Sunday Poll: Millions Being Spent On Arch A Good Investment Or A Waste?

 

 Forty years ago today the iconic St. Louis Arch was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was first nominated in 1966, but this 1976 nomination was approved the following year. Work began on clearing the site back in 1939. Previously I’d thought it was listed in 1987 — …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills 37-41

 

 A new Board Bill was introduced at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting without being on the published agenda. A vote to suspend the rules and introduce another bill was part of the proceeding. This happened at 36 minutes into the meeting (see video). The bill not on the agenda introduced after …

Readers: Gov Greitens Should Veto Minimum Wage Bill

 

 Nearly 85% of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll disagreed with the statement that Gov Greitens should sign the bill that would strip St. Louis of setting its own minimum wow higher than that of the state. More than half picked the “strongly disagree” option. Here’s the …

A Look At The New Kiener Plaza (Photos & Videos)

 

 A week ago I posted many photos of the old Kiener Plaza, see Remembering The Old Kiener Plaza. Today we take a close look at the new Kiener Plaza that opened over the weekend. The first three images were taken the afternoon of May 8, 2017 from the SE corner of …

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Sunday Poll: Millions Being Spent On Arch A Good Investment Or A Waste?

May 28, 2017 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Millions Being Spent On Arch A Good Investment Or A Waste?
 
Please vote below

Forty years ago today the iconic St. Louis Arch was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was first nominated in 1966, but this 1976 nomination was approved the following year. Work began on clearing the site back in 1939. Previously I’d thought it was listed in 1987 — off by a decade.

It’s still popular, with millions visiting each year:

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2 million visitors to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in 2014 spent $173 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 3000 jobs in the local area, and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $270 million. (May 2015 press release)

Currently a lot of money is being spent on changes & improvements:

Construction of the $380 million project is funded in three ways:

$69 million – Public funds from federal, state and local sources such as a USDOT TIGER grant, MoDOT funds, other federal grants and funding from Great Rivers Greenway District
$90 million – Proposition P bond proceeds – On April 2, 2013 voters in St. Louis County and St. Louis City approved Proposition P: The Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks initiative. Great Rivers Greenway is the steward of the taxpayers’ investment in the project.
$221 million –  Private funding from gifts, grants and donations raised by the CityArchRiver Foundation. The Foundation will raise another $29 million to seed an endowment that will help maintain and improve the project area into the future. (CityArchRiver)

Which brings us to today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills 37-41

May 25, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills 37-41
 
St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

A new Board Bill was introduced at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting without being on the published agenda. A vote to suspend the rules and introduce another bill was part of the proceeding. This happened at 36 minutes into the meeting (see video).

The bill not on the agenda introduced after suspending the rules?

BOARD BILL No. 37 INTRODUCED BY ALDERWOMAN SHARON TYUS, ALDERMAN FRANK WILLIAMSON, ALDERMAN JOHN COLLINS MUHAMMAD, ALDERMAN SAMUEL MOORE, ALDERMAN SCOTT OGILVIE, ALDERMAN DAN GUENTHER, ALDERWOMAN MEGAN GREEN An ordinance authorizing and directing the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Director to provide to the Members of the Board of Aldermen within 30 days of this ordinance becoming law, a comprehensive list of all Confederate Statues, Confederate Memorials, Confederate Monuments, and Confederate Flags located in any of the parks owned or operated by the City of St. Louis; requiring the removal of all such Confederate Memorials, Confederate Monuments, and Confederate Flags located in any of the parks owned or operated by the City of St. Louis within 120 days of this ordinance becoming law except if they are located inside a Museum designed for the preservation of History; prohibiting the future installation or placement of Confederate Statues, Confederate Memorials, Confederate Monuments, and Confederate Flags located in any of the parks owned or operated by the City of St. Louis, except if they are located inside a Museum designed for the preservation of History; requiring the renaming of all Streets, Drives or Boulevards in any parks owned or operated by the City of St. Louis with the name of Confederate within 60 days of this ordinance becoming law; and specifically requiring Confederate Drive in Forest Park be renamed SCOTT JOPLIN DRIVE within 60 days of this ordinance becoming law; authorizing a Committee be formed, within 30 days of this ordinance becoming law consisting of the Mayor, Comptroller, President of the Board of Aldermen, Treasurer, & Chair of the Parks Committee, to raise private funds to remove all such Confederate Memorials, Confederate Monuments, and Confederate Flags located in any of the parks owned or operated by the City of S. Louis except if they are located inside a Museum designed for the preservation of History and requiring said private funds be placed in a special City account created to receive and spend the private funds raised to remove said Confederate Memorials, Monuments, and Flags and containing an emergency clause.

I’ll be posting about this bill and the confederate monument in Forest Park on Monday.

