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15th Annual Look at St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive

January 21, 2019 Featured, MLK Jr. Drive, North City Comments Off on 15th Annual Look at St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive

This is my 15th annual look at St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, but my first as a resident living North of the street named for the civil rights leader.

After decades at Tucker & MLK, the Post-Dispatch will soon be moving to smaller offices nearby.
Dr. Martin Luther King Drive ends a block East of Tucker, at Hadley. Hopefully the new owners of the building will do something to improve the pedestrian experience along the West side of Hadley.
Last year this building at 14th was being prepped to reopen, which it did.
Been watching the back of this building fall away for many years now.
A message on the board covering the door of another vacant building, just to the West of the previous.
Next doors is a charming old service station. This is located on the corner where 3 streets come together: MLK, Webster, and James Cool Papa Bell. Bell was a baseball player in the negro leagues, click image to learn more about him.
Close up of the boards covering the door & windows.
The coffeehouse at MLK & Page, in the Housing Authority building, moved a year or so ago. The retail space remains vacant.
This suburban-style business incubator contains a number of businesses, but also a storefront church and the alderman’s office.
Bricks are starting to fall from this building. It should be stabilized, but it’ll likely be allowed to crumble until neighbors demand it be razed.
Across MLK this building is having some issues at the top center. It’ll likely be worse next year.
Would be nice to see a project that includes the rehab of the former John Marshall School. Click image to view the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
Another building in need of stabilization.
After a fire a few years ago I thought this building near Euclid would be gone soon — but it’s still here.
Saw some newer houses so I turned onto Clara Ave., one looks like it has been boarded for a while now. the others all look well maintained.
One of my favorite buildings in the entire city is still hanging on.
Despite lacking a roof…
The hole in the side of this building keeps getting larger every year. I’m thinking now the buildings from here to Hamilton have been razed. Welcome to the once-bustling Welston Loop area.
On the West side of Hamilton the first building is having major issues.
Here’s a close up.
Other buildings on the same block are in better condition. Across MLK is the old JC Penny.
On the South side of MLK another storefront was recently razed.
And finally we have the deteriorating Welston Loop streetcar building.

It’s hard not to get depressed by the lack of investment in this corridor.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Leaders Prioritize St. Louis’ Central Corridor?

January 20, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Leaders Prioritize St. Louis’ Central Corridor?
Please vote below

The City of St. Louis stretches a long distance from the Northern-most tip to the Southern-most tip, following the curve of the Mississippi River.

St. Louis radiated out in all directions from its starting point on the riverfront, but the most coherent and focust development happened along a spine running due west from downtown.

Starting with Market Street, then changing over to Olive and then Lindell, a loose axis developed over the course of the 1800s. Along this axis would rise many city landmarks – its two most prestigious universities, its entertainment district, its most fashionable neighborhood, and its largest park. A second skyline developed in Midtown. The axis is symbolically capped by Washington University’s Brookings Hall, which visually terminates Lindell just beyond city limits. (Built St. Louis)

This pattern continued into St. Louis County, from Clayton to Chesterfield.

Today’s non-scientific poll applies to both St. Louis city & county.

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts and the results.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 29 of 2018-2019 Session

January 18, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 29 of 2018-2019 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 29th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Two bills were introduced last week that weren’t on version 1 or 2 of that agenda.  See BB 220 (Redevelopment Plan for 5467-5559 Delmar) and BB 221 (Redevelopment Plan for 5539-5551 Pershing)

Today’s agenda includes ten (10) new bills covering a wide variety of issues:

  • B.B.#222 – J. Boyd – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the City to issue and sell its general obligation bonds in various Series, in an aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $40,000,000 of which no more than ($6,000,000 in aggregate Principal amount shall be issued annually) for the purpose ofStabilizing, within the limits described in the City’s Proposition NS (Neighborhood Stabilization) Ordinance; containing an Emergency clause.
  • B.B.#223 – J. Boyd – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Circuit Attorney to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding withThe Unites States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri Providing for cross-jurisdiction over crimes that take place in and around St. Louis, authorizing one or more qualifying St. Louis Assistant Circuit Attorneys to be assigned to the UnitedStates Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri as Special Assistant United States Attorneys to facilitate the investigation And prosecution of Federal offenses involving the possession or use of a firearm; containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#224 – J. Boyd – An ordinance establishing a “Dig Once” policygoverning where, when and how often construction and Excavation that disrupts access to the right-of-way including the Flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic may occur.
  • B.B.#225 – Oldenburg – An ordinance adding a new Chapter underTitle 25, the Building Code, to be known as “Small Wireless Facilities and Micro Wireless Facilities;” containing aseverability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#226 – Navarro – An ordinance amending Ordinance Nos. 64518, 67309, and 68206; authorizing the execution of an Escrow Trust Agreement by and between the City and UMB Bank, prescribing the form and details of said Escrow; authorizing the release of unnecessary funds from the Argyle Special Allocation Fund(“SAF”) and other related actions; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#227 – Oldenburg – An ordinance relating to the undergrounding requirements set forth in Chapter 23.42 of the Revised Code; repealing Sections 23.42.010, 23.42.030 through, 23.42.050, and 23.42.070 of the Revised Code expanding the scope and applicability of the underground district.
  • B.B.#228 – Vollmer – An ordinance approving the petition to amend the petition to establish the La Collina Community Improvement District, finding a public purpose for the petition to amend the petition to establish the La Collina Community Improvement District, and containing an emergency clause and a severability clause.
  • B.B.#229 – Howard – An Ordinance repealing Section One of Ordinance 48889, codified as Section 8.10.060 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, pertaining to the payment and discount of a tax imposed on cigarette merchants, and enacting in lieu thereof a new Section One of Ordinance 48889.
  • B.B.#230 – Moore – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Ms. Norma Jean Bell Way, which shall begin at the intersection of Lexington and North Newstead and run west on Lexington to the intersection of Lexington and Clarence.
  • B.B.#231 – Muhammd – An ordinance enacted pursuant to Section 56.540, Revised Statues of Missouri to repeal Ordinance No. 70056 relating to the Office of the Circuit Attorney of the City allocating the positions established by Section 56.540, R.S.Mo to classes with grades and a schedule setting minimum and maximum salaries for such grades by repealing Section Two and replacing said Section providing with such salaries be paid bi- weekly; providing for payment of overtime wages subject to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standard Act and shall be allowed on the basis of hours worked and the bi weekly rate of pay and containing an emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Mixed on Road Conditions Following Snow Storm

