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Readers Apathetic About Bridgeton Landfill Issues

The poll last week was a bust, only 34 people voted, about a third of the usual number of responses. I attribute this to a combination of the poll itself (poorly phrased?) and apathy about an issue miles from the municipal limits of the City of St. Louis.

Here are the results:

Q: Thoughts on government (EPA/MO-DNR) regulation/oversight at the Bridgeton & Westlake landfills?

  1. Government should’ve done substantially more 18 [52.94%]
  2. Government should’ve done a little more 7 [20.59%]
  3. Government reaction has been just right 7 [20.59%]
  4. Government should’ve done a little less 1 [2.94%]
  5. Government should’ve done substantially less 1 [2.94%]
  6. Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

For what it’s worth, more than half thought government should’ve done substantially more. I agree, but I also think we can all do substantially more to reduce what we send to landfills.

My boyfriend and I recycle everything we can, but also to reduce the items sent to landfills & recycling:

  • Buy some items in larger sizes to reduce packaging waste from multiple smaller packages
  • Make cleaning products with Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, such as liquid laundry detergent & dishwasher powder. Saves lots of packaging, as well as money.
  • For 3 months now we’ve been vermicomposting in a Rubbermaid container in our loft. Yes, red wiggler worms eat our kitchen scraps!
Ingredients used in dishwasher powder. Borax & Washing Soda also used in laundry detergent.
Ingredients used in dishwasher powder. Borax & Washing Soda also used in laundry detergent.
Our vermicompost bin 3 months ago lined with coconut fiber just before we added the bag of 500 worms
Our vermicompost bin 3 months ago lined with coconut fiber just before we added the bag of 500 worms
Reusable bags are often free or low cost
Reusable bags are often free or low cost

Here are some other green things we do:

  • Use connected LED bulbs in our 3 most used lights
  • Use the Nest thermostat to control our HVAC system
  • Line dry our clothing indoors
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Try to buy more fresh fruits & veggies rather than packaged processed “food”
  • Make our own yogurt, hummus, and other items.

The two landfills with issues mentioned in my original post have been closed for years now, but everyone should be concerned about the mountains of trash we create.

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Thoughts on Government (EPA/MO-DNR) Regulation/Oversight at the Bridgeton & Westlake Landfills

Two landfills in St. Louis County ceased accepting trash after 12/31/2004.

Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, from here forward referred to as Bridgeton, is currently owned by Bridgeton Landfill LLC, and is a subsidiary of Republic Services Inc., from here forward referred to as Republic. The landfill waste mass encompasses approximately 52 acres with approximately 240 feet below the ground’s surface and a total waste thickness of 320 feet. The waste is located in two distinct areas known as the North and South Quarries. Bridgeton was initially permitted on Nov. 18, 1985 and ceased accepting waste on Dec. 31, 2004. (DNR)

Bridgeton Landfill, August 2013. Source: Missouri Department of Natural Resources, click to view
Bridgeton Landfill, August 2013. Source: Missouri Department of Natural Resources, click to view

The West Lake Landfill site is on a parcel of approximately 200 acres in Bridgeton, Missouri. The site consists of the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, which stopped receiving waste on Dec. 31, 2004, and several old inactive areas with municipal solid waste and demolition debris. The site is divided into two Operable Units, or OUs. OU-1 consists of radiological areas and OU-2 consists of the other landfill areas, which did not receive any radiologically contaminated soil. In 1990, West Lake Landfill was listed on the National Priorities List making it a Superfund site. In May 2008 a Record of Decision was signed for OU-1, which describes the Selected Remedy to contain the radiological contamination using a modified solid waste landfill cover. EPA is the lead agency for this site. (DNR)

Both now have issues, including a smoldering underground fire at one that some fear will reach radioactive material buried in the other. How did this happen? Could government (federal, state, or local) have done more? Were the companies over regulated? Maybe you think the government response was just right? The poll in the right sidebar is where you vote, the answers are presented in random order.

— Steve Patterson

 

The Architectural Legacy of Henry Shaw

August 3, 2013 Environment, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on The Architectural Legacy of Henry Shaw

Many people have had a positive impact on St. Louis, but few can compare to that of Henry Shaw (July 24, 1800-August 25, 1889). Shaw was born in England but arrived in St. Louis via New Orleans on May 3, 1819. St. Louis had been founded 50+ years before his arrival but the population by 1810 was only 1,600.

Shaw’s marker on the St. Louis Walk of Fame sums up his contribution:

Henry Shaw, only 18 when he came to St. Louis, was one of the city’s largest landowners by age 40. Working with leading botanists, he planned, funded and built the Missouri Botanical Garden, which opened in 1859. Shaw donated the land for Tower Grove Park and helped with its construction. He wrote botanical tracts, endowed Washington University’s School of Botany, helped found the Missouri Historical Society, and gave the city a school and land for a hospital. Of Shaw’s gifts, the Botanical Garden is best-known. Said as early as 1868 to have “no equal in the United States, and, indeed, few anywhere in the world,” it epitomizes the legacy of Henry Shaw. 

