Returned To The City: Mercedes-Benz Dealership

After nearly a two decade absence (see Last Downtown St. Louis Auto Dealership Closed in 1995), a Mercedes-Benz dealership is once again located within the City of St. Louis.  Two more exist in the region, one in St. Louis County and one in St. Charles County. None in the Metro East. Mercedes-Benz of …

One Year Until 50th Anniversary of Last Piece of Arch

The big 50th anniversary of the day the final piece of the Arch was lowered into place is one year from today. CityArchRiver 2015 has been working for a few years now to complete a big update to the Arch grounds for a huge celebration, but don’t expect to see …

Town & Country Crossing: Getting To/From On Public Transit; The Shopping Center Itself

My last visit to Town & Country Crossing shopping center was in July 2008, the Whole Foods* had just opened, the Target wasn’t quite open yet (current aerial via Google Maps). This was just over a month after coming home from my stroke, I drove there because I wasn’t familiar with …

Poll: Rate Prosecutor McCulloch’s Handling of the Case of Darren Wilson Killing Michael Brown

It has been nearly three months since Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown. Despite community calls for a special prosecutor, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch has handled the case. It’s important to understand how the law works: How Does a Grand Jury Differ from a Preliminary …

Recent Articles:

Returned To The City: Mercedes-Benz Dealership

October 30, 2014 Featured, Retail, STL Region 9 Comments

After nearly a two decade absence (see Last Downtown St. Louis Auto Dealership Closed in 1995), a Mercedes-Benz dealership is once again located within the City of St. Louis.  Two more exist in the region, one in St. Louis County and one in St. Charles County. None in the Metro East.

Mercedes-Benz of St. Louis opened recently at Hampton Ave. & Clayton Ave., I stopped by for a visit earlier this month.

The new Mercedes-Benz of St. Louis at Hampton & Clayton
The new Mercedes-Benz of St. Louis at Hampton & Clayton

Before we take a closer look at the finished dealership, we need to revisit the before and during.

KTVI's studios previously occupied the site. October 2012
KTVI’s studios previously occupied the site, not remotely urban. October 2012 photo
By July 2013 the old KTVI building had been razed, the site fenced. August 2013 photo
By July 2013 the old KTVI building had been razed, the site fenced. August 2013 photo
The steel structure for the main showroom going up in February 2014
The steel structure for the main showroom going up in February 2014
View from Hampton
View looking north along Hampton
View looking east along Clayton
View looking east along Clayton
View from near the east-facing showroom entrance, looking down the accessible route to the Clayton Ave public sidewalk
View from near the east-facing showroom entrance, looking down the accessible route to the Clayton Ave public sidewalk. See Mini of St. Louis, it is possible to comply in a graceful way!
Inside the showroom
Inside the showroom
Southern view of dealership. Service work is done in the level below the showroom. Customers drop off their cars on the main level though...
Southern view of dealership along Berthold Ave. Service work is done in the level below the showroom. Customers drop off their cars on the main level though.
Customers dropping off or picking up their Mercedes-Benz do so up on the main level, but visiting the parts department requires a short flight of stairs that lack handrails. The grade change on Berthed Ave would've permitted an accessible entry.
Customers dropping off or picking up their Mercedes-Benz do so up on the main level, but visiting the parts department requires a short flight of stairs that lack handrails. The grade change on Berthed Ave would’ve permitted an accessible entry.

For nearly 20 years this dealership, then called TriStar Imports, was located in suburban Ellisville at 16360 Truman Rd Ellisville, Missouri 63011.  Their old location is listed for $4.5 million. The far west county demographics just weren’t what they hoped they’d be.

Welcome back!

— Steve Patterson

Readers: St. Louis Rams Will Opt Out Of Dome Lease

ABOVE: Edward Jones Dome as seen from The Laurel Apartments
Edward Jones Dome as seen from The Laurel Apartments

A huge majority of readers who voted in the poll last week came to the correct conclusion: the Rams will exit the 30 year lease after just 20 years. Similar to when an apartment lease expires, the Rams will become year to year tenants of the Edward Jones Dome.

