Often I encounter annoying things as I make my way around the city, dismissing many as flukes. I took photos of a gate blocking the public sidewalk on November 28, 2012 and again on March 7, 2014. This is the side gate for 2840 Locust St., owned by Barry Adelstein …
Metro’s #97 MetroBus route is commonly known as the “Delmar”, and it does go down Delmar west of Vandeventer. It also runs on McKnight, Ladue, Maryland, Central, Shaw Park, Meramec, Old Bonhomme, Vandeventer, Enright, Spring, Washington, and 14th. The route doesn’t include Locust St., but utility construction on Washington Ave meant the …
St. Louis is known for the St. Louis stop: an action where you come up to a stop sign look both ways but never actually make a complete stop People complain about them but many also request they be added at their corner. In the poll this week I’d like …
In June 2011 I posted about the Castle Ballroom on Olive in Midtown. I’d hoped to spark the interest of someone to buy and renovate the building. Here’s how the building looked at the time, followed by how it looks now: Here’s the story: In November, severe weather caused one …
Often I encounter annoying things as I make my way around the city, dismissing many as flukes. I took photos of a gate blocking the public sidewalk on November 28, 2012 and again on March 7, 2014.
This is the side gate for 2840 Locust St., owned by Barry Adelstein & Scott Gundolf. Years ago the renter of the property was Michael McMillan, former alderman, license collector, and cureently head of the Urban League of St. Louis. To my knowledge he still lives here. This property is directly north of the neglected Castle Ballroom.
Just what is the relationship between Michael McMillan, Barry Adelstein, and Scott Gundolf? McMillan’s close associate, Marlene Davis, became the 19th ward alderman when he was elected to the office of license collector. Adelstein was a partner with Marlene Davis in a failed midtown bar, Gene Lynn’s, which closed in 2008. Davis was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2010.
Did these associations help get officials to look the other way regarding maintenance of the Castle Ballroom building? And to a lessor degree, feel like it’s ok to block the public sidewalk with a private gate? But wait, there’s more!
The real estate deal in question involves the old Castle Ballroom at 2839 Olive, which Rainford says Reed bought and sold for a large profit, before helping the developer who bought it get a taxbreak. Reed’s campaign says sale was profitable, because it happened during the 2004 market peak; and the tax break was sought by the alderman in that ward, passed unanimously by the board, then signed by Mayor Slay. (KMOX)
A tax break? There’s much more to this, I suspect! Plus I don’t want the gate left open blocking the public sidewalk.
Metro’s #97 MetroBus route is commonly known as the “Delmar”, and it does go down Delmar west of Vandeventer. It also runs on McKnight, Ladue, Maryland, Central, Shaw Park, Meramec, Old Bonhomme, Vandeventer, Enright, Spring, Washington, and 14th. The route doesn’t include Locust St., but utility construction on Washington Ave meant the #94 & #97 buses had to be rerouted. The #94 got pushed a block north to Delmar and the #97 got pushed a block south to Locust.
I took the image above right after I exited my building. I love seeing buses going up and down my street! What I haven’t seen during the last couple of month of the reroute is temporary bus stops. Bus routes have flexility that streetcar routes don’t, but that flexility comes with the responsibility to mark stops. The current alert doesn’t mention stops:
In June 2011 I posted about the Castle Ballroom on Olive in Midtown. I’d hoped to spark the interest of someone to buy and renovate the building. Here’s how the building looked at the time, followed by how it looks now:
Here’s the story:
In November, severe weather caused one of those walls to collapse. Building inspectors have since concluded that the vacant structure at 2839 Olive Street, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and considered one of the city’s last remaining buildings with a deep connection to the black community in Midtown St. Louis, is a public safety hazard and must be demolished. (stltoday)
Another important part of history will soon be gone. The front facade could be stabilized, but I don’t know who’d pay for that. Plus the bricks have been painted so I’m not sure it’s worth saving. If the St. Louis Streetcar moves forward we may see a new building go up on this site. I just hope something like a drive-through restaurant or a one-story retail store like a Dollar General doesn’t get built on this site.
Late last year Chippewa got a road diet using paint, not concrete. Four traffic lanes were reduced to two with a center turn lane, and a bike lane was added in each direction. Under the railroad bridge between Gravois & Meramec was the part that confused me, with a wide lane to the right of the new bike lane. The other day I was finally in a place where I could get some photos.
