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Forest Park SE Dev. Corp. To Hold Meeting on Forest Park Land Run

Not surprising, an organization that relies on both the area Alderman and BJC has backed the plan to let BJC build on part of Forest Park. Now they are holding a public meeting to give the appearance of seeking public input:

On Thursday, April 13th at 6:00 pm at Adams Park Community Center, 4317 Vista, residents/concerned citizens will have an opportunity to hear and discuss the proposed relocation of the Hudlin Park, portion of Forest Park, east of Kingshighway. The park is located at Clayton Road and Euclid Avenue. The proposed reuse involves expansion of the BJC/Barnes-Jewish Hospital to this site. In turn, Forest Park will receive an annual gift from BJC/Barnes- Jewish Hospital.

Forest Park Southeast Development Corporation submitted a support letter for this proposal – acknowledging that the proposed development would in turn be good for Forest Park, the City of St. Louis, and BJC/Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Attending this meeting will be Alderman Joseph Roddy and other concerned residents/business owners of Forest Park Southeast. Your input is welcomed. Again, the meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 13th at 6:00 pm.

Please forward to others.

Irving M. Blue, Executive Director
Forest Park Southeast Development Corporation

I just love how all this works:

1) Hatch evil plan around self interests but tied concerns about higher taxes if not accepted.
2) Get politicos on board with plan. After all, that is why we give them contributions!
3) Get local group on board now that they are used to our annual grants.
4) Oh yeah, almost forgot, hold some sort of public meeting now that all the decisions are made. Solicit “input” without laughing.
5) Wrap up song & dance and return to doing whatever we feel like secure in the knowledge the alderman and neighborhood are eating out of our hands.

What a system we’ve got.

The show begins at 6pm on 4/13/06 at 4317 Vista.

– Steve

 

Currently there are "20 comments" on this Article:

  1. Brian says:

    The site in question is a location that most don’t even realize is part of Forest Park, since east of Kingshighway. Plus, the site is already occupied by a parking garage for BJC. Developing this block, in addition to a more ped-friendly Kingshighway/40 interchange (part of New I-64) should help better link FPSE to the CWE via BJC.

    [REPLY – The site has parking underneath public tennis courts on the parkland. Big difference. And have you seen how BJC builds? Nothing about their buildings has anything to do with pedestrian-friendly unless you use Jennifer Florida’s definition. The interchange is going to happen with or without this land grab so no pointing in mixing the two together. – SLP]

     
  2. Jon says:

    Why not let this go though. If it truely does help FP on some level gain a stable funding source independent of the city then thats a good trade off. The guy above is right, this land long ago became cut off from the park when . Like it or not BJC growing is good for the city, the CWE, metrolink and forest park. Let this go though. Long ago any true semblace of a park was lost in this area, unlike Turtle park along Oakland.

     
  3. Brian says:

    Well then, demand strong urban design of BJC, especially pedestrian-friendly design. But don’t prohibit development within a block that has long lost any semblance of being part of Forest Park, especially when this long-term lease deal affords the opportunity to continue funding the up-keep of recent, extensive improvements to our region’s most treasured park.

    [REPLY Ok, lets say for sake of argument that it has no relation to Forest Park. But, does that mean it is not used and meaningful to people East of Kingshighway? Currently drivers (cars, scooters or bikes) are not permitted to enter Forest Park on Westbound Clayton Road so having some green on the East of Kingshighway is a good thing. Take a look at it on Google Earth, it is more green than you think. Combined with additional greenspace after the I-64/Kingshighway interchance is done and it will be quite nice. But maybe the plan all along is to give BJC the additional green gained from the interchange redo as well? – SLP]

     
  4. Beckerac says:

    Isn’t there a law on the books in St. Louis that states that if any organization builds over city parkland, they must buy and donate an equal acreage of land back to the city for new parkland?

    Am I mistaken?

