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BJC/Forest Park Lease is Simply Par for Course

February 8, 2007 Central West End, Environment, Local Business, STL Region 35 Comments

St. Louis has a serious lack of leadership at the top. Following the lack of a second yesterday on a motion to accept the BJC/Forest Park Lease Mayor Slay indicated he was “disappointed.” Well, Francis, welcome to my world. I am disappointed daily by you and pretty much every other elected official out of city hall.

I am disappointed in fellow members of the Board of Estimate & Apportionment, Jim Shrewsbury and Darlene Green. I’m not disappointed because they wouldn’t go along with the current deal, but because they, like the Mayor, are reactionary. Board President Candidate Lewis Reed and all his followers on the Boad of Aldermen are no better. BJC is not really the bad guy here, nor is Shrewsbury or Green. The culprit is how we do business in this town.

The notion of having to maintain Forest Park cannot possibly have been a new concept in 2006 when BJC floated this idea past the mayor’s office. Forest Park Forever, the non-profit group that raised so much money for the restoration of the park, was started in 1986 — two decades ago! Did nobody stop to think, “hey we are going to need to find a way to maintain all these improvements” along the way?

The lack of leadership from City Hall has brought us to this point today. BJC is now issuing threats to the citizens that they will look elsewhere if they don’t get their way. Maybe BJC is the bad guy too. Don’t threaten me, I don’t care how big you are. Take your ugly buildings, your closed off streets and those aweful parking garages you’ve littered the landscape with and hit the road. Yeah, that’s right. Get lost you big f*cking bully. I’m calling your bluff — something the spinless folks at city hall would never do. Proof? The St. Louis Cardinals got a new stadium downtown.
Sometime in the last 20 years we should have had a discussion about paying for Forest Park, and all our parks frankly. Does anyone recall Mayor Slay making this a priority during his 2005 re-election campaign? What about Ald. Roddy? Nope.

Good leadership would have said, “OK folks, we’ve invested millions in the renovation of Forest Park but now we need to find a good way to keep it up for the long haul.” A panel could have been formed to investigate options, a town hall could have been held. Something, anything. Instead they waited until re-elected and then turned BJC land-grab into a immediate crisis, designed to scare voters into submission. You know, something President Bush might do.

I’ve never come out fully against the idea of BJC getting that land for future expansion — it was the process I disliked, not the basic land concept. Again, good leadership from city hall would have told BJC, “We can’t take this to the people until we figure out how & where to replace the open space lost and ammenities.” You can’t take away over 9 acres of park used by nearby residents without figuring out how to accomodate their needs. Yet, when this came up last year the issue of replacement park land was one of those “oh we’ll figure that out later items.” Uh, no! We’ll figure it all out or we won’t do it at all. The Kiel Opera house was one of those “later” projects that still hasn’t happened.

Our city operates in a vacuum, looking soley at a project at a time. Whether it is paying for park maintenance or a master plan for a blighted section of South Grand we simply don’t plan ahead. We sit back or wait for a sweet-looking deal to arrive and push for it. Ald. Florida was all in favor of a McDonald’s drive-thru without once doing a master plan for a mile-long stretch of Grand blighted some 10 years earlier. What is the true cost to maintain our parks and if we did the BJC lease would that solve everything? Doubtful. We need to have discussions about commercial cooridors and park funding before we have an impending proposal on the table.  Only then can we possiblly hope to have a rational discussion about the future of our city.

Given the way our leaders continue to operate, I don’t give this city much of a future.  The potential is here, but we continually squander what we have and push those with creative thinking to other cities.  This region is not growing, at least not by much.  Sure, we are building stuff on the edge of the region but that is not the same — I’m talking population and jobs, not sprawl.  The city has to fight with the Census annually to show we’ve stabilized our population rather than continue the decades-old downward spiral.  Other regions in the U.S. have their act together while this region sticks its collective head in the sand.  We are so far behind and all the folks we elect can do is point fingers at each other.  Well, I’ve got a finger for them…

 

Currently there are "35 comments" on this Article:

  1. John says:

    I love you Steve Patterson.

     
  2. LisaS says:

    We have a lot of problems to solve. Among the first is convincing our City leaders to think creatively.

     
  3. Jim Zavist says:

    Gee, Steve, you’re sounding cranky today, but I totally agree!

    [UrbanReviewSTL — LOL, “cranky” doesn’t even come close to the contempt I have for every last official at city hall.  Our city is where we are today due to decades of this shit.  I’m fed up.  Reed is now blasting Shrewsbury while not saying a word about Darlene Green.]