In addition to the Missouri Botanical Gardens institution, Tower Grove Park, and numerous trees, Shaw left a great architectural legacy of buildings he commissioned, here are a few:

"Built in 1882, the Linnean House is the oldest continuously operated public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River. It is the only remaining greenhouse at the Garden that was built during Henry Shaw’s day. The Linnean House was originally designed to be an orangery, a house to overwinter citrus trees, palms and tree ferns.", click for source
“Built in 1882, the Linnean House is the oldest continuously operated public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River. It is the only remaining greenhouse at the Garden that was built during Henry Shaw’s day. The Linnean House was originally designed to be an orangery, a house to overwinter citrus trees, palms and tree ferns.”, click image for source
The east side of Henry Shaw's country home, part of the Missouri Botanical Gardens
The east side of Henry Shaw’s country home,Tower Grove House, designed by George I. Barnett, click image for history.
Shaw's will stipulated his city home at 7th & Locust would be dismantled and rebuilt at the gardens.
Shaw’s will stipulated his city townhouse, also by George I. Barnett, located at 7th & Locust, would be dismantled and rebuilt at the gardens.

Here’s more detail on the city townhouse:

This tall three-story townhouse was originally built for Henry Shaw in 1850 at the southwest corner of Seventh and Locust Streets. Shaw, who had made his fortune in mercantile pursuits and real estate, had retired by that time and had completed his new country home at Tower Grove the previous year. For his city home, Shaw chose a design by architect George 1. Barnett that was inspired by a Florentine palace. After Shaw´s death in 1889, and according to a provision of his will, the house was razed and relocated on the grounds of his Missouri Botanical Garden, where it now houses offices and related activities of the Garden. The house´s downtown site became the location of the Mercantile Club, later Compton Building, in 1893. (source)

Today the site has been a surface parking lot for decades, the Mercantile Club was razed before 1958.

The Museum Building: Commissioned by Henry Shaw in 1858, this neoclassical building was designed by George I. Barnett and modeled after a building at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England. Originally, this building served as a small natural history museum, and housed the library
The Museum Building: Commissioned by Henry Shaw in 1858, this neoclassical building was designed by George I. Barnett and modeled after a building at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England. Originally, this building served as a small natural history museum, and housed the library and herbarium now found in the Lehmann Building.”
From the interior of the Museum Building, June 10, 2011. Click image for MoBot’s plans for the historic structure.
Another Barnett design commissioned by Shaw via his will, is the Cleveland Ave guard house.
Another Barnett design commissioned by Shaw, via his will, is the 1895 Cleveland Ave gatehouse.

All of these buildings were designed by George I. Barnett, a fellow Englishman 15 years younger than Shaw.

Barnett designed hundreds of buildings in St. Louis, many in Greek Revival, Italianate, and Gothic design. Barnett did not deviate from classical designs, and his portfolio was largely responsible for establishing Classicism as St. Louis’ dominate architectural influence. His works included houses, churches, commercial, and civic structures. Among his best known structures are renovations to the Old Courthouse, the Missouri Governor’s mansion, the structures of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove Park, and the Southern Hotel.

Obviously Shaw liked Barnett’s work, most likely Barnett liked having a steady stream of commissions from a prominent & wealthy member of the community.

— Steve Patterson

 

Wildlife In Citygarden

Not sure why I’m surprised to see wildlife in the city, but I always am. Citygarden has the large white rabbit sculptures but the other night we saw a little bunny.

Walking through Citygarden the other night my boyfriend spotted a little bunny
Walking through Citygarden the other night my boyfriend spotted a little bunny
Close up of bunny
Cropped image of bunny

What wildlife have you seen in your city yard or city park that surprised you?

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Mixed on How to Reduce Auto Congestion in Forest Park

A few of you have expressed that you feel the weekly poll results here are predictable. Maybe you’re more perceptive than me because I couldn’t have predicted the outcome of the poll last week.

The green Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station
The green Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station

Here are the final results:

Q: How should we address auto congestion in Forest Park? (Pick up to 3)

  1. Run the existing Forest Park Trolley more frequently 44 [21.57%]
  2. Build a trolley/streetcar circulator system within the park 35 [17.16%]
  3. Change nothing, fine as is 32 [15.69%]
  4. Whatever you do don’t allow overhead wires within the park 23 [11.27%]
  5. Ban cars in the park at peak times only 17 [8.33%]
  6. Charge a toll per car to drive into the park anytime 15 [7.35%]
  7. Charge a toll per car to drive into the park at peak times only 11 [5.39%]
  8. Ban cars in the park at all times 10 [4.9%]
  9. Build an elevated monorail circulator in the park 9 [4.41%]
  10. Build an electric bus circulator system within the park 7 [3.43%]
  11. Unsure 1 [0.49%]

I’m not sure how I’d feel about tracks and/or overhead wires in Forest Park, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like a monorail. I included that option as a joke, but 9 voted for it.

Thankfully banning cars all the time got less than 5% of the vote. Comments on the original post showed a variety of viewpoints. I think it is fair to say no consensus was reached, the top three answers above are pretty dissimilar.

The Zoo and the Art Museum are the two biggest generators of autos, besides special events like the Ballon Glow.  The Zoo will be moving most parking across I-64 and using a gondola to get people into an expanded zoo. The Art Museum opens a new wing this coming weekend with a below-grade parking garage:

The design organically links the East Building to the Cass Gilbert. A new grand staircase provides a seamless transition to the lower-level galleries, where a concourse leads to a new café, a gift shop, auditorium and the new 300-space parking garage. (West End Word)

Both of these efforts will help. I think we need a year or two of both changes and evaluate then. In the meantime I’d like to see the Forest Park Trolley become more BRT (bus rapid transit) like with actual stations, longer hours, notification of the next trolley bus, etc. Hybrid buses would be nice to reduce pollution.

— Steve Patterson

 

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