    [REPLY I think you are correct but they are not planning to buy the land. They are talking about a 90-year lease at $2/million per year. I believe they are talking about “relocating” the park and associated tennis courts somewhere else. Maybe we’ll find out where tomorrow night? – SLP]

     
  5. three-one-four says:

    “And have you seen how BJC builds? Nothing about their buildings has anything to do with pedestrian-friendly unless you use Jennifer Florida’s definition.”

    Funny you should say that, as in recent years, the eternal construction process in the BJC complex has been churning out more pedestrian plazas than roads, and moving to keep vehicles out of the area.

    Since Euclid and Parkview were reworked to reduce automobile traffic, the area has been much more active with pedestrians and cyclists than how it has been a few years back. WU/BJC are also working with Metro to build the transit hub just east of the Metrolink station, to get more bus and vehicular traffic off of Euclid in the interest of pedestrians. I wouldn’t be surprised if Euclid gets cut off altogether from automobiles sooner rather than later.

    As far as the land in question, there’s already plenty of buildup on that ground. It has a parking garage under it, all manner of surface ventilation shafts, a skybridge to the hospital, a surface parking lot, and an I-64 ramp. I pass by fairly often and rarely do I see people utilizing the tennis courts or playground.

    So, we have a section of land already with marginal utility that represents less than 1% of the acreage of the park. The benefit of enhanced medical facilities notwithstanding, in exchange for giving up what’s already essentially been given up, the city receives funds to help ensure the rest of the park does not fall into the same disrepair as it was in the ’80s. To not allow this would be to cut off your nose to spite your face.

    “Currently drivers (cars, scooters or bikes) are not permitted to enter Forest Park on Westbound Clayton Road so having some green on the East of Kingshighway is a good thing.”

    Then they should be mandated to preserve some degree of green space. Looking at Google Earth, if you were to divide the block in two, one half of the block could accomodate quite a few buildings of similar size to that BJC has been putting up lately. For what its worth, drivers should not be able to enter Forest Park from that side, or else the park roads will turn into a rush-hour thruway to avoid I-64.

    [REPLY – You’ve fallen for the remove the cars in the interest of pedestrians way of thinking. What has been removed is the ability to pass through the area. The only folks that are there are those that need to be. I no longer just pass through. In a city, that is a bad thing. We want a working street grid that disburses traffic throughout rather than forcing it all in one spot. The mere presence of a plaza does not make an area pedestrian-friendly. All these changes do present challenges to cyclists, scooterists and drivers.

    The park land in question might not get used much but we really can’t say. It would be nice to actually conduct a study to see how it has been used in the summer months.

    Blocking off park access on Clayton Road keeps cyclists from Forest Park SE neighborhood from easy access to the park. – SLP]

     
  6. Jon says:

    A simple inspection of google earth confirms what I already knew to be true, all the grass on top of the garage does not hide the fact that the area is more gree parking deck and less park space.

    There is not reason to halt this move. Moreover, simple negotiations could provide the improvments SLP desires. Why not ask BJC to pay for a reworked Clayton intersection with Clayton. Afraid of loosing green space. Clayton is suposed to be part of the greenway connection into forest park. Make BJC do some of the streetscape and greenway improvments from Forest Park into Cortex West as part of this deal.

    No one is saying BJC can’t be held to a higher standard, only that it is clear that renting this land to BJC for buildings is not a horrible idea, and frankly could be a hugh positive if done right. More density and jobs near a Metro stop, expanded greenway, more jobs period, improvements for a world class hospital… what downside am I missing?

     
  7. Jeremy says:

    I completely agree with the rest of the commenters. I work at BJC, and can tell you that the city ceded this land to BJC in spirit a long time ago. A BCJ parking garage is underneath it, and the tennis courts and playground above it are used almost exclusively by BJC employees. The general assumption of everyone who sees and uses it is that it already belongs to BJC. I really don’t see the downside of a deal that arranges for BJC to build on a plot of land they already de-facto own in exchange for $2 million a year that will go towards ongoing and much needed maintenance and defense of Forest Park.