Q: At the end of the current NFL season the St. Louis Rams have the right to opt out of the last 10 years of their lease at the Edward Jones Dome. What’ll they do?

  1. Opt out, switching to a year to year lease 78 [83.87%]
  2. Opt in, committing to the last 10 years of the original lease 7 [7.53%]
  3. Unsure/no opinion 6 [6.45%]
  4. Other: 2 [2.15%]
    1. move
    2. new open-air stadium.

This doesn’t mean they’ll move, just that they’ll need to figure out a new facility. In the meantime, they’ll continue playing here.  Once they formally opt out they’ll probably be quiet for a while, building support among state & local politicians while also talking with groups in other cities seeking a team. The Raiders are doing the same:

The Raiders and Rams would both be formalizing plans to move to Los Angeles in 2015 if not for NFL intervention and the league’s overriding control of the process, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation.

Both franchises continue to devote considerable time, energy and resources toward securing an eventual move. There is no lack of desire or intent by either club, sources said, however there is a fear of running afoul of the league office, which has made it explicitly clear to those clubs that no franchise will secure the 24 necessary votes to facilitate a relocation to LA without its stadium, property and development deals being approved by the NFL.

Both teams, whose current leases expire after the season, continue to actively seek solutions to their hurdles currently preventing them from moving to Southern California, sources said. “There are live discussions involving two clubs potentially relocating there,” as one source put it. (CBS Sports)

In January the LA Times reported Rams owner Stan Kronke bought a stadium-sized parcel of land in the Los Angeles area.

My feeling is if they want a new stadium here let them pay for it, I can think of many more projects to invest tax dollars. I do hope it takes them a while to move, that’ll help reduce the remaining debt on the dome.

— Steve Patterson

One Year Until 50th Anniversary of Last Piece of Arch

October 28, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Parks 2 Comments

The big 50th anniversary of the day the final piece of the Arch was lowered into place is one year from today. CityArchRiver 2015 has been working for a few years now to complete a big update to the Arch grounds for a huge celebration, but don’t expect to see everything you remember from the winning design completed in the next year. The balance of the work will be finished after this anniversary, well after in some cases (cough: gondola).

Here are some future anniversaries, opportunities to celebrate:

  • June 10, 2017: 50th anniversary of the Arch opening to the public
  • May 25, 2018: 50th anniversary of the inauguration by VP Humphrey
  • May 30, 2022: 75th anniversary of the opening of the design competition
  • February 18, 2023: 75th anniversary of the jury selecting Saarinen’s design the winner
  • December 15, 2033: 100th anniversary of the idea for a riverfront memorial
  • May 28, 2037: 50th anniversary of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • February 12, 2038: 75th anniversary of the start of construction
  • October 10, 2039: 100th anniversary of the start of demolition to clear the historic riverfront
Luther Ely Square will be extended over the highway, but the new museum entrance won't be open
Luther Ely Square will be extended over the highway, but the expanded museum won’t be open until Spring 2017
Work on the highway lid has moved quickly, though it remains a mess currently.
Work on the highway lid has moved quickly, though it remains a mess currently.
View of the south side of the lid
View of the south side of the lid
Lid view from the Arch side
Lid view from the Arch side
What we've known as the entry/exit areas will become exit-only once the new museum opens
What we’ve known as the entry/exit areas will become exit-only once the new museum opens
The ash trees will be cut down to be replaced, the grounds are expected to be complete by May 2016
The ash trees will be cut down to be replaced, the grounds are expected to be complete by May 2016
View looking north from south of the Arch
View looking north from south of the Arch
Trees to the south have already been tagged for removal.
Trees to the south have already been tagged for removal. Click image to see video from May 1982 when these trees were young
Works is progressing on the riverfront, this should be complete by a year from now.
Works is progressing on the riverfront, this should be complete by a year from now.