January 16, 2019 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on Readers Mixed on Road Conditions Following Snow Storm

I left our new apartment briefly Friday morning, before the snow arrived, using power wheelchair. I didn’t leave again until Sunday morning, driving our car this time.

Looking West Toward Tucker on O’Fallon Street, Sunday morning

On Sunday we went to Creve Coeur, Brentwood, and a few other places. By then roads were generally acceptable, but I can imagine how bad they were Friday night. I saw the news reports of motorists in traffic for hours/overnight.

Not experiencing the worst conditions, I was a “slight disagree” on the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Given the amount of heavy wet snow we received, state/county/local road crews did the best they could.

  • Strongly agree: 7 [24.14%]
  • Agree: 7 [24.14%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [3.45%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 7 [24.14%]
  • Disagree: 1 [3.45%]
  • Strongly disagree: 4 [13.79%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 2 [6.9%]

A little more than half think the crews did a good job considering. Agreed, in general I think the people behind the wheels of the snow plows do a great job at a thankless job. It’s their bosses that don’t always get it right.

Yesterday we drove to IKEA and leaving I noticed they hadn’t cleared the public sidewalk, nor their accessible routes from the public sidewalk to the entrance — they’d piled snow on them!

More snow expected this weekend.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Now Living North of Delmar in Columbus Square Neighborhood

January 14, 2019 Featured, North City, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Now Living North of Delmar in Columbus Square Neighborhood

A week ago I shared that we moved, leaving the Downtown West neighborhood. I’m happy to report that I’m once again living north of the Delmar Divide. I’ve told the following Delmar Divide story before, but it has been a while, so it’s worth repeating:

When I first moved to St. Louis in 1990 I rented an efficiency apartment on Lindell in the Central West End, I was 23. The apartment manager was a childhood friend of the mom of a friend I’d met in college, the two women grew up in the 1950s near O’Fallon Park in North St. Louis.  The manager, looking out for her young new tenant from Oklahoma, advised me: “don’t go north of Delmar.”

My 3-room flat in Old North at 1422 Sullivan, 1991-1992

I’d just moved to St. Louis after falling in love with the street grid, substantial architecture, and tremendous potential — I had to see this forbidden part of the city where I shouldn’t go.  I fell in love all over, marveling at the beauty being abandoned.

After 6 months in the CWE I moved to a 3-room flat in Old North St. Louis (then called Murphy-Blair). I still have friendships with neighbors from time, and lots of fond memories.

Years later I’m living in my 7th St. Louis neighborhood:

  1. Benton Park (couple of weeks in Aug/Sept 1990)
  2. Central West End (6 months 90-91)
  3. Old North St. Louis (3+ years  91-94)
  4. Dutchtown (9+ years 94-03)
  5. Mt. Pleasant (4+ years 03-07)
  6. Downtown West (11+ years 07-18)
  7. And now: Columbus Square  (19…?)

My friend Mark Groth blogged about the Neighborhood in March 2010, with lots of photos showing the various developments. He concluded his post this way:

Frankly, this is not a neighborhood that overly inspires me, nor one I would take someone from out of town to showcase the city.  I’m just not into 1980’s architecture.  However, if you are interested in the history of public housing and government subsidized housing, check out Columbus Square.  It has a long history of being home to slums and crime; but, it’s a long way from a slum today.  Maybe Columbus Square will actually be a nice doorstep for north city and the site of more positivity and investment for the near north side in the coming years. (St. Louis City Talk)

Ouch, but I agree.

Looking north the Columbus Square neighborhood, view from parking garage located along Cole St @ 10th St. Twin towers of the historic Shrine of St. Joseph can be seen in the background.

Still, I love exploring new neighborhoods. It’s one thing to go down an unfamiliar street occasionally, but its another to get an opportunity to immerse oneself in a new experience.  In future posts I’ll talk about why we moved and why we selected the housing we did.

It feels very good to again be living North of Delmar.

— Steve Patterson

 

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