     
  8. Hans Gerwitz says:

    If I recall correctly, Barnes was originally allowed to build that garage because they promised to not interfere with the park… you’d barely be able to tell there was a garage there.

    Just like Kiel was going to be restored…

     
  9. LisaS says:

    While I agree with many of the comments that this land was ceded to BJC in spirit when the parking garage was built years ago, I am disturbed by this as a dangerous precedent, particularly in light of the following facts:

    1. We are losing free tennis courts (which I have used) and the only playground within (distant) walking range of most CWE residents. Yes, we have used it a lot in the past. Given gas prices, I’d rather not have to jump in the car to go to the Lindell Pavilion every time they want to go to the playground.

    2. According to the P-D, the City is planning to cut their existing $1.9 million budget line for maintaining the park, so the $2 million for BJC makes it essentially equal. We’re giving up a piece of our park for no real benefit.

    I have no doubt that this will happen–what the hospital wants, it gets. However, I think they should at least build a new playground somewhere within walking distance of the southern part of the CWE. A new playground is being planned at Kennedy Park on the north end of the neighborhood for construction later this year. There are at least two playgrounds in FPSE south of 40. We don’t have anything else.

     
  10. Paul Knittel says:

    I have too disagreed with you on this one Steve. As previously stated most people don’t know that is a part of Forest Park, in fact until a few years ago I thought it was a part of Barnes-Jewish. If anyone is interested how Kingshighway used to run before 40/I64 was built check out this map, on the bottom left corner

     
  11. SMSPlanstu says:

    I played on that playground once when I was a child and my parents were visiting someone at BJC (90s. At a young age I thought that a park on a garage is cool! However, to be compromising I agree that a playground and more central location for a playground could be sought to better serve the CWE and maybe Children’s Hospital.

     
  12. Jackie says:

    I will have more to say later regarding the park issue as I read all these comments. Meanwhile………..
    While reading I ran across the one about Clayton Ave. being redesigned to prevent rush hour traffic from taking a route through the park. So where do you think that rush hour traffic that has been inconvenienced at Clayton Ave. exits the area? Right through rhe FPSE neighborhood. Taylor Ave. south to Manchester or Oakland and then west to I-44 and I-64. Somebody did not want excess traffic in the park but it’s OK to reroute that traffic into our residential neighborhood. Traffic backs up for blocks on Manchester and Taylor. If drivers had an option, maybe half of them would take the scenic route through the park. It would cut down on the excess traffic on our neighborhood streets. All routes should be available as they always were. BJC is the biggest contributor to traffic in the whole area and their numbers are not shrinking. It’s OK to come through the Park during the rush hour as long as you come off Kingshighway across from Barnes…………..why not reopen Clayton Ave. like it was before, and alleviate some of this traffic we are forced to endure? I won’t even mention the number of accidents at Taylor and Manchester.

     
  13. Jackie says:

    The Park.
    The park belongs to the people. It’s been there forever. Barnes wanted to do what they did and now we have what we have. The hospital has a place for visitors to bring their children when visiting patients (a safe place), visitors have a place to wait and some have a private place to cry. The park provides a place of solace for those who have sorrow to deal with. Yes, the employees have a place to stay fit and be active. The parents in the neighborhoods with limited yard space have a place to bring their children to stretch out. Racquetball players and tennis enthusiasts have free courts on this end of Forest Park. The CWE and FPSE neighborhoods have a great marketing tool to encourage people to locate in our neighborhoods. How many St. Louis neighborhoods can tell a potential buyer of property that they can walk to the park and play free tennis and racquetball and take their children to play on the equipment right across the street from a world class hospital. This park is much more than a green space. BJC agreed to do what they’ve done…………Thank You……..now they want to bribe Forest Park with much needed money (we all need money) to coerce them to let them do their thing. Forest Park, I hope will favor the needs of the people on this one. BJC has changed the face of all the blocks around them, the neighborhood is nothing like it was in the 60’s and 70’s…………I understand progress, I also understand greed and power. BJC can be told NO!

