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St. Louis Cardinals Unveil [Model] Ballpark Village

October 27, 2006 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Planning & Design, Politics/Policy 40 Comments

bpv - 01.jpgToday the St. Louis Cardinals, The Cordish Company (developer) and the City of St. Louis announced an “agreement in principal” on the much debated Ballpark Village project. The Ballpark Village site is to be located where the old Busch Stadium was located from 1966-2005, currently the mud hole you see at right. To be fair, the new stadium just opened this year with the north facade facing us in this view just getting finished very recently. Clearly, considerable attention and work has gone into the future of the now vacant site. OK, we’ve established they have not been sitting around. What have they been up to?

First, lets get oriented. The view at right is taken from the posh branch office of The Cordish Company located on the 17th floor of the Bank of America tower at the NW corner of 8th & Walnut. The street in the left of the image is Walnut and 8th street is in the right. Clark Street now runs along the north side of the new stadium (Note: I am not sure if this is a “public” street or privately controlled street). At the far side of the image is Broadway in front of the horrible parking garage structure. In the bottom of the image is the roof of the Bowling Hall of Fame. Curving in front of the hall of fame is 7th street with one-way traffic heading north. It should be noted, all the streets mentioned are one-way with the sole exception of Clark.




bpv - 08.jpgBefore the show got underway we see from left to right, Cardinal Senior VP Bill DeWitt III, and developers David Cordish & Chase Martin inspecting the covered model.


bpv - 18.jpgOnce unveiled the model shows in great detail what they plan to construct. This internalized park is part of the picture.


bpv - 23.jpgThis is among the professional images provided today. The view is looking east on Clark from 8th Street. Here is a good place to talk about one of the issues that is not yet resolved. Currently traffic coming from the south can head northbound on 7th Street which, at the stadium, merges in with 8th street heading south. If you recall from the existing image above the northbound traffic on 7th street bends around and finally connects with the original street grid of the city. At this point it is unclear what will happen to northbound traffic on 7th.

The choices for this traffic is to make 8th street two-way, divert east onto Clark and then through the new “village” to get to 7th northbound or make all traffic go west on Clark and then north on 9th.

If you recall from the downtown traffic study it was suggested that 8th, 11th (north of Market) and Walnut be changed from one-way to two-way. The issue, to date, has been the cost of the new signals to make the change. So, I can see this project helping get 8th two-way at least up to Market street. Also, Walnut will likely go two-way at this point as well. These changes will be welcomed.


bpv - 24.jpgThis view is looking from the NW corner of the site back toward the SE corner of the site, across the internalized park area. They’ve been talking for some time about this “six block” area but no matter how you slice the pie it is still the same size. Originally this area was three city blocks — Broadway (aka 5th) to 8th being three blocks in the east-west direction and Clark to Walnut is a single block. It is three city blocks with some internal driveways that vaguely resemble public streets. Just as this is supposed to resemble a public park.

Putting aside my issues with respect to public vs. private streets, the scale and such is all quite nice. They’ve managed to avoid a number of common pitfalls such as neo-traditional architecture to add instant history, boring monolithic buildings such as those facing Market Street, and endless uniformity. The design is not perfect and not what I would have designed for the site but I’ve yet to see any real glaring anti-urban elements.


bpv - 25.jpgi do question how successful this project will be in the long term. In the near term, say 10+ years, it will be wildly popular. My fear is that beyond that it will begin to lose some of its luster. Cordish says they do not sell their projects and that they will continue to own, maintain and care for the project long into the future. I have no cause to doubt them. But, where is the buy-in for the public. For the rest of the city the residents all have a stake in their streets. Here it is like overlooking a mall, albeit a well detailed and outdoor mall. Still, the idea of this much outdoor space pretending to be public space just rubs me the wrong way.

The bright lights and the variety of signage is encouraging. Not so long ago it was thought in planning circles that uniformity of awnings and signs was a good thing but thankfully things have come full circle and it is now recognized we don’t want everything to be the same — even our chain restaurants and stores. Well, you expect the chain to have the same sign from location to location but you don’t want your Applebee’s having the same sign as your Chili’s.


bpv - 26.jpgThe obligatory Arch view with Busch stadium in front and the new village lit up from behind. I don’t know if they will ask residents of the condo and office towers to leave their lights on or not. Somehow I don’t think it will be this bright.


bpv - 27.jpgThis is a close up of one of the corners, not sure which. All of the architecture shown in the model and images is modern. Thankfully. The last thing I wanted to see is more fake historic. I’m not saying I mind it that much on the stadium itself but I just could not deal with more of it. It is wise for them to depart from that for this area. Cordish & DeWitt talked about the need for activity on non-game days which is quite true. The question is who will they attract and from where. Which brings us to the issue of taxes.