I suspect a year from today I’ll be both impressed and disappointed by what is finished.

— Steve Patterson

Town & Country Crossing: Getting To/From On Public Transit; The Shopping Center Itself

My last visit to Town & Country Crossing shopping center was in July 2008, the Whole Foods* had just opened, the Target wasn’t quite open yet (current aerial via Google Maps). This was just over a month after coming home from my stroke, I drove there because I wasn’t familiar with our transit system. see: Town & Country Crossing A Marked Improvement Over The Typical Strip Center in Our Region. * Full disclosure: we currently have Whole Foods shares in our portfolio.

Now I’m very familiar with our public transit system and my husband uses our shared car to get to work. So I took public transit from downtown way out to Town & Country to see the shopping center 6+ years later.

Public Transit:

From our loft Google Maps says the drive  to Town & Country Crossing, located at Clayton Rd & Woods Mill Rd., is just over 19 miles, taking 23 minutes via I-64 or 56 minutes if you avoid highways. The 57x is the MetroBus route that runs along Clayton Rd in far west county. How long does it take? From my loft it takes 68- 87 minutes, depending upon departure time and route. The 57x usually heads west from the Brentwood MetroLink station, but a few trips per day leave from the Central West End MetroBus center adjacent to the CWE MetroLink. Interestingly, catching the #10 MetroBus a block from our loft can get me to Town & Country Crossing in 77 minutes, less than some combinations involving MetroLink light rail!

The latest morning arrival weekdays is 7:34am. The next arrival? Not until 2:32pm. Clearly Metro wisely caters to worker’s schedules rather than run buses throughout the day. The 57x also serves Chesterfield.

I went out three weeks ago, Monday October 6th. I took MetroLink to the Brentwood station to catch the first afternoon trip 57x westbound.

"Connecting Missouri MetroBus routes at Brentwood-I 64 Station include: #02 Red Line, #59 Dogtown, #158 Ballas-West County, and #57X Clayton Rd Express." Click image to view station page
“Connecting Missouri MetroBus routes at Brentwood-I 64 Station include: #02 Red Line, #59 Dogtown, #158 Ballas-West County, and #57X Clayton Rd Express.” Click image to view station page
The 57x I took to Town & Country stopping on Clayton Rd. between Woods Mill & Hwy 141
The 57x I took to Town & Country stopping on Clayton Rd. between Woods Mill & Hwy 141. The concrete pad is fairly new, Metro has been working to improve accessibility of bus stops throughout the region
The next WB MetroBus stop isn't good for many people
However, the next WB MetroBus stop isn’t good for many people. Town & Country Crossing is visible in the background

For the return trip I had three choices; one across Clayton Rd from where I got off the 57x, and two along the north edge of Town & Country Crossing. Here are the two next to my destination.

For the eastbound 57x the eastern most stop is at a point where the sidewalk is far away from the curb
For the eastbound 57x the eastern most stop is at a point where the sidewalk is far away from the curb, the sign can be seen next to the red & white taxi
The stop I used was tossed the west end of the shopping center, no psd to reach the bus but closer than the other option.
The stop I used was toward the west end of the shopping center, no pad to reach the bus but considerably closer than the other stop.

The 57x I took back to the east stopped at Brentwood MetroLink then continued east to the Central West End MetroBus Center, where I caught the #10 that dropped me off at 16th & Olive, a block from my loft. Because the #57 uses I-64 from Brentwood to Mason Rd the trip is relatively quick.

Woods Mill Plaza:

I’d never been to Woods Mill Plaza, located just east of Town & Country Crossing, so I thought I’d take a look while I was in the area. The main anchor is a Schnucks.