     
  14. Jackie says:

    I hope to see alot of people at this meeting tonight, there really is power in the people if people are united. People can make a difference.

     
  15. Anthony Coffin says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Euclid gets cut off altogether from automobiles sooner rather than later.

    Thanks “three-one four” for the best laugh I have had all week. If Euclid were closed most of the buisinesses would be gone quicker than you can say Park East Tower. Pedestrian malls don’t necesarrily create “pedestrian friendly” areas. I think most people who understand what “urban” means understand this concept.

    I used to play tennis in the park late at night, it was amazing with the lights and eyes of BJC looking over you, it made you feel very safe. I would recomend for everyone to go play tennis just once there, especialy at night, then tell me how you feel about it being gone.

     
  16. “the area has been much more active with pedestrians and cyclists than how it has been a few years back”

    How many of these people are not coming from or going to a hospital or medical school building?

     
  17. Jackie says:

    Goodbye Hudlin Park, with your playground, free racquetball courts and tennis courts…………Hello obnoxious building and increased traffic in FPSE. Forest Park Forever, that’s a hoot!!! no more contributions needed from residents at tax time, BJC will take care of Forest Park, eventually they’ll want Steinberg Skating Rink………..it’s just across the street. After all, they will be the major monetary benefactor to Forest Park and this will give them all the power they need for future expansion. FPSE/CWE residents who have enjoyed the benefits of Hudlin Park should realize how insignificant they are. What they want is much less important than what BJC wants.

     
  18. Jackie Jackels says:

    This was a done deal before we the residents and users of Hudlin Park even
    became aware of the proposal. The ‘meeting’ with concerned citizens was
    condescending, nothing else. Irving Blues letter of support on the
    communities letterhead, from the FPSE Housing Corporation as his personal
    opinion, indicated a populous vote in favor of, from the residents (who he
    represents)( or, is supposed to), I was not in favor of and neither were a
    lot of other people.
    There was no time allowed for an organized public protest. Had there been,
    it may have been halted. Oh well, a done deal is a done deal.
    Now, I would like to have a letter of support from Irving Blue for a
    proposal that will be GOOD for the neighborhood. The Alderman who makes
    things happen AND, BJC get to pay for it, after all they stole our park to
    build another building!
    We’re entitled and long overdue for a neighborhood proposal.
    I want to submit this proposal to all who are reading this to gain your
    support. There IS power in the people.
    I can’t do a thing with this proposal without the support from the community
    as a whole. I hope this proposal will be accepted by each of you.
    This is what I propose…………………….
    based on the future expectations of our neighborhood and the increased BJC
    traffic on our streets………………I propose,
    we become a Gated community with gates that do not open, and FPSE inscribed
    on each structure.
    Start with gating Chouteau at Taylor, Newstead, Tower Grove, and Boyle on
    it’s south side. That promptly ends any more BJC employee traffic through
    our neighborhood as well other employees. They will now go east on a 4 lane
    street to Vandeventer and go where they need to go. Residents will enter
    and exit the neighborhood as they do now, onto Manchester or Oakland to
    Kingshighway.
    The traffic in our neighborhood from the biggest tax payer with the most
    employees in our city is intolerable. Based on the impending expansion it
    will only get worse.
    We as a community need to bring this abuse to an end. BJC, the Alderman,
    City Officials, City Planners don’t live here and if we don’t care enough to
    do something about it, you know they don’t.
    We the residents must unite as a whole to stop the traffic abuse in our
    neighborhood.!
    Let’s become a GATED Community. We deserve some dignity!!
    Whoever you are reading this proposal let’s help each other make our
    neighborhood a safer and more desirable place.
    Gated Communities attract wealth and increase property values.
    We have nothing to lose (except traffic) and everything to gain!
    Once Chouteau is done then the interior streets will be targeted to have the
    culvert pipes replaced as was promised when we agreed to change the name of
    the neighborhood from Rankin East to FPSE. We’ll be the only part of FOREST
    PARK left, east of Kingshighway, let’s take care of it.
    If you can support this proposal, find others who will and lets start a
    letter writing campaign. If some one wants to create a letter so we can
    sign, I’ll sign. Maybe we should ask Irving Blue to support the proposal on
    neighborhood letterhead and have Joe the Alderman ask BJC for a share of the
    expense, since it is their traffic for ‘the MOST part’ that is the nuisance.
    Does this proposal have any support from anyone reading it?
    This needs volume support, Both sides of Manchester will be affected. Adams
    Grove will have less traffic going south on Tower Grove and Boyle. In
    addition, there will be less traffic on Manchester. I-44 traffic will stay
    on Vandeventer. Our whole neighborhood will benefit!
    If you think this is a good proposal for our community, please tell
    others………….
    Sincerely,
    Jackie Jackels