     
  4. john says:

    You got that right! Numerous assets and yet so much squalor as opportunities are squandered. Yes the process is the story and it stinks. This area of the Park was disjoined as were many other acres in this jewel of StL. With the re-building of 64 we have a grand opportunity to finish the restoration, repair and rejuvenation of the sparkle that was once Forest Park…however the process of governing here will prevent progress. Instead the oil/auto addiction will cloud the collective mind and autocentrism will continue to prevail. Unfortunately the negative aspects in this story remain and WashU/BJC typically gets their way… this isn’t over.

     
  5. joe b says:

    You are able to put into words what I am unable to. The process is indeed the problem here as in many other issues. The mainstream media is glossing over many of the complex points to fit into their 10 second bites.

     
  6. Bob Sherron says:

    Steve Patterson for mayor.

     
  7. stlmark says:

    Amen brother!

     
  8. Rich says:

    Steve, I love your blog and will continue to read and be informed by it. But, please try to keep your cool. You can tell us about your anger without resorting to ugly language. Keep up the good work.

     
  9. Adam Shafer says:

    Great argument Steve! What do you suggest we do to replace the defunct leaders of this area? There aren’t many candidates that are any different than what we already have!

     
  10. Jimmy James says:

    Steve, there are plenty of days where I belive this city has no hope and no future. Today is one of those days. The actions by the Aldermen and the Board of Adjustment are both pathetic. BJC is an important City asset. They had plenty of time to come up with a good soultion, including figurig out exactly where the new parks would be placed. (After all we pay all of those planners for something. Whip out the GIS, map the population in the area, find two nice vacant parcels/ parking lots in FPSE and the CWE (not that hard to do in this city) and then come up with options for two new parks. Talk with the public, get the Aldermen involved and tell BJC where they need to go. It is really simple. I have little blame for BJC in this matter (well other than the stupidity of tyring to get something like this done in an aldermatic election year). This falls on the incompetence that is the City of St. Louis. And we wonder why nothing gets doen. Our leaders can’t even figure out how to effectivley and efficently negotiate with the largest employer in the region for a small peice of land. Pathetic.

    Steve, it is time for you to realize that there is only one way this will all change and that is a change in the leadership of the City. Top down change and blogging won’t get it done.

     
  11. Lance says:

    ^Seriously, the whole “bleeping bully” thing sounds like whining rather than looking for viable solutions.

    The fact that BJC employs thousands of people and is a major economic cornerstone of St. Louis doesn’t make them a bully. It makes them powerful. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but it’s a fact.

    Reed should be directing his anger toward Green as well, but he isn’t running against her right now. By the way, has she given her support to him or Jim? That would be interesting.

    This deal needs to get done. It was a great deal for the city, and I think Steve’s comments recognize that to some extent, even if he disagrees with the process.

    But approving a ballot measure that would require pretty much any allocation of City property to go to a referendum seems like a logistical headache and a bit too much micromanaging.

    Much as City government is messed up, we still elect them with the understanding that they will handle things like this.

    *ducking*

    [UrbanReviewSTL — The deal doesn’t need to get done.  Let’s first take a look at our financial picture and what it takes to maintain all of our parks.  What are our options?  Selling (aka long-term lease) these acres to BJC might, in fact, be the best deal out there but we have not done the leg work necessary to know that.  And yes, by threatening to move out just as the Cardinals did is being a bully.  They are threatening to send the city into a financial tailspin so that we will capitulate and do as they say.  Just as I have not ruled out leasing the land to BJC, I have not argued in favor of the ballot measure.  I have, however, argued in favor of having the vote since a large percentage of citizens worked to get it on the ballot — I have great respect for their efforts.

    And no, I didn’t elect any of the aldermen — I ran against mine and it was others that elected the remaining 27.  I did vote in the elections for the three on the E&A but frankly our choices have been limited.]  

     
  12. mike says:

    I mostly agree with you Lance. In my mind, this seems pretty close to a no-brainer, so I don’t feel like we needed to have some big long drawn out plan and strategy for this. The city gets good money for a piece of land that isn’t actually in Forest Park anyway.

    As the city population has declined, do we really think we need to (or can) maintain the same amount of park space. Granted, I also think we need fewer alderman, but that is another story. I’m sure some people used that space, but it is bordered by highway 40, BJC and Forest Park so there can’t possibly be many people who live that close to it.

