundred sixty miles northeast of Branson.

The community of Rolla, located 10 miles east of St. James, is the home of the University of Missouri-Rolla, the Rolla Technical Institute and the Phelps County Regional Medical Center.
The Burlington-Northern Railroad runs through St. James and the Rolla National Airport – classified as a General Aviation facility capable of landing corporate aircraft - is located 13 miles from town.

St. James Municipal Services and Departments

St. James is a third class city and operates with a mayor-council government that is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community. There are eight elected city council members and the mayoral position is elected. The city has a full-time city clerk.


Other municipal services include a fire and police protection, community and economic development, municipal utilities, street and sanitation.


The Police Department is staffed with a chief, 7 officers and several reserve officers.


The city has planning and zoning and ordinances are enforced. Businesses are required to obtain a business license with yearly fees that range from $2 to $50 depending on the type of business.
City utilities provided include electric power, water, sewage distribution and treatment, solid waste disposal, recycling, and natural gas.

St. James owns a Tourist Information Center that is staffed by one parttime and one full-time employee.


Economic Development in the Community

The City has a full-time economic developer on staff and has an active Industrial Development Authority.


The City has identified eight primary goals for community and economic development that include:

  • Increase and attract retail businesses
  • Improve public infrastructure including roads, sidewalks and utilities
  • Improve and expand available housing
  • Improve and expand community services including police and fire departments, school district, and health and child care facilities
  • Retain existing businesses and provide assistance for expansion
  • Attract new businesses and industries
  • Enhance and expand the tourism industry in the community
  • Maintain the high quality of life by remaining a family-oriented community, preserving a clean environment and quiet neighborhoods.

The City has two industrial sites - one that is developed and one that is not. The developed park—St. James Industrial Park One totals 141.5 acres with about 100 acres open for development. This site is located adjacent to Interstate 44 and has all utilities including water, sewer, and natural gas.
The second site—St. James Industrial Park Two—has 240 acres available for development and is adjacent to the Burlington- Northern Railroad right-of-way.


The City offers several incentives to qualified employers including:

  • No personal property or ad valorem tax.
  • Industrial lots located in Industrial Park offered to employers that create 8 or more new jobs.
  • Tax-exempt revenue bonds available for qualified industries.
  • Availability of job-training programs.
  • Utilities connections provided at no cost to qualified industry.


St. James Municipal Utilities

Capacity of Plant 2,088,000 Gallons Per Day
2000 City Population 400,000 Gallons Per Day
2010 City Population 600,000 Gallons Per Day
1990 County Population 800,000
Rates: $3.00 minimum
100 - 10,000 = 10 cents/100 Gallons
Over 10,000 = 8 cents/100 Gallons
Waste Water
Type of Plant Primary and Secondary
Capacity of Plant 1,110,000 Gallons Per Day
Present Load of Plant 426,000 Gallons Per Day
Rates: $3.00 minimum
.10 cents per 100 Gallons to 10,000 gallons
.08 cents per 100 Gallons after 10,000 gallons
Natural Gas
$1.02 per 100 cubic feet
St. James purchase its power from Constellation Power Source
Rates: The community has residential, commercial and industrial rates. Rates are scheduled to increase 2% on 1 January 2005.
Residential Minimum $3.55
1-10 Kwh  
11-300 Kwh $.083 per Kwh
Over 300 Kwh $.058 Per Kwh
Commercial Minimum: 1-10 Kwh $3.55
11-500 Kwh $.1087 Cents per Kwh
500-2,500 $.083 per Kwh
Over 2,500 $.058 per Kwh
Industrial Minimum $225.00
First 5,000 kwh .45 Cents per Kwh
Over 5,000 kwh .04 Cents per Kwh
Demand Rate $3.74 per Kwh


Quality of Life in St. James

St. James offers a quality of life that sets this community apart. This small, but vibrant community offers its residents many outstanding features.
Parks and Recreation


St. James owns and maintains a community park and fairground that has a community hall, an exhibit hall, recreational hall, pavilions with picnic tables, livestock shelters and lighted soccer and ball fields.
The James Foundation provides the city with a park containing three swimming pools, a fishing lake, tennis courts, hiking trails, and pavilions available for public use. The 6,500 acre Woods Memorial Conservation Area, located just a few miles from the city provides walk-in hunting, fishing and hiking. Also located nearby is Maramec Spring Park offering a trout hatchery with some of the best trout fishing anywhere. The Park includes museums, camping sites, hiking trails, general store, playgrounds, shelters, tennis courts, and a restaurant.


The community has planned a 9-mile bike trail connecting St. James to Maramec Springs. The first three phases of this trail have been funded and funding for Phase IV pending. The community offers a nine-hole golf course that is open to the public.

Antiques, Wineries and Gift Shops

St. James has a variety of antique and gift shops to browse, offering a wide array of items to shoppers. There are several award winning wineries in the area offering tasting, tours and sales of wines and juices. The wineries host a Spring Fest and Fall Wine Expo which include food, cooking demonstrations, crafts and sampling of the harvests.


St. James offers a good selection of restaurants from sit-down eateries to country cafes. St. James is also home to Ruby’s Ice Cream where all ice creams are homemade.

The James Memorial Library features an extensive selection of reading material. Many historical photo albums provide an excellent resource for history buffs and genealogy research.

Quality Education

St. James takes pride in its quality schools which include the Lucy Wortham James Elementary School, a middle school and the John F. Hodge High School. Enrollment averages 1,800 students. The school was accredited with distinction and the elementary and high school have both been recognized as Gold Star Schools.

Health Services

St. James has two medical clinics that include three doctors and three nurse practitioners. There are three pharmacies in town that are staffed by four full-time pharmacists. The community is served by an ambulance district.

Faith Community

St. James is home to several churches and denominations that provide community members with many choices for worship. These churches have also formed a strong ministerial alliance that offers many special activities to the community.




The vision for the St. James community is as follows:

“In a safe, family-oriented environment, St. James strives to provide a faith-based, education-driven community with a progressive attitude that focuses on building toward the future through its businesses and citizens in order to insure an outstanding quality of life.”