Mayor Slay said again today this will not involve our current tax revenues paying for this project. The only way to fund it is to buy something at one of the restaurants or shops, lease office space or buy/rent a condos. Those taxes within the project will be the public contribution. Except that some people will eat at the ESPN Zone restaurant rather than Hooters two blocks to the north. Or even Shannon’s across Walnut. Taxes will get diverted unless they can show that 100% of the money spent in ballpark village is not currently being spent within the City of St. Louis.

This, of course, they cannot prove. They did provide a two-pageoutline (pdf) of the project. I’ll let you look at the file and comment what you think of their take on the taxes and such.


And finally, here is Bill DeWitt III and Chase Martin explaining the project, the video is under under 7 minutes.


 

Currently there are "40 comments" on this Article:

  1. tom says:

    Thanks for the news. Your site is a great service.

     
  2. Ihnen says:

    What really strikes me when looking at this project is just how big it really is (even if it isn’t 6 blocks has everyone seems to insist reporting). Take a look at the photo of the park and the overall photo two spots above it – the park and surrounding retail is just one of several hubs of activity within the development . . .

    This project is big enough that different parts will evolve or develop differently. The park/courtyard may not prove to be the biggest draw for restaurants, but maybe Clark St. will – the covered section may not be accessible enough, but a Whole Foods facing Walnut could be wildly successful . . . you get the idea. I think a decent analogy would be the relative variety around 40/170. Maybe the Galleria fails one day, maybe the Promenade, but not both and the Boulevard AND the WalMart/Lowes AND the Borders/Whole Foods.

    This development won’t fail like a single mall, St. Louis Centre, or a Union Station could. No to mention the residential that will hopefully end up being 2,000+ residents . . .

     
  3. GMichaud says:

    It appears that there is at least some concern about working good urban design into the project. It is hard to tell exactly all that is going on, but there is clearly an attempt at creating a public space. If well executed it could help add another dimension to downtown St. Louis. I do wonder how the high rises next to the stadium will come off. From the drawings and model it looks like it good be a good project.
    It brings up several questions though. If it is possible to at least explore urban design in this context why is the city not pushing for the same quality elsewhere, for instance at Loughborough Commons or Southtown Centre?
    In a discussion of public money, a friend of mine has suggested that they should get the same thing everyone else is getting. That may be so. The question has to be asked why are upscale projects like this getting any help at all? The people doing this project are wealthy and will become more wealthy off this project. There is a captured audience at the ballpark at least 80 nights a year, just about insuring success from the beginning. In addition, the stores, offices etc will be leased by the already profitable chains or wealthy enterprises. The location will be out of reach for the mom and pop enterprise. Which is fine, except that the mom and pop enterprise contribute taxes, like everyone else, to support the project.
    It seems like in this capitalist society the wealthly have the means to push to the head of the line for handouts.
    If this was an experimental project on the northside, with attempts to nuture small business development, in other words a project with a great deal of risk, it may be justified to have government help.
    To continue to give handouts to the already extravagantly wealthy is truly a crime. If capitalism is such a failure that it cannot support itself then perhaps America should look at other economic forms and stop pretending capitalism works.
    For example if public money is so desperataly needed for this project then a building should be given to the City of St. Louis for use in the public domain.
    If the City becomes landlord, so be it. The location is a sure thing and could be used to assist a mom and pop business, miniority business development, new business enterprises, or a whole host of other options.
    These giveaways to what should be a successful project are wrong. Scarce resources should be applied to the many, many other needs in society.

     
  4. Josh says:

    first reaction:

    s t u n n i n g

    more later

     
  5. Adam says:

    my question is this, which nobody has seemed to discuss yet. Where is the bowling hall of fame going? I remember hearing some ideas that it would move into the village as well. But just want to know if any final decision has been made.