Approaching from the traffic island after crossing Clayton Rd
Approaching from the traffic island after crossing Clayton Rd
A decent sidewalk runs along Clayton Rd and includes one bus stop I previously mentioned, but no accessible route into the site
A decent sidewalk runs along Clayton Rd and includes one bus stop I previously mentioned, but no accessible route into the site
View of the various buildings from the public sidewalk. Maybe access is off of Woods Miill?
View of the various buildings from the public sidewalk. Maybe access is off of Woods Miill?
The first auto in/out on Woods Mill not only lacks a pedestrian entry but blocks a straight path. I got the contract info for a Town & Country employee who said Woods Mill Plaza is responsible, he'd contact them about this.
The first auto in/out on Woods Mill not only lacks a pedestrian entry but blocks a straight path. I got the contract info for a Town & Country employee who said Woods Mill Plaza is responsible, he’d contact them about this.
The next entry also lacked a pedestrian route. No other pedestrian route into Woods Mill Plaza was found despite the presence of sidewalks & bus stops.
The next entry also lacked a pedestrian route. No other pedestrian route into Woods Mill Plaza was found despite the presence of sidewalks & bus stops.

From property records I learned Woods Mill Plaza was built in 1986, the 2-story office building on the site was built in 1991.  If you think this site is somehow “grandfathered” you’d be very wrong:

Because barrier removal under the ADA is a continuing obligation, an accessible route may need to be provided at a later date, if a route for the general public develops or is created, and the provision of an accessible route is readily achievable. For instance, if a new bus stop is established near a site, an accessible route may have to be provided if pedestrians commonly walk between the new bus stop and the entrance to the facility. Similarly, if a sidewalk or walkway is provided between the facility and the new bus stop, an accessible route may be required. (Dept of Justice)

Moving on…

 Town & Country Crossing:

As I said at the opening, my only other visit was in July 2008. I’d been impressed with what I saw then but I wanted to return in my wheelchair to see the completed shopping center. I remain impressed but did note some problems in maintenance and design.

Immediately upon crossing Woods Mill I encountered a situation with a vertical height higher than allowed. This was the only problem like this I encountered in the site.
Immediately upon crossing Woods Mill I encountered a situation with a vertical height higher than allowed. This was the only problem like this I encountered in the site.
View toward Woods Mill
Moving into the site this was the view toward Woods Mill
And the view toward Clayton Rd.I decided to follow this cute to enter the site.
And the view toward Clayton Rd.I decided to follow this cute to enter the site.
To the immediate west of the Clayton Rd entrance is a new home development.
To the immediate west of the Clayton Rd entrance is a new home development. This land was part of the previous AT&T center where Town & Country Crossing is located now. These homes are marketed as being adjacent to the shopping center, especially the Whole Foods.
However, the intended connection between the two isn't accessible.
However, the intended connection between the two isn’t accessible.
The Clayton Rd entrance
The Clayton Rd entrance, Town & Country apparently doesn’t allow tall backlit retail signs or the developer realized a more tasteful approach is more visually appealing.
The architects/engineers that originally laid our=t Town & Country Crossing gave a lot of thought to pedestrian accessibility, this is to a small out building on the west edge
The architects/engineers that originally laid our=t Town & Country Crossing gave a lot of thought to pedestrian accessibility, this is to a small out building on the west edge
View looking east along the main east-west pedestrian route, which is parallel to the main east-west auto route, the building on the left contains several storefronts and a bank is just beyond that.
View looking east along the main east-west pedestrian route, which is parallel to the main east-west auto route, the building on the left contains several storefronts and a bank is just beyond that.
Unfortunately something went wrong here, despite the efforts to make this shopping center fully accessible.
Unfortunately something went wrong here, despite the efforts to make this shopping center fully accessible. This is easily corrected, not sure about to the bank beyond.
Looking back west you can see someone forgot to consider making sure wheelchairs/strollers could cross the driveway leading to dumpsters. Easy mistake  , easy fix.
Looking back west you can see someone forgot to consider making sure wheelchairs/strollers could cross the driveway leading to dumpsters. Easy mistake , easy fix.
Some buildings facing north toward Clayton Rd look out onto this pond.
Some buildings facing north toward Clayton Rd look out onto this pond.
South of the Whole Foods the internal sidewalk network heads east toward Woods Mill Rd.
South of the Whole Foods the internal sidewalk network heads east toward Woods Mill Rd. (left) or Target (right)
Looking east toward Woods Mill, the Whole Foods ids to the left, Target is behind.
Looking east toward Woods Mill, the Whole Foods ids to the left, Target is behind.
Ahead is Woods Mill Rd
Ahead is Woods Mill Rd. But let’s go back west to the Target
In front of the Target looking north, we can see a path leading out into the parking lot.
In front of the Target looking north, we can see a path leading out into the parking lot with disabled spots on each side, a common Target feature. .
When we get further out we see it has changed to a sidewalk with regular parking spots on each side
When we get further out we see it has changed to a sidewalk with regular parking spots on each side
Turning around we see the Target. So how far does this go? It connects with the original east-west sidewalk we used.
Turning around we see the Target. So how far does this go? It connects with the original east-west sidewalk we used.
The white car id headed west on the main east-west drive, the east-west sidewalk is on the other side of it.
The white car id headed west on the main east-west drive, the east-west sidewalk is on the other side of it.