Because of the railroad tracks pedestrians haven’t been able to walk in an east-west direction along Chippewa. Up top the tracks are a barrier and the underpass was designed decades ago only for vehicles. Online I found Chippewa Bike Lanes: A Review:
The pedestrian lane under the viaduct seems like a creative and appropriate solution to the problem of pedestrian connectivity along aging infrastructure. It is important that the pedestrian lane be separated from automobile traffic, and the traffic cones are obviously a temporary fix. We look forward to seeing the permanent configuration, and will update this post as the project evolves.
Hopefully the traffic cones are just temporary, but replaced with what? The excellent images on the post Chippewa Bike Lanes: A Review show how lanes shift, with the risk of motorists ending up driving in the bike/pedestrian lanes.
Exploring, and photographing, urban decay is a natural attraction to many of us. There’s something fascinating about viewing abandoned buildings as they slowly decay. A new book takes a look at urban decay in European:
Arresting art photography takes the curious into the depths of worlds that normally remain hidden behind gardens overrun with wild vegetation and tall fences blazoned with “Keep Out!” signs. Photographer Martin ten Bouwhuijs’s regular urban exploration missions throughout Western Europe have culminated in this collection of haunting images made in abandoned hospitals, morgues, monasteries, power plants, schools, factories, swimming pools, and castles. Each location is described in a brief history. Capturing the venues in various states of neglect, these photographs reveal remnants of once-habitable spaces: from furniture still in place but covered in thick dust to dramatic vaulted ceilings speckled in mold and water stains to walls that have given way in complete disrepair. More than 150 dramatic images continually heighten anticipation by showing long views down empty corridors and wide views of rooms with doors that lead elsewhere – you never really know what you are going to see around the next corner. (Schiffer Books)
This book is beautifully photographed, with 196 color photos. I’d love to see someone do a St. Louis version.
In the poll last week readers indicated they didn’t want to change the city charter with respect to the office of President of the Board of Aldermen:
Q: Should the President of the Board of Aldermen be selected from within the BoA or continue as a citywide office?
Keep office elected citywide 39 [52%]
St. Louis needs to stop tweaking its 100 year old charter and start fresh 16 [21.33%]
Aldermen should elect presiding officer from within their ranks 14 [18.67%]
Unsure/no opinion 4 [5.33%]
Other: 2 [2.67%]
abolish the position
Term limits are more important.
I hoped a majority would’ve selected the #2 answer, to start over with a new charter. Our charter has been changed many times over the last 100 years. Until 1981, the President of the Board of Aldermen salary wasn’t much more than each of the 28 Aldermen.
Mayor Conway succeeded in getting voters to lift the $25,000 salary limit that had been contained in the city charter. Some saw the salary cap as a hindrance in recruiting and retaining highly qualified civil servants. (Wikipedia)
After the charter was changed to lift the cap, the president’s salary was given a big boost from the roughly 10-12% premium over the alderman’s compensation. Tom Zych was president for two terms (1979-1987), followed by Tom Villa, Francis Slay, Jim Shrewsbury, and now Lewis Reed. Zych’s 2nd term was the first with the higher salary.
I think our structure deserves at least being examined. Perhaps we’ve got the best possible charter, but we won’t know until we compare to alternatives.
Parking is a perceived issue all over the region, even in small towns like Edwardsville IL. The public school district is considering purchasing a historic church, and an adjacent house owned by the church, to create more parking for Columbus elementary school:
The general terms of the proposed sale, which are all subject to approval by both the First Presbyterian Church congregation and the District 7 Board of Education, are that the district will pay First Presbyterian Church $1.3 million from impact fees over a 10-year period. Impact fees are money collected from developers who build homes in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon. The fees can only be used for new construction or the purchase of property.
The other terms of the negotiation are that First Presbyterian Church would have four years to vacate the existing church facility, and the church would be responsible for preparing the ground to leave a clean, level site. (District 7 looks to turn church into parking lot)
The $1.3 million is just for the land, it’ll cost more to actually develop the parking lot.
A friend drove me over to Edwardsville last week so I could check it out in person. What we found is the school has a small parking lot for staff, a large asphalt playground, and has use of a couple of small parking lot owned by the church. No doubt when the church has a weekday event, like a funeral, parking gets tight. Otherwise both appear to have coexisted for decades.