    [UR – If you look closely at the image third from the bottom — the vertical one with the pedestrian street (“mall”) and the glass roof you’ll see a big bowling pin. I’m not sure that is a bowling alley or the relocated museum. Could be both. I hate the current bowling hall of fame building and will celebrate its destruction.]

     
  6. equals42 says:

    Aren’t these the same folks who came up with the Chouteau Lake idea? I was intrigued by that as well. It would really help if everyone who took Metro downtown didn’t have to look out the windows on the worst parts during their trip. This project and Chouteau Lake together would really push the I-64 corridor in the right direction as long as they leave some of the successful places there alone (Paddy O’s and others).

     
  7. Kara says:

    GMichaud,
    I agree with the points you are making. I don’t believe it is appropriate for the city to contribute to this project financially in the form of a grant. One way they could contribute is to buy back the land that will become the park space, the streets, and the pedestrian walkways. They could maintain these spaces with public tax money and these would become open public spaces. Cordish would be freed from the maintenance costs for these spaces which would lower their risk, yet their specific investments (upscale condos and retail) would still benefit from these things.

     
  8. maurice says:

    Sure, and I guess the city has plenty of spare money around to buy land and let it sit vacant in the middle of a redevelopment project. Maintain these spaces? with what? The city can’t aford to take care of the parks it has now.

    This is far bigger than the first village proposed, and yet, no one sees that. Of course the developers are going to get it done cheapest way possible and if that means using tifs and such, then they wouldn’t be the first would they?

    [UR — I don’t think they meant “buy” as in calling up Ray Vinson and getting a loan. The idea is we’d use our tax dollars generated from the project for the infrastructure but we’d actually own it. Hence, public street & public park.

    And a public park can have a special taxing district set up to help fund maintenance, which could happen at BPV.

    Stop, take a deep breath, and imagine something other than what you are being spoon fed. Listen to others. Think. It the Cordish way the only way to go from mud hole to finished project? No, it is not. The more we think, question and demand the better we are going to get from our elected representatives and their developer buddies.]

     
  9. Paul Hohmann says:

    Besides being world champions of Baseball, when it comes to saving historic buildings, I would say that St. Louis is better off than Detroit. While I have never been there, for several years now I have been fascinated and stunned at the huge collection of large abandoned buildings in Detroit. Some are now being renovated, but sadly most are just sitting there trying to avoid the wrecking ball. For a look, see: forgottendetroit.com

    Here in St. Louis, thanks to the Missouri historic tax credit, we are close to running out of historic buildings to bring back to life in downtown. While this year has been better in Detroit, with long awaited renovations of the giant Book-Cadillac and the Fort Shelby hotels finally getting under way, last year a frenetic demolition derby occurred in the name of “cleaning up” the city for the superbowl. Casualties included the Madison-Lenox Hotel destruction of the massive landmark Statler Hotel leaving yet another tooth gap around Grand Circus Park.

     
  10. GMichaud says:

    You are right about that Kara, there could be open public space owned by the city, rather than a financial or tax contribution. That raises a question to answer about the central court indicated in the model. If someone goes for a walk and sits in a bench will they be chased away because they are not a customer of one of the businesses? If it is restricted, it would be one more reason they should not recieve tax breaks.

    I caught a little bit of Bill DeWitt III being interviewed by Charles Jaco yesterday. The lowest price condo will start at $300,000, certainly upscale prices.
    DeWitt also said they negotiated incentives with the city by showing them how the numbers work out. It would be nice if the citizens could see those numbers also.
    I think the most troubling thing about all of this is wealth becomes more and more concentrated into a few hands, and the American people in part finance that concentration through transactions such as this. Meanwhile the northside of St. Louis languishes (as well as parts of the southside) with little creative investment. Some home building goes on to be sure, but there is no comprehensive efforts to create a new economy.

    Meanwhile Congress wants to democratize and rebuild Iraq and yet they, combined with local leadership, simply can’t seem to help many parts of the city. It doesn’t make sense to me, tax money for the wealthy, while huge needs go unmet.

     
  11. MOIRA says:

    GAWSH I *wish* that there was video for the unveiling of ALL urban development projects.