    Now, I’m not naive about the incompetence of our leaders. I’m sure they would have failed to force BJC to open and maintain a new park. And I’m sure they would have reallocated whatever they currently spend on parks elsewhere so that the parks wouldn’t benefit greatly from this, but the overall city budget would have benefitted.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — You’ve completely missed the point!  This is not about Forest Park or BJC or if this is a “no brainer” or not.  The issue is we should have had a frank community discussion about options to pay for maintenance of Forest Park and all of our other parks.  Our leaders wait around until some big entity wants something and then expects us to be all grateful the funding crisis has been averted.  That is just not good leadership.]

     
  13. keep it moving says:

    I would support you whole heartedly if you run for mayor. Keep “gathering the troops” if you will because when you run for mayor you will have need all the help you can get to make our city great! I would be VERY dissappointed if you don’t run in the next election. But, if you run, I’m certain you will succeed.

    City hall I hope you are paying attention!

     
  14. urban reader says:

    Since some have tried to make the connection, can we talk about the Ellendale Animal House facility for a minute?

    According a Mr. Chuck Miller, apparently the commiteman for the 24th ward (home to Ellendale Park-who knew?), as posted at the Arch City Chronicle blog, Ellendale is getting millions in improvements in connection with the Animal House project. Here’s Mr. Miller’s comment at ACC:

    “Furthermore, this development has nothing to do with the BJC lease proposal. The city will temporarily hand over the Ellendale Park to a private group that will build the facility and make park improvements to the tune of nearly $4 million, all done with private funds. About a year after completion of the facility, it will revert back to the city.”

    Does anyone know why Ellendale Park was chosen for these improvements over all of the city’s other parks?

    How do we know that this project wouldn’t have been better suited in Carondelet Park, or Forest Park, or the part of Forest Park next to BJC, or in Francis Park, or the lake park in Clifton Heights, or Hyde Park, or Wilmore Park or O’Fallon Park…just to name a few?

    If this project is so great, there must have been many other neighborhoods which would have loved to have it close to them. Were they given a chance? Or was this some sort of insider, back room deal?

    What makes Ellendale Park so deserving of all of these improvements?

     
  15. Jim Zavist says:

    Just a clarification, kids – this parcel is “in” Forest Park ’cause that’s how the boundaries were originally (and still are) drawn! Just because multi-lane highways have been built inside the park, doesn’t mean the boundaries have changed (although perceptions may have). The same goes for “Turtle Park” next to Dogtown. It’s also a part of Forst Psrk, even though it’s on the “wrong” side of Highway 40 . . .

     
  16. Steve Patterson,

    This is the best post you have done in a long time. I understand how many feel in this town as I have the option to move to NYC or Chicago. Will I stay for this backass town? Fight or Flight I simply cannot decide. Yet, while our City is still stuck in the 1970’s, wouldn’t I want to live in the 21’st Century?

     
  17. urban reader says:

    Doug,

    If you leave, you’ll be like so many others….the ones who are short timers, come here, learn about the place, love it and leave it.

    How boring. And you think we should listen to you? I love it…first the Cardinals threaten a move, then BJC, now Doug Duckworth.

    Well, Doug, at least you’re in good company!

     
  18. DeBaliviere says:

    “Does anyone know why Ellendale Park was chosen for these improvements over all of the city’s other parks?”

    Does anyone know why the moribund St. Louis Marketplace wasn’t considered as a location for the Animal House project?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Good question?  How is it that all these decisions get made and just questioning the logic and exploring alternatives somehow makes you an obstructionist or worse.  What we are witnessing is a clash between the old guard process of make a decision and tell the public they will like it and a new breed of public saying they want to know more and sooner.  This will only escalate until we completely remove the old guard from all positions of power.]

     
  19. Listen to me? If you are going to listen to me then well this City is doomed. I know nothing really.

     
  20. Mark says:

    Steve

    Do you always have to sugar coat things and how do you really feel?

     
  21. Adam says:

    Douglas Duckworth has it right on. Steve, maybe it’s going back to school that’s made your posts more focused and realistic and less idealistic (not every street in the city can support dense, mixed-use storefronts with apartments and offices above to create vibrant 24 hour environments). On this post in particular, I echo your sentiments, and I think you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head…and really hard.

    As a 24 year old, who graduated from Wash U and lives and works in the City, I’m finding it harder and harder to put up with the City’s (systematic) incompetence and now feel like I have to sacrifice my passions for St. Louis City and my local professional endeavors and move elsewhere so I can live in a city that satisfies my lifestyle needs.