Feb 26: “Anyone know why Columbus needs a $1.3 million parking lot? More than say, teams, all tenth graders on campus, enough honors classes, a daily middle school band/orchestra program?” — LW
“because there is ZERO parking at the school and the church next door was kind enough to let the school “share” their parking lot. The church is moving and the new owners may not be as accommodating!” — LC
“We always parked in that lot…..sad to see the church go…I went to preschool in that church” — JG
“The church isn’t moving unless the building is purchased. We’ve always worked with the district for parking and that’s not a big deal. My ‘big deal’ is a $1.3 million parking lot. I have a 7th grader who can’t have team teaching or have band every day because there’s no money, a junior who spent 40 minute a day last year being transported off campus because there weren’t enough classrooms, and it makes no sense financially. If there’s money to buy property and or build something with, maybe an addition to the high school would be a goal to look toward.” — LW
Feb 26: “Is it true that the Presbyterian Church property was assessed at $750,000? If so, wouldn’t that lend one to believe that the tax payers are indeed paying for demolition?” — TM
It appears the parents in the district are split; some say the parking situation is poor, while others say parking has always been bad but the district has higher priorities. I do know the school & church have managed to share parking in the area for years but it the church is razed much of the parking will sit empty each day.
This is all possible because some members of the dwindling congregation at the First Presbyterian Church of Edwardsville want to build a new church nearly 4 miles away. This isn’t new, they bought 28+ acres of farmland in January 2000, paying $390,000. In November 2006 I posted how they voted to build on the farmland.
Attendance at the church has reportedly dropped in the 7 years since voting to proceed with the plan to build a new church. I can see the church agreeing to sell – but in four years still not having a new building ready. Then what? Also, does the school district not have more pressing building needs?
Last week the Illinois Department of Transportation held open house meetings throughout the state to discuss high-speed rail studies. The morning of the open house in East St. Louis television station KMOV got the story all wrong, but their mistakes will help me explain the reality.
First, what they reported:
Here’s where they failed:
IDOT means 110mph when they talk of “high speed rail”, showing a 200+ mph train is misleading.
IDOT is just starting to study the Granite City to St. Louis section, St. Clair County would like to see a station somewhere along the route — which isn’t even close to the light rail station they identified.
Their angle was to question the spending of half a million in tax dollars, because they’re looking out for us!
Amtrak service crosses the Mississippi River in two places, the MacArthur Bridge (1917) to the south of I-64 or the Merchants Bridge (1889). Both bridges are owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA). The IDOT study will be looking at improving one or both crossings, or building a third, to improve passenger service.The Merchants Bridge crosses over into Illinois in Madison County, not St. Clair County. Madison already has a stop on the line in Alton. The best chance for a new station in St. Clair County is if the MacArthur Bridge remains in use or a new bridge is built nearby.
Any new stop on the MetroLink line would need lots of projected ridership to justify taking the time to stop. Where the TRRA tracks, MetroLink, and Interstate converge is the ideal location. The tracks do run right where the new I-70 approach to the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge passes over Illinois Route 3, another possible location.
The purpose of the open house was to introduce the next phase of studies to improve the Chicago-St. Louis corridor. Over the last 5 years there have been many improvements resulting in less delays. At one point the trains can now reach 110 mph, but it’s a very brief point.
Returning home last month it took over an hour to get from Alton to St. Louis! Our train got stuck behind two different slow-moving freight trains, we were lucky if we averaged 25mph.
Feb. 27, 2014 (St. Louis) – With the transformation of the Riverfront and Gateway Arch grounds underway, the Great Rivers Greenway District is pleased to announce the purchase of a historic property that will provide a safer and more accessible connection between Laclede’s Landing and the revitalized Riverfront.
The lot is situated directly north of the Eads Bridge between First and Second streets on Laclede’s Landing. It is the site of the former Switzer Licorice Building, which was demolished in 2007.
“We are very pleased to have acquired this property,” says Susan Trautman, Executive Director of Great Rivers Greenway District. “Not only will it provide a universally accessible connection to the Arch grounds, it has the potential to create larger connections across the region and spur future development.”
The District aims to transform the property into a park or other compatible development offering food, restrooms, or other services to enhance the visitor experience while providing a seamless transition between the revitalized Gateway Arch grounds and Laclede’s Landing.
“The site offers endless possibilities for connection,” says Trautman. “It is steps away from the Eads Bridge Metrolink station, four blocks south of the North Riverfront Trail, and around the corner from the new trails being built on the Arch Grounds and along the Riverfront. It is fitting that the ‘front door’ of this property is a soaring arch beneath the historic Eads Bridge.”
The District purchased the property from St. John’s Bank for $350,000. The property’s appraised value was $390,000.
Here’s the location:
This purchase has sparked debate. Some argue we have enough park space, especially with the Arch grounds on the other side of the Eads Bridge. Others are fine with the purchase, but they want to see new infill construction. Still others have suggested Laclede’s Landing is dead, so why bother? The poll question is in the right sidebar.
If you enjoy UrbanReviewSTL.com, please consider making a one-time $5 donation or subscribing to help with the costs to maintain the server and security:
Thank you for reading UrbanReviewSTL.com!