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GOOD Ideas for Cities March 8th

Mark your calendars for March 8th — seven local teams will present their response to the challenge they were assigned.  Facebook users can RSVP here, everyone else show up — nobody will be turned away. The event is free.

From the announcement:

For our second event of 2012, GOOD Ideas for Cities is headed to St. Louis.

GOOD Ideas for Cities taps creative problem-solvers to tackle real urban challenges and present their solutions at live events across the country. Thanks to our partnership with CEOs for Cities and a generous grant from ArtPlace, we’re taking the program to five mid-sized cities in 2012. If you’re in St. Louis, here’s how you can be a part of it:

Last year, we issued a call for creatives in St. Louis, and chose seven teams to represent the city. Each team was issued a challenge proposed by local urban leaders. At the event, the creative teams will present their solutions to their assigned challenge, and the urban leaders will join them onstage for a brief Q&A. Afterwards, join us for drinks and more conversation as we discuss how to make these ideas a reality for St. Louis.

Thursday, March 8
Doors at 6:00 p.m.
Program begins at 7:00 p.m.

Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis
3750 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108

The event is free; RSVP via Facebook
Cash bar; Pi Truck selling pizzas outside

Hosted by HOK and Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis

Supported by ArtPlace

Special thanks to our partners: AIGA St. Louis, ALIVE Magazine, Amber Murphy, nextSTL, Nine Network, St. Louis Regional Arts Commission,UrbanReviewSTL

The Challenges 


We have a world-class light rail system in St. Louis. However, we have not seen a major effort to leverage the system as a catalyst for building more livable communities in the St. Louis region How might we increase ridership on St. Louis’ light rail to help demonstrate to the city the important opportunities around transit?

Kim Cella, Citizens for Modern Transit and Rhonda K. Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

STL Alley Lovers: Christopher Galli, Andy Heaslet, Derek Hoeferlin, Monika Jankowiak, Jenny Murphy, Jonathan Stitelman


Historically, St. Louis neighborhoods have been racially and economically segregated. The effects of these historic policies, and some current policies, allow the City of St. Louis to remain segregated in these ways: Throughout the city there are streets and public spaces that serve as dividing lines. How can we design the borders between our communities to act as bridges between our neighborhoods?

Vince Schoemehl, Grand Center and Jennifer Allen, Trailnet

Arch City Revival: Katy Mike Smaistrla, Emily Hemeyer, Joyce Gorrell, Amy Lampe, Sarah Paulsen, David Burnett


Have an animated conversation with a young transplant or multi-generational loyalist and you will understand the passion people here have for St. Louis. But, too often, the message falls back on empty boosterism. Whatever the cause, we must understand it, admit it and fix it. How do we deepen the pool of diverse people who love St. Louis and are personally invested in its progress?

Jeff Rainford, Office of the Mayor Francis Slay and Hank Webber,Washington University

Brain Drain: Matt Strom, Tara Pham, Logan Alexander, Noah MacMillan, Zoë Scharf, Amanda Yates, Andrew Warshauer, Kuan Butts, Danielle Wallis, Christine Stavridis, Bennett Gale


Located in the heartland, St. Louis has unique resources that could allow it to become a leader in urban agriculture. Yet most of the food consumed in the region is produced hundreds or thousands of miles away, and many urban areas of St. Louis have limited access to fresh food. How can St. Louis use our resources and stakeholders to increase accessibility of healthy, locally grown food?

Craig Heller, Food Works; Frank Finnegan, St. Louis Area Foodbank; Mike Sorth, Gateway Greening; Eric Schneider, RCGA

STL Provocateur: Rhonda Smythe, Jeanette Reynolds, Stephanie Co, Will Fischer, Anne McCullough


One of the most critical challenges facing St. Louis is the low graduation rate for St. Louis City schools. Currently, only 20 to 30% of St. Louis City students graduate from high school. We know that low graduation rates cost taxpayers more, and as a result there is a rise in crime, homelessness, and substance abuse rates in the city. How do we motivate and empower more local high school students to graduate?

