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Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Ribbon Cutting Saturday Afternoon

February 4, 2014 Featured, STL Region, Transportation Comments Off on Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Ribbon Cutting Saturday Afternoon

This coming Saturday those willing to brave the cold weather can walk/bike/jog across the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Looking east from a ramp in September 2013 before the I-70 to Tucker ramp opened.
Looking east from a ramp in September 2013 before the I-70 to Tucker ramp opened.
Drivers entering Missouri will have the choice between taking Tucker into downtown St. Louis or westbound I-70 toward Kansas City
Drivers entering Missouri will have the choice between taking Tucker into downtown St. Louis or westbound I-70 toward Kansas City

Here’s information on Saturday’s events:

  • 8 a.m. – 6K Run. Details on cost, where to meet and registration are available at: bigriverrunning.com/bridgerun.
  • 10 a.m. – Cycling Time Trials. Space is limited. Details on cost, where to meet and registration are available at bigriverrunning.com/bridgerun. In addition, those interested can participate in the biathalon, which allows them to compete in both the 6K run and the cycling time trials.
  • Noon – the bridge opens to the public.
  • 2 p.m. – ribbon cutting ceremony.
  • 3 p.m. – Ceremonial first crossing. Participating in the crossing is limited to various military and classic car groups. All available spots for the crossing are filled.
  • 4 p.m. – The bridge closes to the public.

You must be registered to be on the bridge before noon.  Additional information can be found at http://www.newriverbridge.org, including a shuttle bus from the Convention Center MetroLink.  I’ll probably take a regular MetroBus.

Still hard to believe this day is almost here.

— Steve Patterson

 

Vikings Metrodome Demolition Got Me Thinking About The St. Louis Rams & The Edward Jones Dome

ejdomebroadway
The Edward Jones Dome at Broadway & Cole in downtown St. Louis

This past weekend you no doubt saw video of the Minnesota Vikings’ 1982 Metrodome roof being deflated to make way for a replacement stadium. This got me thinking about our own St. Louis Rams and the Edward Jones Dome. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) rejected the last Rams proposal, then lost in arbitration:

By declining to carry out that proposal, the commission granted the Rams stadium free agency starting in 2015.

Owner Stan Kroenke has the leverage to start negotiating a new stadium deal here or elsewhere. The Rams could operate amid uncertainty for years to come. (stltoday)

I have no doubt in my mind that Kroenke will opt out of the lease and begin trying to fund a build a new home for the team. He’ll extend his hand locally to see if it gets filled with money, or gets slapped down. He’ll threaten to relocate if we don’t help fund the new stadium, standard operating procedure in the NFL:

In Minnesota, the Vikings wanted a new stadium, and were vaguely threatening to decamp to another state if they didn’t get it. The Minnesota legislature, facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit, extracted $506 million from taxpayers as a gift to the team, covering roughly half the cost of the new facility. Some legislators argued that the Vikings should reveal their finances: privately held, the team is not required to disclose operating data, despite the public subsidies it receives. In the end, the Minnesota legislature folded, giving away public money without the Vikings’ disclosing information in return. The team’s principal owner, Zygmunt Wilf, had a 2011 net worth estimated at $322 million; with the new stadium deal, the Vikings’ value rose about $200 million, by Forbes’s estimate, further enriching Wilf and his family. They will make a token annual payment of $13 million to use the stadium, keeping the lion’s share of all NFL ticket, concession, parking, and, most important, television revenues. (How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers)

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: if we continue to have an NFL team, a new stadium should be in a more spacious area.  One site continues to come to mind:

The site of the former Chrysler plant in Fenton MO (St. Louis County) is big enough
The 280+ acre site of the former Chrysler plant in Fenton MO (St. Louis County) is big enough, well located

In fact, a new stadium would only need part of the site.

The biggest thing after funding any project is where you are going to place your new giant building. Every city has ideal sites for these over-65-acre—or three million square feet—stadiums.

There is no correct answer for the best place to put one of these bad boys. Honestly, it’s easiest to work with the city and figure out the most cost-effective site. Using Dallas as an example, they went through three different municipalities before they finally decided on a site in Arlington.

The idea behind picking a site is making sure it will be big enough for a new stadium. That means over 80 acres of undisturbed and non-requisitioned land—meaning no wetlands, no rivers, no easements, and no eminent domain issues.

The Cowboys decided on a site that is in that 80-acre range, and they finally got their stadium finished after over a decade of issues. They likely had to fight easements and eminent domain issues while they created the site.

Sometimes roads even have to be moved in the middle of a city and, in some cases, historic landmarks may be threatened. It’s definitely an issue the Falcons are facing with their site selection, as they may have to buy out a pair of churches that have been in Atlanta for years. (Designing the Perfect NFL Stadium)

With 280 acres available there’d be plenty of room for hotels, restaurants, retail, etc to be constructed. Being adjacent to I-44 these other businesses could hopefully survive off-season. I think local taxpayers will end up paying part of the cost of a new stadium, I just hope our leaders don’t get taken to the cleaners.