    Many other cities experienced a decline in population like St. Louis City in the last 60 years, but while some curbed their losses by the 80s and others didn’t suffer as badly as here, St. Louis City has lost the most population per capita of any other city in the WORLD since its peak [http://www.demographia.com/db-intlcitylossr.htm]. The decline of the City can be attributable to several factors: multiples interstates with abundant capacity, an economy previously over-reliant on manufacturing, a vast supply of developable land, et cetera…but I think poor leadership (and more accurately, our definitively fragmented systems of government) have stymied earlier and ongoing attempts to curb these losses.

    Anyone who knows me, understands I have the utmost St. Louis City pride, and I wear it on my sleeve (actually, literally on my head or torso, usually). Urban Reader, I don’t know how long you’ve been in St. Louis or whether or not you’re from here, but as, not a native St. Louisian and having been working in whatever capacity I can to improve the fate of St. Louis City, eventually even the most Passionates’ pride, and even hubris, can’t resist the constant negligence of civic attrition.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Thanks, I have my moments.  For the record, I think we all should live within walking distance of a vibrant commercial street where some sort of 24-hour business operates.  Perhaps too idealistic in this political climate?]

     
  22. Perhaps too idealistic in this political climate

    Exactly. We extol the political culture of St. Louis as liberal, yet in reality it is completely traditionalistic yet left leaning. We may be more liberal than rural Missouri, yet we are still very status quo, unwilling to try new things or formulate new ideas. I do not wish to be subjected to obviously failed policy, nor do I wish to wait for the 30 year diffusion lag to hit. Really, the Peirce Report complained that New Urbanism didn’t even hit the St. Louis Region back in 1997. He also blasted our fragmented government and continuing sprawl. What have we done? Very little! Our Zoning predates my parents and we have some of the most government per capita in the United States. Our sprawl is on pace to include Columbia as a suburb.

     
  23. Adam says:

    Government spending in St. Louis City is very high, meanwhile the greater St. Louis Region is one of the least leveraged and lowest spending regions in the country (cite: “Where We Stand” E/W Gateway COG). This edifies your point about fragmentation and highlights how it dictates an extremely inefficient use of funds.

    And what exactly is the role of the City’s Planning and Urban Design Department and what does it do if most commercial and new construcion residential projects in the City are, at best, parodies of proper urban design. Do there exist urban design guidelines in the City, because they’re clearly not enforceable and surely carry no weight…again a relic of a former time’s system of government, still the tired torch, which the River City follows.

     
  24. Allen Boyer says:

    Mr. Patterson,

    You mentioned Ald. Florida and the McDonalds on Grand fiasco. It’s not getting built, and I noticed a few days ago that the McDs it would have replaced is also now closed. Truthfully, it wasn’t well maintained, and was filthy inside; I don’t think it’ll be missed.

    One thing about that particlar McDs (Grand and Chippewa) that I thought was crass was this:

    It had a very high corner sign post with the McDonalds logo pointed angularly toward both Grand and Chippewa.

    Now, one usually finds these fast food places with very tall sign posts in rural areas, so that interstate travellers can see the “McDonalds” or “Burger King” or gas station or motel or restaurant logo from the highway before the exit.

    Truthfully, with blue service signs along the highways, I don’t think those ultra high poles are necessary anymore, even in rural areas. But that is historically why, for example, the Burger King pole at the BK in Sikeston, MO, is 150 feet high.

    But I can see no reason for the former McDs at Grand/Chippewa to have a pole that high. No other McDs in STL City has anything close to a high pole. The one on I-44/Jefferson, where you think the highway exit would make a high pole rational (though not justified, IMHO), is not there. No high pole at the McDs at Hampton/Chippewa, So. Kinghsighway at the License Office, none at the one that used to exist at Soulard, no high pole at Gravois/Germania-Hampton.

    I have always wondered about that anomyaly.