Closing Thoughts:

Town & Country Crossing isn’t perfect, someone dropped the ball when the storefront building & bank was built in the northwest corner. Still, this remains the best example in the St. Louis region of a well connected shopping center. It still largely caters to motorists while being mostly ADA-compliant. They’re not mutually exclusive.

— Steve Patterson

Poll: Rate Prosecutor McCulloch’s Handling of the Case of Darren Wilson Killing Michael Brown

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

It has been nearly three months since Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown. Despite community calls for a special prosecutor, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch has handled the case. It’s important to understand how the law works:

How Does a Grand Jury Differ from a Preliminary Hearing?

While all states have provisions in their laws that allow for grand juries, roughly half of the states don’t use them. Courts often use preliminary hearings prior to criminal trials, instead of grand juries, which are adversarial in nature. As with grand juries, preliminary hearings are meant to determine whether there is enough evidence, or probable cause, to indict a criminal suspect.

Unlike a grand jury, a preliminary hearing is usually open to the public and involves lawyers and a judge (not so with grand juries, other than the prosecutor). Sometimes, a preliminary hearing proceeds a grand jury. One of the biggest differences between the two is the requirement that a defendant request a preliminary hearing, although the court may decline a request.
Grand Jury Proceedings

Grand jury proceedings are much more relaxed than normal court room proceedings. There is no judge present and frequently there are no lawyers except for the prosecutor. The prosecutor will explain the law to the jury and work with them to gather evidence and hear testimony. Under normal courtroom rules of evidence, exhibits and other testimony must adhere to strict rules before admission. However, a grand jury has broad power to see and hear almost anything they would like.

However, unlike the vast majority of trials, grand jury proceedings are kept in strict confidence. This serves two purposes:

It encourages witnesses to speak freely and without fear of retaliation.
It protects the potential defendant’s reputation in case the jury does not decide to indict. (FindLaw)

And “probable cause”?

Probable cause refers to the amount and quality of information required to arrest someone, to search or seize private property in many cases, or to charge someone with a crime. (FindLaw)

From last month:

The prosecutor’s office is also presenting evidence to the grand jury as soon as it receives it, rather than waiting until the St. Louis County Police Department and the FBI have completed their investigations. Police probes are typically completed before a case is presented to a grand jury, county officials said.

As a result, jurors in the Wilson case are hearing from every eyewitness, seeing every telling photo, viewing every relevant video, and reviewing all DNA, ballistics and other test results from county and FBI labs, said Ed Magee, a spokesman for county prosecutor Robert McCulloch. They will hear testimony from Dorian Johnson, the friend who was with Brown when he died, but it is unclear yet whether they will hear testimony from Wilson.