     
  12. Kara says:

    If someone is simply sitting in the courtyard, I doubt they would be asked to leave, though shop owners would have that right if they wanted to excercise it for any reason. If this courtyard is private I’m sure there are many ordinary activities that would not be tolerated that may include taking photographs, picnicking if you brought your own food, passing out flyers, collecting signatures for a petition, dressing in a way the shop owners or Cordish doesn’t like, selling candy for fund raisers, etc.

    Creating urban friendly architecture isn’t only about making pretty buildings, it’s also about truly valuing the public realm and understanding the importance of public space. From what I can see from these plans, this project looks great, I just question how it will really function and what its relationship will be to the people of St. Louis.

     
  13. john says:

    Sure looks like a great project. Impressive marketing, substantial sums, thinking big, that’s good. Certainly a step in the right direction.

    Until more data is available I’ll try to remain optimistic. However, I continue to be skeptical of the long run when the foundation is a sports franchise. If Cordish was able to announce committments from major corporations to lease substantial space, then the project would have five stars.

    The real challenge to come for Cordish and the City is how to keep the area vibrant the other 280 days when the Cards are not home. The New I64 debates will be more interesting.

    Too bad Boeing just relocated to Chicago last year even though many of its operations are here. Any bets on the ownership of those high-rise condos? Is Cordish going to take over the school district?

    If all else fails, maybe downtown StL, being well located, can be converted into a convention center? Maybe we can put that new landing strip into use! Certainly need more casinos to attract those surburbanites just in case the Cards don’t get into the playoffs!

     
  14. Forgotten Man says:

    If the streets really are going to be private, I think that is a great idea. What is wrong with a “private-public” outdoor space like a mall? Let’s face it, downtown is full of vagrants who will follow the money to this development. Private streets allow Cordish to keep them out and keep the owners of the condos, as well as law abiding citizens safe. Like or hate the fountain in the park, it’ll be nice knowing that the homeless aren’t allowed to use it as a shower or a bidet like they do in Lucas Park.

    It is in Cordish’s interest to attract as many people as possible to BPV to keep retail rents high, but keeping out the bad is just as important. Malls generally let everyone in so long as they are behaving properly (no bathing in the fountains or harassing the other customers for change or just being intoxicated in general). Removing the parasites from the equation will make the idea of downtown living a lot more desireable for many people. Sorry, but we really need to sink the idea that dealing with people like that should be a necessary part of city living. Maybe businesses on Washington should form an association and purchase the street from the city so they can do likewise.

     
  15. Adam says:

    Forgotten Man is right. we really need to sink the idea that homeless people are human. i mean, can’t we just displace them somewhere a little less conspicuous? all i know is those poor rich people who pay half a million dollars for a condo should NOT have to walk past and refuse to give money to, much less look at, a homeless person. i certainly don’t want to bathe in a fountain that some homeless person has just bathed in.

     
  16. Jack says:

    The layout for ballpark village looks like a larger version of 4th street live in louisville, which is quite lame, caters to drunk 18-24 year olds and yuppies, all while being extremely overpriced.

    After watching the cardinals play in san diego i saw the best plan ever for outside a ballpark. A public park with a baseball diamond for kids to play on not only during the game, but whenever.
    Its amazing how similiar busch is to petco park, they are from the same cookie cutter thats for sure. With little mods the view from a park outside busch stadium would be quite nice. The new yankees stadium will also have a baseball diamond outside if i remember correctly. Itll actually be the one that is in the current stadium. This is a trend.
    There is no reason this could not be done outside busch, and more of a benefit to the community IMO.
    I found this photo on flikr…
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/timmer82/180196299/

     
  17. jeff says:

    While the scale is certainly urban, I am afraid Jack might be right with respect to it being cheesy. If Cordish has control of all of the tenants, there will never be any independent thinking business owners opening up shop there. Everything will have to be approved by accountants. No risk will be taken with respect to individual business. It is the unique, unordinary business that make a place memorable and bring people back.

    Of course, SOME big name chains would be OK (especially a bookstore and grocery store). But if all the restaurants and bars are corporate-owned chains that are only there because the numbers worked out, we get a tourist trap. Just like the Landing. It reminds me of the West End in Dallas. Whenever people are going to Dallas ask me where to go, they always ask about the West End (because that’s what the city’s literature promotes). I have to tell them that no self-respecting citizen of Dallas with any taste goes to the West End. It’s all chains and big overpriced “signature” frozen drinks. The same way the Landing is.