     
  25. GMichaud says:

    The Ellendale Park with animal house project, points to exactly why people are requesting a vote on the use of their parks. I’m not sure whether BJC should build on park land or not, but it should be debated in public, not shoved through the back door. If BJC is right they should be able to convince the majority of the public to support them.
    Debate could cross over the design of the new building they want to propose. It is possible to create open space on the first floor, making a new public space.
    Good architectural design and urban planning could serve BJC and the public well. Another monolithic, faceless building will do nothing to contribute to the fabric of the city.
    This could occur by using pilotis as Le Corbusier used on a number of his buildings. (Concrete columns in his case) Several floors could be handled this way, thus even increasing the amount of public space over what is available now. BJC would be the hero instead of the goat.
    I have to agree with Steve, the planning in and around the BJC complex is dreadful, but with debate perhaps a solution could be found that improves the urban environment around BJC and maintains public space in some form.
    I do also agree with Steve that the lack of an overall discussion of city parks and their funding needs is lacking. A knee jerk reaction to the chance to gain some funding is not a good way to do business.
    I understand everyone’s frustration with the operation of government. I’m frustrated also, but perhaps instead of leaving St. Louis it is time to change St. Louis. New leadership is badly needed in this town, and in the state.
    The citizens are not partners in government. The government serves the wealthy and influential classes at the expense of public interests. This has been said over and over, but until new people are elected, until the Pete Rahn’s of MoDot are replaced, we can expect more of the same.

     
  26. yes, the park is not for sale says:

    I always giggled when I saw the “Our park is not for sale” signs. They’re factually correct, as it’s for lease, not sale. It’s already been leased. The accelerator clauses in the lease and the numbers looked like they could help keep the park financially secure.

    Our park may not be for lease or sale but it’s also financially insolvent.

    I’ve decided to most likely move to Chicago in a year or two. The public transit is actually usable and the taco stands are open 24 hours.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — The “lease” is a technicality, the land is being sold.  Once built out it will not return to open park land (even if over a parking garage).  This is, for all practical purposes and to split hairs over lease vs. sale is missing the point.  

    But to say our park is “financially insolvent” isn’t really correct.  The maintenance comes from the general revenue so allocating more funds would ease the situation for parks but create a different situation for some other area.  One of the thing that bothers me is how this is supposed to free up $1.6 million of revenues now spent by the city on Forest Park so that it can be used for other parks.  But what assurances do we have that this money will indeed go to the other parks and will it be done equitably based on size or perhaps on priority of need?  Or will it come down to which aldermen have more clout so the parks in their wards get some of this pie but others do not?  

    I’m totally with you on transit and 24 hour taco stands or pizza by the slice places.  I’m heading to San Diego for Spring break next month and I am so looking foward to a tofu taco at a late night stand.]

     
  27. Mike G. says:

    As a Republican ( yes, a Republican in the Lou), I am completely disappointed in the circus act being staged for the people of STL. NOBODY won- the city, the people, nor did BJC! Sure, BJC has enormous power and may use it to bully people around once in awhile, but wouldn’t you? Steve, you use this blog as a bully pulpit sometimes and I commend you for it. I agree with much of what you say and I also agree that BJC should be taken seriously, which means we need people in office that are as sharp and articulate as the ones hired by the hospital. Let’s level the playing field! As a socially responsible capitalist, I believe we need a good mix of business savvy visionaries that can help bring this city into the 21st century. It is time to consolidate the Aldermen and build a more focused city government.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Yes, I use this site as a bully pulpit to advocate better planning and open government, not to push around an entire group of tax payers so I can get something of personal gain for myself.  BJC is using their power and influence to extract valuable land from current and future citizens of this city.  

    I’m not sure I agree with your choice of words because I don’t always equate “business savvy” with “visionaries.”  Unless, of course, we are discussing Steve Jobs of Apple, Inc.  I do agree with need to work on our structure of goverment, both from a charter perspective and just from an expectation perspective.  As long as citizens call their alderman to fix the pothole rather than the Citizens Service Bureau nothing will change.  I see little value in changing from 14 aldermen doing constituent service duty as opposed to 28].   

     
  28. Mike G. says:

    You may be correct in saying that BJC is using their power to extract valuable land. I believe we need officials that are “business savvy” enough to counter them in a productive way, and I don’t see anyone who is really capable of this. As a developer in the city, I am finding that their is a real lack of vision to how our officials “rule the roost”. I feel like they are much more reactive than proactive, and I think it would be a pleasant change to see city officials who can create opportunities, if not, attempt to.

    P.S. I do know a few good folks who are visionaries and have a bit of business savvy.

     
  29. LisaS says:

    Mike, I agree with you in many ways …. but I would also say that there is a definitely difference between “business savvy” and our current government’s pandering to business, which I think many people miss. There are many functions of goverment that the current business model of maximum return in minimum time directly conflicts with.