“Normally they hear from a detective or a main witness or two. That’s it,” Magee said. “This gives us an opportunity to present all of the evidence to jurors who represent St. Louis County. They will make the decision.” (In atypical approach, grand jury in Ferguson shooting receives full measure of case)

I don’t want to sway readers one way or another before they get a chance to take the poll this week. rating McCulloch’s handling of the case. The poll is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson

Blank Renard Paper Warehouse Now Less-Blank Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

Renard Paper was building their massive blank walled warehouse on Manchester Ave in 1990, right when I moved to St. Louis. It was awful, but many saw it as progress. It was an investment, they weren’t leaving the city.

Fast forward to May 2011, the ribbon cutting for the new Manchester Ave streetscape in the section known as The Grove. Renaud Paper’s boss, Dave Renard was among the speakers talking about the vibrant area even though his own warehouse, built 21 years earlier, was a huge drag on the vibrancy at the west end of The Grove.

Mayor Slay cut the ribbon on May 19, 2011. Grove Community Improvement District board member, Dave Renard, is on the right
Mayor Slay cut the ribbon on May 19, 2011. Grove Community Improvement District board member, Dave Renard, is on the right
As a long time business owner, Dave Renard was one of the speakers. The ribbon cutting couldn't be held next to his business because the long blank wall wasn't the vibrant message being portrayed this day.
As a long time business owner, Dave Renard was one of the speakers. The ribbon cutting couldn’t be held next to his business because the long blank wall wasn’t the vibrant message being portrayed this day.
Mayor Slay & Dave Renard before the speeches & ribbon cutting
Mayor Slay & Dave Renard before the speeches & ribbon cutting

That was May 19th, less than four months later came this news:

HP Products Corporation of Indianapolis, IN has announced that they have completed the acquisition of Renard Paper Company of St. Louis, Missouri.

A done deal not even four months after talking about the future…

It wasn’t long before Renard Paper, now a division of HP Products, was located out in Earth City. Their large building with a long blank wall fronting Manchester Ave was now for sale. One argument is they were in the city paying earnings taxes for 21+ years longer than had they sold out in 1990. True enough. What we can’t possibly know is where would that end of The Grove be had Renard Paper not razed buildings to build their warehouse? Who knows, that section might be the most vibrant part. The street might have come back to life years, decades, earlier? Or the area might’ve declined further and be worse than ever to this day?

Again, it’s impossible to know.

After sitting vacant for nearly two years a new buyer was found that could use the warehouse space, but they also wanted to correct the main design problem: the long blank wall.

 Urban Chestnut’s renovation of the Renard Paper warehouse will include a bottling line, staff offices, retail space, a kitchen and bar area, and seating for about 150 people. Windows will look out on to Manchester Avenue, and the bar will face the brewhouse. (Post-Dispatch)

The silver lining is by leaving such a warehouse Urban Chestnut was able to greatly expand their capacity. They also knew design facing Manchester Ave was important, the building’s exterior had to be altered. I couldn’t find my before pictures but you can see some Google Streetview screen captures here.  I suppose Urban Chestnut did the best they could.

The east end, near Newstead, remains original and life sucking
The east end, near Newstead, remains original and life sucking
The street facade on the east end of the 1990 warehouse was opened up
The street facade on the east end of the 1990 warehouse was opened up
Outdoor space where the blank wall was opened up to the street/sidewalk below
Outdoor space where the blank wall was opened up to the street/sidewalk below
The industrial aesthetic of the interior is well done.
The industrial aesthetic of the interior is well done. I visited around 2pm on Wednesday October 8th, I want to return with my husband when the place is busier

The lesson here is most newer buildings cost so much to construct the reality is it’s unlikely they’ll be razed to may way for something better in 20 years, so if you get it wrong now you’re mostly stuck with it long after the company sells out and leaves town. Short-term gain can be a long-term net negative. Urban Chestnut has basically neutralized this 1990 warehouse.

Every new building must be designed with enough long-term vision to think beyond 20 years, when the owners retire and cash out.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Not Keen On Aventura Apartments

Overall readers in the poll last week indicated are general disliking of the new Aventura Apartments in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, just south of I-64.

