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Follow Up: ADA Access at St. Louis Hills Medical Center

June 21, 2013 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, South City No Comments

Last month I posted how the St. Louis Hills Medical Center violates the ADA. In short, the building’s original design predated the ADA by a few decades and the 2008 renovations didn’t fix the problem. Here are a few photos from that post:

The original 1950s entrance wasn't accessible to all.
The original 1950s entrance wasn’t accessible to all.
A route was provided for pedestrians to enter the building, but it contains a flight of stairs. No ramp was provided as required by the ADA.
The route to a new entrance contains a flight of stairs, also not accessible to all.

Since that post I met with a representative of the building owner as well as Eddie Roth, Director of Operations in the mayor’s office.

A drawing on the building website shows what should’ve been built, the private sidewalk from the space next door was supposed to be continue in front of the original entry, eliminating the steps.
Here's the original entry again with the new sidewalk  next door circled in red
Here’s the original entry again with the new sidewalk next door circled in red, the walk to the original entry is also newish concrete.
Here's the view next door looking toward the old entrance.
Here’s the view next door looking toward the old entrance.

During the construction work a few years ago someone made a decision to not follow the architect’s design, resulting in lack of ADA-compliance.

The owner’s representative indicated the building remains vacant, and they aren’t interested in making changes. If only they’d followed the architect’s plans there would be no problems gaining access into the building from the public sidewalk.

— Steve Patterson

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February 27, 1999 - 16 years-ago today, the Arena on Oakland Avenue was imploded. Thousands of people gathered hours before 5:45 p.m., to watch the former home of the St. Louis Blues reduced to rubble. The stock market crash of 1929 ruined the dreams of Col. Ben Brinkman, founding father of The Arena. Brinkman built The Arena at 5700 Oakland Avenue, for $1.5 million as a livestock exhibition hall next door to his other big-name property, the Highlands amusement park. The Arena opened in October 1929, just before the stock-market crash that helped bring on the Great Depression. There were few bookings at the facility, & within two years, The Arena had to sell off chairs to satisfy a debt of $1,681. It's first event was The St. Louis National Horse Show. Starting after the Civil War, it was held in Fairground's Park until moving to this new venue, where it would remain an annual event until 1953. Most of us only knew him as an elderly man, but in his youth, Gussie Busch was a frequent competitor, jumping his champion Olympic mare, Miss Budweiser, over the traces. The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra played each evening before the competition events, featuring a skinny, unknown singer named Frank Sinatra. The national cattle livestock show was next for the brand-new Arena in 1929, & this too, would be an annual event. Over the course of 70 years, the Arena would host a wide range of events, & many recall seeing the circus, Lone Ranger & Tonto, Cisco Kid, or the Three Stooges there. It would be impossible for me to list all that appeared there, but for most of my generation, it was where you saw Blues hockey, Steamers soccer, & rock concerts. It's believed over 500 concerts were held there, with over half of them sponsored by local radio station, KSHE. In an effort to keep the Blues from moving to Saskatoon, Mayor Vince Schoemehl had the City buy the Arena in 1986 & after the team moved to their new home downtown in 1994, the City found themselves paying a $50,000 a month mortgage on an empty building. Mayor Clarence Harmon and the Board of Aldermen decided to demolish it, & paid Spirtas Wrecking Co. $694,000 to do the deed. It took less than 15 seconds for the 133 lbs. of dynamite to turn the once-great exhibition hall into a pile of scrap. But like the recently demolished Admiral, they can tear it down, but they can't destroy our memories.

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