Rachelle Morgan, Shearwater; Jay Swoboda, The Homeless Empowerment Project; Sarah McCabe, The Point

ACTivate the City: Stan Chisholm, Dayna Kriz, Gina Martinez, Kevin McCoy, Mallory Nezam, Carlie Trosclair, Daniel Waxler


Government fragmentation, or the lack of regionalism, is a hindrance to building a prosperous St. Louis region. The lack of regional cooperation impedes progress of both public services and social services. How do we break down the real and perceived barriers that continually inhibit regional institutions, local governments and both states in the metropolitan St. Louis region from working together?

Maggie Hales, East-West Gateway Council of Governments and Tom Etling, St. Patrick Center

Live the Lou: Stacey Whe, Juard van Dijkhorst, Amanda Clark, Court Sloger, Mike Glodek, Laura Schmaltz, Nate Paul


St. Louis is a region with a deep heritage in great community parks. Yet since the economic crisis, funding is scarce and the capacity of the park departments has been greatly reduced, meaning our regional, state and national parks are in serious decline. How can we ensure that the city is able to protect, preserve and maintain our prized parks for generations to come?

Susan Trautman, Great Rivers Greenway and Kevin Hales,Partnership for Downtown St. Louis

HOK FIT: Chip Crawford, Mary Ostafi, Sarah Weissman, Charlie Lutz, Valerie Greer, Tyler Meyer, Michael Browning, Leesa Coller, Jonathan Murphy, Jason Pierce, Dhaval Barbhaya

Stay tuned for details about future GOOD Ideas for Cities events. If you’d like to talk about bringing the program to your city or school, email alissa[at]goodinc[dot]com or follow us at @IdeasforCities


Biondi Threatened To Move Saint Louis University Medical To St. Louis County

The presentations were completed and the Planning Commission had asked questions of Saint Louis University representatives about their appeal. Don Roe, Director of the St. Louis Urban Design & Planning Agency was discussing procedures with the members of the Planning Commission and Saint Louis University President Biondi got up and spoke for an additional two minutes — saying if the demolition of the Pevely office building isn’t granted he’ll move the medical center to St. Louis County.

ABOVE: The former Pevely Dairy at Grand & Chouteau

Biondi shouldn’t have been allowed to speak at that point — anyone else in the room would have been silenced immediately. But what he said was a very clear threat –don’t overturn the Preservation Board’s decision and we’ll abandon the city like every other catholic hospital in town has done before us!

Sorry for the poor audio:


“What I forsee, if you don’t approve our request, is that we would have to shut down our medical school and find property in west county,” noting that 35 years ago, Maryville offered up land for the university to move west. Earlier, Biondi cited the school’s record of renovating and restoring historic buildings and also highlighted the law school’s impending move to downtown. (KMOX)

The Planning Commission voted to reverse the the Preservation Board and allow demolition of the corner office building with the condition a permit has been issued for construction of the new project.  They reversed the Preservation Board and allowed demolition of the historic smokestack without any conditions. They modified the Preservation Board decision on the milk plant and garage to allow demolition to proceed at once on those.

– Steve Patterson


Planning Commission To Hear Appeal On Denial Of Permit To Raze Historic Pevely Dairy (Update w/Agenda)

I have a note on my calendar that the St. Louis Planning Commission will hear an appeal of the Preservation Board’s decision in December 2011 to uphold the staff denial of Saint Louis University’s demolition requet for the historic Pevely Dairy at Grand & Chouteau tomorrow. Yesterday I tried to confirm this but was unable to do so online.

ABOVE: Screen shot of Planning Commission "meeting materials" page taken 2/20/2012, click to view live

All I got was two links to an agenda from March 2011 — neither of which worked. Frustrating! The main page gave me some general information on the Planning Commission:

The thirteen-member Planning Commission adopts and amends the comprehensive Strategic Land Use Plan and General Land Use Plan for the City of St. Louis.