Here are the results:

Q: The Aventura apartments south of BJC/Cortex are… (pick up to two answers)

  1. architecturally out of place 63 [36.84%]
  2. not ideal, but could’ve been worse 27 [15.79%]
  3. better than the old gasometer 20 [11.7%]
  4. not my taste, but right for others 19 [11.11%]
  5. attractive to their target audience 17 [9.94%]
  6. TIE
    1. quality housing with needed density 11 [6.43%]
    2. Other: 11 [6.43%]
      1. yuk! total let down in otherwise awesome neighborhood
      2. ugly suburban crap. will be trashed in
      3. doesn’t interact with the street
      4. Cheap and suburban. Horrible design and little effort from the developers.
      5. Could not have been much worse
      6. good density, poor quality. what will they look like in 30 years?
      7. Crappy Suburan type desig
      8. Predictable design, but it works OK.
      9. Sad ongoing trend of what our beautiful city is morphing into
      10. The density is appropriate, the design is not
      11. whatever
  7. unsure/no opinion 3 [1.75%]

All 11 of the other comments are correct! My main issue isn’t so much the aesthetics, but the building’s lack of relationship to the public sidewalks and each other. It’s isolationist, a gated enclave.

This is the photo of the Aventura apartments used on the poll post
This is the photo of the Aventura apartments used on the poll post was the most positive image possible from the public sidewalk
The east side faces Chouteau Park (right) but isn't oriented to it
The east side faces Chouteau Park (right), but isn’t oriented to it

This project won’t age well, the plastic shutters that can’t cover the windows will fall off, the surrounding sidewalks will remain lifeless and therefore unsafe. This project sucks the life out of the area. Hopefully I’ll live long enough to see it razed and replaced with an appropriate development(s).

— Steve Patterson

November 4th 2014 Ballot

October 21, 2014 Featured, Politics/Policy 4 Comments
Former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners
Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners

The 2014 midterm election is just two weeks away. Depending upon where you live, the ballot varies. Everyone has US Representatives and State Representatives. Missouri voters, of course, have constitutional amendments. Most have the retention of judges.

For this post I looked at the sample ballot for all raves in St. Louis:

  • State Auditor — three candidates, the incumbent will likely win.
  • U.S. District Rep 1 —  three candidates. I like that the Republican challenger to Lacy Clay supports ending the War on Drugs and favors marriage equality, he also advocates eliminating the federal income tax, replacing it with a national sales tax — reason enough to not support his candidacy.
  • State Senate Dist 4 — two candidates, the incumbent will likely win.
  • State Rep, twelve districts: 66, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 91, 93
    • Three are uncontested: 76, 77, 84
    • No way would I vote to add to the Republican majority in Jefferson City!
  • St. Louis Collector of Revenue — one candidate
  • St. Louis License Collector — two candidates
  • St. Louis Recorder of Deeds  — three candidates
    • The most interesting local race!
    • The Democrat, Sharon Quigley Carpenter,  resigned amid nepotism charges in July, but won the Democratic primary in August
    • Young Republican Erik Shelquist is seeking to become the first Republican elected to citywide office in decades.
    • And Independent Jennifer Florida, the former 15th ward Alderman, appointed when Carpenter resigned.
    • The real race is between Carpenter & Florida. Will voters go with the Democratic nominee even though she’d been in office for decades and  resigned in disgrace?
  • Retain two Missouri Supreme Court judges
  • Retain two Missouri Court of Appeals judges (Eastern District)
  • Retain seven Circuit Court judges (22nd)
  • Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3 — teacher evaluation
    • From the ballot language “Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.”
    • This isn’t about improving the quality of education, it’s a union busting measure. The Kirkwood School Board voted to oppose this amendment, please vote no.
  • Missouri Constitutional Amendment 6 — early voting… sorta
  • Missouri Constitutional Amendment 10 — budget power
    • The GOP Missouri Legislature doesn’t like the checks & balances from the Governor’s office, when it’s a Democrat in office.
    • “We believe this amendment could reduce the flexibility to make changes to balance the budget and make the process more difficult. We believe this amendment could potentially weaken the state’s strong governmental framework to make midyear budget adjustments, which in our view, could potentially lower the rating to a level in line with our indicative rating under our state scoring methodology.” — Standard & Poor’s
    • “Vote no on Amendment 10. It’s not conservative. It is short-sighted. It’s bad for business. It’s bad for Missouri.”Post-Dispatch editorial
  • St. Louis Charter Amendment — Veterans’ Preference, would give honorable discharged veterans hiring preference for civil service jobs