     
  19. Jackie Jackels says:

    If anyone has composed a petition/letter to the Mayor, The President of the Board of Alderman and Darlene Green, if you will send a copy to my email I would appreciate the opportunity to give my support to your petition by signing it. I await a copy.
    Thank You,
    Jackie

     
  20. Jackie Jackels says:

    The following is a response I made to Bill McClellan regarding his article about reputations on June 6th in STLToday.

    It’s obvious you are in favor of the Barnes, Jewish, Children’s Hospitals to expand their facilities across the street to where they are nesting their cars. Above is a physical and therapeutic park, built to replace the Rose Garden they destroyed when they built the garage. The assault was afoot.
    You want to talk reputations?
    To begin with, they have never replaced the Rose Garden or a facsimile there of.
    They agreed to maintain the facilities. You, yourself see the lack of maintenance. You said, out of six tennis courts, only two are playable. Four handball/racquetball courts, you can only close one door. The restroom facilities are frequently found dirty, Housekeeping is just across the bridge.
    The exercise equipment that used to be there is gone.
    Barnes has systematically discouraged use of the facility, under their care, in Forest Park, so it can be said…………just like you said……………………..little use.
    Why? When the proposal is presented, it’s just a wasteland they are trying to improve.
    While raising their neighbors taxes…………….again.
    BJC pays no property taxes. They are not for profit. Tax exempt. We the property owners around them have to make of their deficit by paying higher taxes, after every improvement, the value increases and so does our taxes. BJC and others like yourself don’t have a clue as to the underhanded activity that goes on in our neighborhood. Before you start touting the public opinion of good reputations, there is always another side. BJC has a hole in Forest Park, that’s all. I will do everything in my power to prevent this atrocity by allowing them to develop the land covering the hole. I will not roll over and play dead like some of my neighbors who have agreed to sit on a committee of acceptance and present their ideas along with the CWE’s. Why separate meetings. Why did the CWE get to present their condescending ideas to our condescending committee. They need to come together on ideas. WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US WHO ARE NOT CONDESCENDING!!!!!! This portion of Forest Park will stay right where it is………………..it’s not going anywhere, it does not need to moved!
    Forest Park is not negotiable real estate. You should be ashamed if you grew up with it to even think it’s beneficial.
    Our park is for relaxation and physical fitness. It is very therapeutic to those who need the space. Children play there. BJC employees play there, or used to. It’s a great place to accept bad news. Students use it. It’s open to the public and no fees are charged. Although, an awful lot of money is generated down below where they nest a thousand cars, when it’s full. I’d wager a bet…………..they collect more from our hole in the ground, we are leasing to them, than they pay us ($150,000.00 a year)for the privilege of using our park. Forest Park is forever, try remembering that.
    Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis are both being tempted by money. Money………………………your integrity compromised by need. Find other ways to meet those needs and obligations, than jumping through hoops.
    There are other ways.
    Let me give you another example of the corruption in our community. You have to live here to know about it. They (BJC/WASH U) own 90 pieces of property in the neighborhood. Renters. Renters pay no property taxes. Our development corporation gives out tax credits like candy that the city has authorized. CREDITS!!! Who makes up the difference? Property owners. The homes and community center that BJC/Wash U has mingled their money in under the auspices of Forest West Properties bring no revenue into the city. I even wonder if they pay property taxes on what they own here and the 25 acres in the CWE. I doubt it. It’s covered up somehow. BJC is not a good neighbor. It would have been better to have property owners in those 90 sites. It was affordable housing until it was quietly bought and re developed……………………….raising property taxes even more.