    I pray they take some risks with the businesses they let it. I doubt they will say, “if you can afford the rent, you’re in.” There will be a severe and restrictive vetting process. Which will take all of the character out of it.

     
  18. Kara says:

    Jeff, I agree. This also relates to my concern over the open spaces not being public. In the video Cordish spoke of “programming” for these spaces (I think they mentioned book signings and musical events). This type of “programming” will be a necessary replacement for true street life that could occur if these spaces were public. When places are privatized they loose a real vitality that can only happen in an organically growing urban environment. Manufactured false vitality is what we will end up with.

    The smaller scale of the design will only contribute to the theme park feeling of the place. Small scale blocks aren’t a problem in themselves, but it will seem like quite a contrast from the rest of downtown and will not easily blend into the urban fabric. Why does this area need to be a faux “village”? Why can’t it just be three newly developed mixed use blocks with a focus on entertainment?

     
  19. urban reader says:

    Jeff writes, in reference to Ballpark Village”

    “Which will take all of the character out of it.”

    Is Jeff’s writing above a sentence without a subject? Is the writing style an attempt at cute pacing and phrasing in order to emphasize a point in blog posting?

    Perhaps a new style of writing is being created right before our very eyes: “hipster-speak”.

    This could be fun…

    Just think, if there was a hipster dictionary, one of the first entries would be:

    “Um,” (usually followed by some smart-alec comment).

    Based on the tone, underlying all of these hipster comments, there seems to be an air of superiority on the part of the hispter.

    This could be a fun exercise. Funny! Yes!!

     
  20. jeff says:

    Yeah, even the terminolgy “village” worries me. The “streets” are a joke. Will anyone actually drive down them? No. So much for “street” life when there is no internal “street”. It’s like the Brentwood Boulevard development. why don’t they shoot an actual, live, car-travelling street right down the middle of it, where 7th street should be?

    Will they let buskers set up in the park? Or anywhere in the development? Doubtful. Then again, there aren’t many buskers in St. Louis anyway, outside of game day.

    Don’t get me wrong – overall, I think it looks great. I think it will be a success. I think the first phase residential will sellout in a hearbeat. I just worry about the retail/bar/restaurant mix. Will it be allowed to develop organically? I doubt it, but hope it will. Instead, it will be a very very controlled environment. They should allow in business that might “fail,” if they are unique and forward looking. It’s called risk. And, unfortunately, bankers don’t like risk.

     
  21. Jeff says:

    “Is Jeff’s writing above a sentence without a subject? Is the writing style an attempt at cute pacing and phrasing in order to emphasize a point in blog posting?”

    How old are you? Are you serious here? I don’t even know how to respond to this? And what’s with all this talk of hipster? What do you even mean by that? I wear a suit to work. I work in an office downtown, overlooking the mudpit that will hopefully provide me with many dining, shopping and entertainment options. Is it too much to express my opinions and preferences about a place that I will likely frequent many times a week?

     
  22. GMichaud says:

    Urban Reader I have seen you make some valuable and incisive comments.
    So the guy forgets to put a comma and starts a new, but incomplete, sentence. Somehow I think the world has bigger problems than that. Some great writers were very free with language.
    By the way what is it about this hipster thing, is it good or bad? what’s up with that? I see it mentioned enough in various blogs I’m not sure what qualifies a person to be a hipster. It seems to be an attempt to insult someone, but somehow I can’t make the connection, maybe I’m not hip enough.
    As far as the points Jeff makes, I think he is right on. There is a good chance the ballpark village will be one dimensional with similar business types and models. It is a valid point that I’m sure Cordish is aware of. Kara points out that Cordish is probably trying to compensate with programmed events. This will probably work to an extent, but it will not replace a truly vital business district with the character deriving from individual ownership instead of formula chains.

     
  23. I’m sorry Jeff,

    You were giving me the impression that most of your questions, comments, responses, and conclusions were intended as rhetorical.

    You commented about the visible lack of cars driving through the Brentwood Boulevard development.

    Well, actually, yes. We’ve driven down that controlled space many times to eat at one of the fine chain restaurants there.

    Unfortunately, most of the times we tried to visit one of the them, they’ve been booked solid.

    Oh, and by the way, many great development sites start out as a “mudpit”. It’s okay!