    Whatever each of us thinks about the BJC deal–my opinions on the topic are well known here–I think we can all agree that the process used to forward the deal epitomizes the reactive nature of City government and the willingness of our leaders to placate business at the expense of public involvement and serious discussion of the problems confronting us and the possible solutions. I think we can all agree that it also served to reinforce the perception of back-room dealings at City Hall, which damages the City’s image throughout the region.

     
  30. mike says:

    Steve,

    The fact is we only have about 300,000 people living in the city but we have to maintain a land area that could support 3 times that or more. Should city leaders have thought about park maintenance before? Sure. But with the current state of affairs in the city, we really can’t say that we know for sure how we are going to maintain any infrastructure improvements. I’m guessing there isn’t one item in the city budget that is secure for the future.

    So, I don’t necessarily disagree with you. But I do think this was the wrong deal to make a big stink over since it was probably a relatively good deal. One City Center is a much better example of jumping in not knowing how we are going to be able to pay for it.

    UrbanReviewSTL — Actually, it is 350K by most recent counts.  We’ve never gotten down to 300K, yet.  Also, our population peaked in the 50s and roughly 850K.  Given how much land we’ve lost to highways and other uses we could never get to that point again without razing considerable real estate and buidling back much denser.  I don’t think St. Louis Hills is ready for 6-story buildings overlooking Francis Park.

    Your comment about not knowing “how we are going to maintain any infrastructure improvements” is exactly my point.  We cannot get ourselves out of this one lease at a time.  We absolutely must look at the big picture and prioritize our funds and collectively seek additional funds.  To me, backroom deals like the BJC thing are the types of actions that push young folks to more dynamic regions.  With reduced population we are less attractive to potential employers which then makes things worse.  We’ve been making these same mistakes for decades now yet we’ve not learned to stop doing it.  Meanwhile, other regions are getting our people and jobs.]

     
  31. newsteve says:

    “Thanks, I have my moments. For the record, I think we all should live within walking distance of a vibrant commercial street where some sort of 24-hour business operates. Perhaps too idealistic in this political climate?”

    While this may have something to do with politics – it also has to do with the fact that not everyone believes as you, myself, and many other readers do about what a liveable urban city should be.” Blogs like yours help in some respect, but I would venture a guess that it does not reach the kind of audience that needs to be convinced that these issues are important. You had 30 comments thus far to this post. All mostly agree with you. However, no one has offered any alternatives or solutions. Rather its the same old same old – this city sucks, our governing body sucks, I need to live elsewhere to get the kind of urban environment i want and deserve. Seems to me that the fact that the BJC deal did not pass is a good thing. It now gives those of you out there who support or don’t support it more time get the word out. Rrather than simply pointing out the negatives – give us alternatives – encourage people to let their ideas be known. Life mostly requires some kind of compromise. You can’t compromise unless you have something to offer by way of viable alternatives. So, on this issues, my question to you and your readers is what are the alternatives, what comproimises can we make and not make with BJC, an arguably important part of our urban fabric.

     
  32. Jim Zavist says:

    see previous posts for alternatives . . .

     
  33. Robert Barnes says:

    I strongly believe that one of the reasons there is little planning is there are too many aldermen. Someone mentioned that the aldermen are no more that pot hole fillers. I agree. We need to get to about 7-10 aldermen and give them an assistance to handle the pot holes. Therefore, the can concentrate on the bigger issues.

    Where is charter reform when you need it.

     
  34. Seal says:

    I agree with Mike G, nobody won. Nobody I know uses that part of Forest Park. We were made to believe it’s the heart of the park, but the truth is that it’s the appendix: lacking purpose. Where is this kind of civic energy for things that matter? The razing of McRee Town, the upcoming Bohemian Hill or Blairmont northside destruction, the pitiful infrastructure revealed during the icestorms? Now that we saved the tennis courts for the BJC doctors that use them, I hope we can all get a good night’s sleep.

     
  35. Jim Zavist says:

    Seal (and others) – Few people individually use very many of the city’s parks. We use the ones closest to us (nighborhood parks) and we, in larger numbers, use larger, regional parks, like Forest Park. This part of Forest Park acts like a neighborhood park. Its neighbors are the hospital staff and visitors to the north and the residents to the south, across Highway 40. We simply can’t dismiss the importance of this parcel, otherwise we’ll have to think about putting every neighborhood park “on the block” – we should be able to get top top dollar for Benton Park or Lafayette Park. Even Hyde Park, Sublette Park or Lindenwood Park should be attractive to developers. To say “few people” use any of them is disingenuous – the people who use any park on a regular basis value it. Just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value!

     

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