See the Post-Dispatch Voter’s Guide for races where you live.

— Steve Patterson

 

Chouteau Park Just Getting Started

October 20, 2014 Environment, Featured, Parks 3 Comments

Chouteau Park is the newest city park, created by ordinance in 2008, as compensation for the future loss of Hudlin Park to BJC. The fate of Hudlin Park was a hot issue in the Spring of 2006. This new 2.8 acre park is intended to replace the 12 acre Hudlin Park.

Chouteau Park is just largely a graded empty lot right now, awaiting funds to become a fully realized park space. The design was done by H3 studios in 2009.

Revised renderings from the H3 2009 design include a shaded promenade, adventure playground, spray fountain and park cafe.

Update January 1, 2014: the classic St. Louis park sign has been added and trees are being planted. (St. Louis w/design & revised design)

As you might expect, parks don’t happen overnight. Every park in the city was once newly created and not looking like much. Citygarden, opened in 2009, is a rare exception because it was privately funded. Construction on Chouteau Park began in the fall of 2011.

Corner of Chouteau & Newstead Avenues
Corner of Chouteau & Newstead Avenues
Gap in the sidewalk along Newstead & Chouteau may be because of the future park cafe on the corner.
Gap in the sidewalk along Newstead & Chouteau may be because of the future park cafe on the corner.
The colorful mounds will be great for kids once not surrounded by standing water & mud
The colorful mounds will be great for kids once not surrounded by standing water & mud. No telling what will end up inside he orange one
The largest encourages climbing
The largest encourages climbing
View from the top of the hill at the east end
View from the top of the hill at the east end

One sidewalk going up the hill just ended, I’m not sure of the future intent. A number of sewer inlets handle water runoff, hopefully in the future this water can be captured and refined onsite.

It’ll be fun to see this new park develop and mature over the years.

— Steve Patterson

 

10th ANNIVERSARY MONTH! OCT 31, 2004 — OCT 31, 2014

The end of October 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com -- same ownership, same URL!

If you've enjoyed UrbanReviewSTL.com over the last decade please consider making a one-time $10 donation.





Thank you!

Advertisement


FACEBOOK POSTS

Urban Review STL updated their cover photo. ... See MoreSee Less

15 hours ago  ·  

View on Facebook

If you've seen the Humans of New York page you'll be happy to know someone is doing the same for St. Louis. Enjoy! ... See MoreSee Less

“The doctor told my husband, ‘We’re going to put you on a ventilator and let your lungs rest so your body can heal. And as soon as you’re breathing on your own we’re going to take you off of it. But I need your permission.’ My husband was sweating and breathing almost 50-60 times a minute and he pointed to me. The doctor said, ‘You mean you want your wife to make the decision?’ And that’s when I realized what till death do us part really meant. If I had known when I married him that I was going to have to decide when his last living speaking moment would be, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to get married. I looked at my husband and said, ‘You’ve got to go on the ventilator.’ He bowed his head because he couldn’t speak. I said, ‘I love you. I’ll see you when you get off of it.’ And he never got off. That was it. That was the last heartbeat between us.”

15 hours ago  ·  

View on Facebook

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Advertisements







National Partner


theAtlanticCitieslogo1

Archives