     
  24. Adam says:

    urban reader,

    stop misusing the word “hipster.” stop calling people who disagree with you “hipsters.” i hope you don’t ever, ever, ever say “um” because you might be mistaken for a “hipster.” i hope you don’t ever, ever, ever make grammatical errors – not even on a blog – because someone might think you’re a “hipster.” i’m sorry but your comment was ridiculous.

     
  25. Jeff says:

    UR – yes, you can drive down the street at the Boulevard, but why would you? The only place you can go is the parking garage, and you can’t get into that much more easily by entering it from the Galleria Parkway. You certainly won’t find parallel parking, as most of it’s valet. when you drive down the two blocks, you’re dumped back out onto Brentwood. It’s a driveway, not a street.

    Also, I may very well be a hipster. I don’t care if I am. GMichaud, UR seems to have been using this term as a negative thing (UR, forgive me if I’m wrong). But my point was that I’m sure UR’s image of hipster looks like, does not apply to me. But I probably do have tastes that line up with UR’s hipster’s tastes.

    UR – I have a hard time believing you couldn’t grasp the meaning of my subject-less sentence, so spare us the smart-alec remarks. Hipsterdom doesn’t suit you.

     
  26. jeff says:

    Edit – I meant to say “can” instead of “can’t” in the second sentence of my previous post.

     
  27. Urban Reader says:

    Dear GM,

    Re. the hipster reference, think of it as a caricature of an emerging demographic class.

    Age isn’t really the issue, so much as a sense of ironic detachment.

    From the hipster you read jaded comments. Anything with a corporate tag is to be mistrusted.

    Corporate motivation is all about greed, with no concern for the average person.

    Bankers are all evil. Big projects are all corrupt.

    Hipsters present themselves as all-knowing, while often being very naive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster

    Young hipsters are yearning for the counter culture of years gone by, but are tragically living in a time where yesterday’s rebels are today’s corporate executives.

     
  28. jeff says:

    “Young hipsters are yearning for the counter culture of years gone by”

    I hate hippies. Well, except for the motivated ones.

    I am a lawyer. I have an MBA. My brother is a banker and my dad was a consultant. Does that fit your image of a hipster?

    I hate chain restaurants. I dislike 99% of music on non-public radio. Strip malls make me want to puke. I love urban neighborhoods. I love public transportation.

    What I like is independent thinking and risk taking. And the Cardinals.

     
  29. Adam says:

    UR – your assertions don’t follow from the wikipedia definition.

    also i took a random look at one of the wikipedia links

    http://www.nplusonemag.com/neato.html

    and the writer sounds just as cynical as the so-called hipsters he defames. apparently every artistic work must be held up to the standard of modern suit-and-tie “adulthood” or else it’s the ramblings of some bitter, jaded, childish hipster. i mean come on, look at the list of famous people under the definition of hipster on wikipedia. are you going to argue that these people are all bitter, jaded, cynics who have made no significant contributions to society, as the author of the above-linked article seems to suggest? this is another case of disagreement leading to generalization and name-calling.

     
  30. Urban Reader says:

    Jeff’s resume is obviously impressive. Adam, you are a fine debater. And GM, you sound like a great patriot. A good drinking crew I suspect.

    Maybe someday we might all meet for an ice cold beer at Ballpark Village.

     
  31. AM says:

    Jeff says “I think the first phase residential will sellout in a hearbeat.” Are you kidding??? Downtown can’t sell the condos they have now. And let’s think about the sort of people that are buying condos: young professionals without kids or empty nesters. This is a very small demographic. And the young married professionals won’t stay in downtown in a condo forever if they have kids. Families will not buy into condos (the lack of a yard/outdoor play area in most complexes aside) because of the piss-poor schools and the crime. STL is #1 again today, BTW – did you hear?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061030/ap_on_re_us/city_crime_list

    If there’s any hope to truly revitalize downtown the school system and the crime problem needs to be addressed and resolved. The ball park village isn’t a bad idea in and of itself, but the time, effort, and money could be put to better use addressing the real needs of our fair city.

     
  32. Urban Reader says:

    Our school-aged, baseball loving kid would like nothing better than for us to trade in our south side house for a Ballpark Village condo.

     
  33. Adam says:

    i thought that downtown crime rates had dropped? am i making that up? are they on the rise again?

    regardless, the schools are a huge issue. and improvements in the school system will probably have to precede a decrease in crime.