They’re meeting today instead of Friday because of Memorial Day Weekend. The following four  board bills are on the agenda for introduction  at today’s meeting of the  St. Louis Board of Aldermen:

  • B.B.#38 – Davis –An ordinance amending Ordinance # 66107 by modifying the terms of the real estate tax abatement in the 1513?23 S. Compton Ave. and 3201 ? 27 St. Vincent Ave. Redevelopment Area authorized by Ordinance # 66107.
  • B.B.#39 – Boyd –An ordinance recommended by the Parking Commission making appropriation for payment of the operating expenses, capital equipment and improvement expenses, including lease purchase agreements involving Parking Division assets, and debt service expenses of the Parking Division of the Treasurer’s Office, Kiel & City Hall Parking Facilities, Information Technologies Office, Argyle Parking Facility, Chouteau Building & Parking Facility, Williams Paper Parking Facility, Central Downtown Parking Facility, Buckingham Parking Facility, Cupples Parking Facility and Justice Parking Facility for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018, amounting in the aggregate to the sum of Fifteen Million, Five Hundred Forty Six Thousand, Three Hundred Twenty Two Dollars ($15,546,322) and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#40 – Vaccaro – An ordinance adding language to the City Code that will prohibit the Parking Violation Bureau from doubling a parking meter and parking violation fine if payment is received within twenty calendar days or less. If an appeal of the fine occurs, either through an administrative or state court, the fine will not double if payment is received within thirty or less calendar days.
  • B.B.#41 – Ingrassia ? An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2607 California.

The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Gov Greitens Should Veto Minimum Wage Bill

May 24, 2017 Economy, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Gov Greitens Should Veto Minimum Wage Bill
 
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

Nearly 85% of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll disagreed with the statement that Gov Greitens should sign the bill that would strip St. Louis of setting its own minimum wow higher than that of the state. More than half picked the “strongly disagree” option.

Here’s the final breakdown:

Q: Agree or disagree: Gov Grietens should sign the bill limiting the minimum wage to the same $7.70/hr statewide.

  • Strongly agree 2 [6.25%]
  • Agree 1 [3.13%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [3.13%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 3 [9.38%]
  • Disagree 7 [21.88%]
  • Strongly disagree 17 [53.13%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [3.13%]

A thriving economy has goods/services being exchanged at good pace. Those with minimum wage jobs spend every dollar they get:

Those in the bottom 30% of the income scale make an average of $14,000 a year, including the value of many government benefits like food stamps or disability payments. But they spend more than $25,000, or 182%, of their annual income mostly on basic needs like housing, food and transportation, according to a CNNMoney analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 

Worth noting is that this group includes senior citizens, who supplement their income from Social Security with savings, and students, who turn to mom and dad for help. Also, research shows that some underestimate how much aid they receive from the government. 

But the data also includes many low-income families and individuals who just don’t make enough to get by. Often, they have to decide what bills to pay or they turn to payday lenders or credit cards. (CNN/Money)

This is 182% of their income, while the rich only spend 61% of their income. For the middle class it’s 89%. If we pay those at the bottom a little more the money will circulate through the economy — not sit in accounts here and abroad. Foe nearly 40 policies of both Republicans & Democrats have eroded the middle class and condemned the poor to a life of struggling to stay afloat.

St. Louis needs an improved economy — paying workers more is the best way to do so. Please contact Gov Greitens immediately and let him know he should veto the minimum wage bill.

— Steve Patterson

A Look At The New Kiener Plaza (Photos & Videos)

May 22, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Parks Comments Off on A Look At The New Kiener Plaza (Photos & Videos)
 

A week ago I posted many photos of the old Kiener Plaza, see Remembering The Old Kiener Plaza. Today we take a close look at the new Kiener Plaza that opened over the weekend.

The first three images were taken the afternoon of May 8, 2017 from the SE corner of the Kiener West parking garage.

The Eastern half
The central portion, occupied by 6th Street until the West block was added in the early 1980s
The Western half

Also taken on the 8th

With the old median removed from Market St, there is now room for back-in diagonal parking. Unlike Citygarden, some parking for us disabled folks was planned from the beginning.

These next images were taken Monday 5/15 during a media preview.

The “hallway” along the South side
Looking South from 6th & Chestnut.
Looking SE from the center
Olympic Runner by William Zorach (1887-1966) was completed in 1965 It was funded by a stipulation in the will of businessmen Henry J. Kiener. Click image for more information
The new fountain basin is smaller than the original 1960s version, LED lighting will be used to change colors of the water — replacing dyes used in the past.
Looking East toward the Old Courthouse and Arch
Looking toward 6th & Chestnut. These parking garages desperately need new facades.
Looking toward the NW corner, Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright bolding is in the background
Looking West
Looking East
Looking East. some of the many movable tables & chairs
A drinking fountain is located near the center. It’s frost free so you have to hols down the button fir a little bit before water will make it above the frost line. Be patient.
There’s also a frost-free bottle filler faucet.
There is lots of seating all over the 2-block park
In the NE corner is a spot for something arriving in a couple of months. Presumably a sculpture…
The East of the playground is for the youngest kids. The bright surface is rubberized for safety.
AS you move West the activities change
This timber jungle gym should be popular
Ans finally a …bungee/swing?