The Commission adopts zoning ordinances and makes decisions on some variance and all rezoning petitions, thereby guiding the development and redevelopment of the City. It also renews blighting studies and redevelopment plans and provides recommendations to the Board of Aldermen.

The Planning Commission consists of thirteen members. The following city officials are members: The President of the Board of Public Service and the Chairs of the Transportation and Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committees of the Board of Aldermen. The Mayor, Comptroller and President of the Board of Aldermen each designate one member. The Mayor appoints the seven remaining members (“citizen members”).

The directors of the Departments of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Public Safety, Public Utilities and Streets serve as advisors to the Commission.

I emailed a couple of people and confirmed the Planning Commission will indeed hear an appeal to raze the Pevely Dairy at their meeting tomorrow:

The Planning Commission meets the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 P.M. Meetings are held at the Planning & Urban Design Agency office located at 1015 Locust Street, Suite 1200 and are open to the public unless otherwise posted.

Hopefully the room will be packed with people supportive of the Preservation Board’s decision.

ABOVE: The historic Pevely Dairy maintains the building line at both Grand & Chouteau

I’ll be at the meeting, will you? Update: view the agenda here.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: Will Komen St. Louis Suffer From Recent National Controversy?

At the start of the month the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation implemented a new funding policy that would cease funding $680,000/yr in breast cancer services at Planned Parenthood, setting off a huge backlash against Komen. On February 3rd the new policy was reversed:

After Komen’s decision to end the grants became public, Planned Parenthood raised about $3 million in pledges from more than 10,000 donors, Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s president, said in a call with reporters. Komen announced its reversal in a statement today with an apology “to the American public” from Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brinker. (Bloomberg)

On Facebook, many of my friends said they were done with Komen which got me wondering about the annual fundraiser in St. Louis.

ABOVE: The fountain at Kiener Plaza is pink in preparation for the big event last year
ABOVE: Thousands come out to support the participants
ABOVE: Thousands of women, men and children in last year's St. Louis Race for the Cure.

Will the 2012 event have fewer participants than the 64,461 last year?

The 14th annual Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure® will take place in downtown St. Louis on Saturday, June 23, 2012.

Sharon Korn and Stacy Kingston will serve as volunteer co-chairs of the 2012 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure.

“I look forward to seeing a huge crowd gathered in downtown St. Louis on the morning of June 23,” said Korn. “It’s such an exciting day and a meaningful event that directly benefits those in need in our community. I am so honored to be a part of it.”

In June 2011, the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure welcomed 64,461 participants. The event raised more than $3.1 million in the fight to end breast cancer forever.

Up to 75 percent of the net money raised by the Komen St. Louis Affiliate stays in the St. Louis area to fund screening, treatment, education and research programs. A minimum of 25 percent of money raised goes to the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Research and Awards Program® specifically to fund research. (Komen St. Louis)

This is the setup for the poll question this week — see right sidebar.

– Steve Patterson


Stop By The Court of Honor Saturday During Iraq War Parade

Come downtown tomorrow morning for a parade to honor Iraq War veterans:

ABOVE: A family walks through St. Louis' Court of Honor, June 2010

The parade will step off at noon Saturday from Kiener Plaza and travel west on Market Street to Union Station. Inside Union Station, organizers plan to offer a “resource village” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. where veterans can connect with service providers such as the Red Cross or Department of Veterans Affairs. Entertainment is planned from 3 to 8:30 p.m. (STLtoday.com)

While you are downtown along Market Street be sure to visit the Court of Honor (between 13th & 14th streets).   The Court of Honor was the subject of my posts on Monday & Tuesday. Officials at the Soldiers’ Memorial say the space sees few visitors. The design of the space is remarkable from all sides, it opened Memorial Day 1948.

-Steve Patterson