     
  34. Urban Reader says:

    City crime stats are highly misleading. Crime tends to occur between perpetrators and victims who know each other.

    I am a frequent visitor to the high crime areas of the city, and never once on those visits have I been close to becoming a crime victim.

    I was warned once though, by a fellow salesman as we were selling cable TV subscriptions door-to-door, that the leather jacket I was wearing might turn me into a statistic.

    Never happened.

     
  35. GMichaud says:

    Yes improvement in the school system would help. But it is more complex than that. Economic revitalization is an essential companion to any school initiatives. Not so many years ago there were ample stepping stone jobs for workers to attain a decent standard of living. Today a new generation of workers has fewer opportunities. The manufacturing jobs that would help escape the doldrums of poverty have been sent overseas. In addition the city itself has torn up the mass transit system and local business enterprises to the extent neither are a factor in economic life.
    A major project such as ballpark village takes funding from any new efforts. I still find it amazing we think we can remake Iraq when we can’t even remake the north side of St. Louis. It can be done, improving the school system, creating new economic models, reintroducing mass transit and rebuilding neighborhoods. It takes a lot more focus, more innovative thinking, it requires the priority of government lawmakers the way Iraq is now the focus.
    Right now the ballpark village is on center stage, and it is no doubt a good thing for St. Louis. Investing the necessary resources to rebuild the urban core of St. Louis would also have a major impact on the region. This would spread the wealth; the schools would begin to reform themselves with a different self image in the neighborhoods. This society is controlled by only a few people, channeling wealth to themselves and their friends by channeling the decision making in their favor.
    Ultimately that is why the ballpark village is in the headlines instead of major urban initiatives that enliven and rejuvenate the whole city.

     
  36. Forgotten Man says:

    “we really need to sink the idea that homeless people are human. i mean, can’t we just displace them somewhere a little less conspicuous? all i know is those poor rich people who pay half a million dollars for a condo should NOT have to walk past and refuse to give money to, much less look at, a homeless person. i certainly don’t want to bathe in a fountain that some homeless person has just bathed in.”

    Adam, you act as if these homeless people are a separate class that were born as they are. In reality, these people are homeless because they choose to be and they are able to sustain this unproductive lifestyle by harassing the productive for money. It’s not so much banning certain people from the development, but certain behavior.

    Take any bum on the street, get him sober and a shower and if he promises not to harass others or expose himself, he has the same right as we do to be there. If you or I were to go weeks without bathing ourselves and insisted on bothering people for money and deficating in public we would be barred from the BPV (ideally).

    Would you like it if I were to sleep on your front lawn, harass you everyday for change as you left for work and came home? Would you like it if I were to get drunk and piss on your child’s playground and s*** in your driveway? No!? How dare you deprive me of my humanity!!! I’m a human, I have rights!!

     
  37. gdurant says:

    What a hole St Louis is! All is a lie it appears.

     
  38. studs lonigan says:

    >>Young hipsters are yearning for the counter culture of years gone by, but are tragically living in a time where yesterday’s rebels are today’s corporate executives.<<

    I thought “hipsters” were ground-breaking, innovative types, not nostalgic daffodils “yearning” over the past. As for “yesterday’s rebels” et al, it has always been thus: we live in a culture that uniformly, so to speak, absorbs its dissidents, whether they call themselves (or are called!) beatniks, hippies, or anarchists. Sometimes it’s not so much that they actually sell out (though some do) but that they find themselves in a culture gradually changed by their activities. You can’t ultimately solve a problem in terms of itself. The point is that so-called revolutionary forces do not do away with “the system” itself, they just add to it and are absorbed by it. And those are the true-blue, hardball ones who really mean it, not the posturing whores revolutionary activities seem to entice. It’s Bob Dylan vs. Sonny Bono and The Beatles vs. The Monkees.

     
  39. ronnie steel says:

    in south st.louis on 9th street next to the soulard farmers market is a guy named van that plays his guitar on the street for hange . i think he has a lot of talent and i commend him for going it alone , i mean he has no “back up” like the others and this tells me who has the rwal talent , which is him . you ought to check his guitar playing out some saturday when he is there . the others there seem to be into theirselves and turns me off musically speaking .

     
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