    AND, you concede for a multi-million dollar development in Forest Park…………………….are you crazy? Get the facts from the neighbors before you agree to a tax increase.
    Perfect example………………………..Queeny Tower
    After it’s completion ‘the Hospital With a Touch of Mink’ was put on the tax rolls because it’s lavishness outdid itself as a hospital. A glass enclosed pool on top, restaurants, bars and lounges on the 16th and 17th floors. Self care ‘patients’ and visitors could check in like a hotel. It was managed by Mayfair Lennox Hotels. They had ‘real patient’ floors from 7 thru 9, the 2nd thru 5th floors were doctor’s offices and executives suites. Then you had the lobby, a first rate hotel with valet.
    City Assessor Joseph C. Sansone assessed them a tax bill for $1,079,500.00. 1966. Barnes would have to pay $50,000.00 that year. Barnes whined this would be a great drain on financial resources and hinder their growth. They appealed to the Board of Equalization. Sansone said the luxurious 18 story complex does not qualify as a tax exempt institution because it contains a bar, restaurant, doctors’ offices and overnight accommodations for relatives of patients. Barnes won. What about the increase of value to the neighborhood. Who paid their assessed value. Was it wrote off or mingled in with surrounding property owners. People began to flee the city because of high taxes. Now they want to tear Queeny Tower down and upgrade. They have to build a new building across the street first, because they can’t displace the patients. Which ones? They have 400 empty beds at present………….so I’ve heard. Maybe that would be worth checking out. They say it has to come down because it is not earthquake proof. How many buildings are?
    After they won the right to not pay taxes on luxury, because it would be a financial drain, two years later they built a $12 million dollar addition. $50,000. A drop in that bucket.
    Can they be trusted? No. They kept this proposal under the table until it was decided it was a done deal. They never replaced the rose garden, they don’t maintain the park like they are supposed to. They park their cars under it and charge for it, they find ways to be excused from giving a share of their worth, to the City Budget, they quietly scoop up affordable housing, improve it, rent it and watch the value of the community increase as potential institution land, (you’ve heard about those BIO Tech institutions that need many acres to build on), they won’t commit to anything in writing, they make no promises, they pay no taxes, they increase thru traffic in residential neighborhoods, they block off streets and have separate meetings with neighbors.
    Some reputation.
    The accolades you sing are deserving when it comes to healthcare.
    Joe Roddy said BJC (our single benefactor) has put $29 million into the neighborhoods around their complex. I (personally) don’t know anyone who’s gotten any relief from BJC. I know plenty who have had to come up with more taxes for improvements though. Property owners are being inched out property by property with the Forest West Properties renters. Those properties should be owned by homeowners not BJC. Last year, with the help of Joe Roddy, an Icon in the neighborhood was forced to sell his property under threat of eminent domain. Sell it or loose it. Now they propose to re-locate 9.4 acres of Forest Park to less than 4 acres. The same property that was forced from said property owner who did pay taxes even if his residential properties were in a blighted condition. He had a thriving business on this same block of land. Less than 4 acres. The seller was told Wash U plans to build a high-rise condo. More renters? or will it be a tennis court and maybe a racquet ball court and a playground with a huge wall on the back to act as a noise reduction shield from the I-64 traffic below.
    Mr. McClellan, ask the opposition about reputations before you start telling the public about our strange behavior and our yard signs.
    Thank You and have a great day.
    Jackie

    These are issues people in this area concern themselves with. Please join with us on July 8th at 3:00pm in Forest Park, across from Barnes to add your presence to the opposition. Wear green. Thanks

     

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