I see the Rams playing at the Edward Jones Dome through at least the 2018 season.

— Steve Patterson

 

Best Thing Expected To Happen In The St. Louis Region In 2014…

January 8, 2014 Drug Policy, STL Region Comments Off on Best Thing Expected To Happen In The St. Louis Region In 2014…

The top two answers in last week’s unscientific poll tied, with third close behind.

Q: Best thing expected to happen in the St. Louis region in 2014?

  1. Opening of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge 21 [19.63%]
  2. Loop Trolley construction begins 21 [19.63%]
  3. St. Louis’ 250th anniversary 19 [17.76%]
  4. Phase One of Ballpark Village opens 15 [14.02%]
  5. Other: 14 [13.08%]
  6. Unsure/no opinion 6 [5.61%]
  7. Fields Foods grocery store opens 4 [3.74%]
  8. Same-sex marriage in Illinois (June 1st) 3 [2.8%]
  9. Medical marijuana in Illinois 3 [2.8%]
  10. March Madness (Basketball tournaments) 1 [0.93%]

The fourteen “other” answers supplied by readers were:

  1. None of the above
  2. Progress on CityArchRiver
  3. american airlines merger
  4. Groundbreaking on Paul McKee’s Northside project (if it actually happens)
  5. City wide form based zoning is adopted
  6. Not getting my car ganked downtown cuz now I park in a garage – only $140/month.
  7. northside project starts
  8. Rams Make a Deal to Stay in STL
  9. Buildings around old post office get redeveloped/ Further cwe/cortex development
  10. City re-enters the County
  11. Freeman Bosley Jr and Charlie Dooley go to jail.
  12. Continued neighborhood redevelopment and rehab.
  13. move toward city/county consolidation
  14. Announcement for Pevely reuse

My point was to look at things actually expected to happen. In the comments on the original post someone unhappy with my choices asked “Boeing decision?”

The company called off its nationwide site search in the wee hours of Saturday morning, immediately after word came that its Seattle-area Machinists union had voted to accept a pension-cutting contract to assemble the plane in the Puget Sound area, 51 percent to 49. (stltoday.com)

It was potentially an exciting thing for the region, but with 20+ states competing it wasn’t something we could’ve expected. In the end, Boeing used Missouri and other states to get their contract accepted in Seattle.

McKee’s vision calls for many projects, the first was completed a few years ago (new building on the north edge of downtown). The city will not reenter the county in 2014, though the topic may come up.  The Rams will reach a decision about the Edward Jones Dome, but we’ll see if anyone is excited by their decision.

I think 2014 will be a decent year, but 2015 will be a bigger year.

— Steve Patterson

 

Three Years (Mostly) Smoke-Free in St. Louis City & County

Cat's Meow
Cat’s Meow in Soulard is an exempt bar for 2 more years

Three years ago today smoking bans took affect effect in St. Louis and St. Louis County, making all restaurants and most bars smoke-free. In both city & county, small bars were exempted. In the city, the exemption expires after five years.

Are the exempt businesses preparing for two years from today when they’ll be smoke-free as well? Hopefully they’ve used the last three years to build a patio, or plans are in the works for the next two years.

The opponents of the ban were correct, I’ve been annoyed by the number of smokers outside of some businesses. But I try to pass quickly or take a different route — much better than others having to inhale second-hand smoke indoors.

A year into the bans St. Louis magazine did a story on the impact, see Of Smoking Butts and Chapped Booties: Smoking Ban Delights Some Restaurateurs, Enrages Others. In short, some said business was better, others not so much.

I know I’m happy, I go out more often. I don’t spend time trying to decide where to find a smoke-free restaurant to meet friends for dinner. We still spend time debating location & menu though.  I’ve not seen any studies on the St. Louis market to see what impact, if any, the bans have had.

I’d like to see casinos become smoke-free, I had to go through the Lumiere Link a couple of months ago and it was awful passing by the casino area. I’m also tired of hotels having smoking and non-smoking rooms. The Chicago hotel I want to stay at next month only has a disabled room with roll-in shower in smoking. I’d rather not shower than try to sleep in a smoking room.

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Best Thing Expected to Happen in the St. Louis Region in 2014?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

2014 will be a busy year in the region with a number of positive things:

  • Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge opens to traffic
  • St. Louis celebrates 250th anniversary
  • Phase One of Ballpark Village opens
  • March Madness basketball tournaments
  • Fields Foods opens

Some things that are controversial in some circles:

  • Same-sex marriages begin in Illinois (mine’s June 8th!)
  • Medical marijuana in Illinois
  • Loop Trolley construction starts

The poll this week asks you to pick one thing you think is the best thing for the region. Because there may be other things happening I didn’t list you can add your own item in the poll (right sidebar).

— Steve Patterson

 

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