The next group of images were taken before and after the ribbon cutting on Friday May 19, 2017:

On the 15th I asked if the Downtown Trolley stop would return to Broadway @ Market. By opening day it had.
Sadly, St. Louis’ anti-pedestrian habits are on full display at 6th & Chestnut. The pedestrian signal to cross 6th switches tp a countdown and then to a stop based on some traffic engineer’s standard — long before vehicle traffic on EB Chestnut get a yellow/red light. Pedestrian-friemdly cities give the walk signal until it’s time for the vehicle signals to change.
A few spots of bright green illustrate St. Louis’ only protected bike lane. Cyclists get a signal too, so they know to stop when pedestrians have a walk signal yo cross Chestnut. A person leaving TGI Friday’s is supposed to cross 6th on the limited signal, then cross Chestnut, to reach Kiener Plaza — because a direct pedestrian crossing would slow down motorists turning left from 6th into Chestnut — this is how this intersection has been since 6th was closed in the early 80s. Motorists are more important than pedestrians in St. Louis.
Another view, the one crosswalk to cross Chestnut at 6th in the background.
Like Citygarden, a 20-block long “hallway” runs parallel to Market. Also like Citygarden, there is no public restroom.
In another similarity to Citygarden, if the food truck window lines up correctly then access isn’t too bad — but when not lined up those of using mobility devices can forget about access.
Ons of my favorite areas is paved in crushed granite, allowing storm water to be absorbed. There are also moveable tables & chairs in this area and “festival lighting” at night — evening photo below.
As before, the money shot is the runner statue with Old Courthouse and Arch in the background. A very popular spot on the first day.
Slowly the crowd for the ribbon cutting began to thin out.
The new fountain was turned on just as the ribbon was cut. LED lights under the water can change color so dye won’t be used in the future. to color the water.
The planting areas all act to collect water from the impervious patterned paving. Here another stye of bench is provided.
Kids enjoying the nee splash fountain that encloses four squares. Night photo later.
East end with people.While on the ground I got one of the free frisbees being handed out, stood from my chair, and tossed it onto the expansive lawn. Loved it.
The center not long after the ribbon was cut. Compared to the old Kiener Plaza, the space is much better suited to large crowds & festivals.
The West end.

This next batch of images were taken the evening of opening day, May 18th.

When I arrived just before 8pm this was the only artificial lighting that was on. I felt a few sprinkles so I quickly snapped this shot in case it began raining harder.
Later I got closet and focused on the water.
The “festival lights” over the crushed granite area is nice. Unfortunately the cafe tables & chairs were folded up — not inviting. I didn’t check to see if they were locked to the polls — hopefully not.
When I first heard there would be a splash fountain I thought we already have one just two blocks West in Citygarden. More compact, this one is very different. They’re complimentary.
Besides the fountain lighting, I also like the tree lighting and the fixtures in the center. Very nice glow without any glare. The taller spots, seem in the upper right, are obnoxious, however.
A couple strolls through Kiener Plaza
A woman was photographing her dogs all over the park while I was there.
One thing often mentioned by City-ArchRiver folks is the “moonlighting” of the lawn and East end. I had early cataracts so I get annoying glare from most lighting. Still. I liked this area better when the lighting was off. I could see just fine because of so much other artificial lighting downtown.
The moonlighting is located way on top of the Met Square building.
Unlike the actual moon, this produces lots pf glare and consumes enormous amounts of electricity. I save lean pff the spots and moonlighting — save those for use during special evening events only. If ever.

Yesterday my husband and I had a picnic at Kiener Plaza — I moved the table and chairs several times to stay in the shade.

Having a table to use made this possible, much harder on a bench

Here’s a great time-lapse video included on the media’s thumb drive. I uploaded it to my channel because it wasn’t on CityArchRiver’s.

And a video I made from clips from opening day.

 

Overall I think they’ve done an outstanding job, but the previous space was so awful it was hard to not do better. Accessibly is excellent, as is the amount of seating. The trees are a good size and will provide good shade within just a few years. Very glad to have the Olympic Runner statue back –the original plan for the new Kiener Plaza didn’t include it.

The misses are few:

  • No good place for accessible food truck lines
  • No power supply for food trucks, so each must run noisy & polluting generators.
  • No public restrooms.
  • Excessive artificial lighting.
  • Same mistake as Citygarden — no plan to extend “hallway” East & West of borders. Shortsighted.
  • City’s auto-centric pedestrian crossing time limit regardless of time vehicle signal is green.

 

Sunday Poll: Should Gov Grietens Sign The Minimum Wage Bill?

May 21, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Gov Grietens Sign The Minimum Wage Bill?
 
Please vote below

On Friday May 12th, in the final minutes of the session, the Missouri legislature sent a bill to Governor Greitens that would nullify St. Louis’ recent increase in the minimum wage. 

The House failed to adopt an emergency clause on the bill, meaning it won’t immediately take effect should Gov. Eric Greitens sign it, which sponsoring House Rep. Jason Chipman said he had promised to do. The new minimum wage in St. Louis would instead be nullified in August if the measure becomes law. 

Speaking to reporters after session’s end, Greitens said he’d have to take a close look at the bill before making a final decision. (Post-Dispatch)

Missouri’s minimum wage is $7,70/hr while St. Louis’ new minimum wage is $10/hr.

Which brings us to today’s poll:

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

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