Neighborhood Street Lights Back On 24/7

 

 In April I posted how My Neighborhood’s Street Lights Are Always On, notifying the Citizens Service Bureau (CSB) via Twitter.  It was Service ID 1206799. I posted a follow up a month later once CSB clued me in on the issue — Neighborhood Streetlights Still On Because Electrical Station Is Blocked.  I figured …

Sunday Poll: Should Union Station Have Updated The Retail Mall & Food Court Rather Than Gut Them For An Aquarium?

 

 As you probably know the retail mall under the old train shed at St  Louis Union Station is gone. The former retail/food court space is being converted to an aquarium. The plan for the aquarium was announced almost three years ago. The other day I overheard a couple of people …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 13 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 13th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 12. Today’s agenda includes six (6) new bills: B.B.#89 – J. Boyd – An Ordinance …

Readers: No Citizenship Question Should Appear On 2020 Census

 

 Despite being a hot national issue the question of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census got a low response on the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll: Q: Agree or disagree: The 2020 Census should include a citizenship question Strongly agree: 5 [23.81%] Agree: 0 [0%] Somewhat agree: 0 [0%] Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4.76%] …

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Last Meeting of St. Louis Board of Aldermen Before Spring Elections

February 1, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on Last Meeting of St. Louis Board of Aldermen Before Spring Elections
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 31st meeting of the 2018-2019 session. This is their last meeting before the March 5th primary and April 2nd general.

Since no new bills could get through the process before the end of the 2018-2019 session, there are no new bills being introduced. Today’s agenda includes a long list of bills that will likely get passed and sent to the mayor for her signature.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2018-2019 session.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Better Together Merger Plan Doesn’t Go Far Enough

January 30, 2019 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: Better Together Merger Plan Doesn’t Go Far Enough
 
Herbert (Bert) Walker III, a cousin of George Herbert Walker Bush, speaking at the Better Together kickoff event on November 19, 2013. Emcees from KMOX, John Hancock and Michael Kelley

I moved to St. Louis in 1990, at age 23.  I was born & raised in Oklahoma City, OK.

As a child OKC was the largest U.S. city. Better put, it was the biggest in terms of land area. It had annexed itself into this position. As of 2016 it had fallen to the 8th largest — still capable of holding 7 major cities within its boundaries.

For most U.S. cities, annexation was the norm. Between 1764 and 1876 St. Louis grew in physical size through annexation. But after The Great Divorce the boundaries of the City of St. Louis were locked into place. At the time they thought it would be many decades before development pushed up against the rural city limits. They were very wrong.

Had the divorce not happened, allowing St. Louis city to exist outside of St. Louis County, the city would’ve annexed small towns, villages, and unincorporated areas. Cites that could annex — did. This enabled them to grow physically and keep outward moving population within the tax base.

Without the ability to annex, it has suffered greatly. Population loss, topping crime rankings, etc. By extension, the region has also suffered greatly. For the region to attract investment, employers, etc we must take action. A unified city is the only answer.

By creating one big St. Louis we change the outside perception of St. Louis as a dying core city that lost most of its population and is among the most dangerous places. The new St. Louis, the size of the city & county, would become the 10th largest U.S. city, by land area — still smaller than OKC (8th) and Houston (9th).

Let that sink in. If we combined St. Louis city & county the total land area (588 square miles) would still be smaller than Houston and 8 other U.S. cities.  Total population would move us up as well.

It will cause problems too. There will be less elected officials, including minorities. However, I think having more investment, jobs, opportunities, etc is worth eliminating fiefdoms.

At this point I’ve only browsed Better Together’s 160 page report, but I’m disappointed by the fragmentation it would leave in place. Zoning & trash hauling, are two examples.

Here are the non-scientific results from the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Which “merger” plan for St. Louis do you prefer?

  1. Consolidate St. Louis City and all St. Louis County municipalities into one: 23 [53.49%]
  2. Add St. Louis City back into St. Louis County, along with all the existing municipalities: 13 [30.23%]
  3. Other: 4 [9.3%]
    1. Merge and include the schools the city schools need the funding.
    2. Require any “city” to have its own fire department, otherwise disincorporate.
    3. incremental cooperation
    4. merge city and 4 counties
  4. Unsure: 2 [4.65%]
  5. None, leave things exactly as they are: 1 [2.33%]

No doubt this topic will consume a lot of attention over the next year plus.  The Great Divorce was a huge mistake, with huge negative consequences — it’s going to take a huge solution. My gut feeling is it needs to be bigger than proposed.

— Steve Patterson

Restaurant Space Available In Historic Union Market

January 28, 2019 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Local Business Comments Off on Restaurant Space Available In Historic Union Market
 

Union Market, North Broadway,  is an interesting building.

Union Market in February 2010. New floors were added for hotel rooms.

It is considered a local landmark.

Mauran, Russell and Crowell designed the market in a Eclectic Revival Style in 1924.

One of only four extant market buildings remaining in St. Louis, Union Market was constructed in 1924-25 as the city´s largest, most architecturally significant and functionally progressive market. Occupying a full city block, the building´s strong presence and individuality are established by bold rhythms of large Gothic arches and battered buttressing at the lower stories. Speckled buff brick curtain walls are handsomely accented by horizontal bands of terra cotta ornament. The three-story garage above the market space was one of the City´s early indoor parking facilities.   For over five decades, Union Market has served as one of the City´s two principal markets and has continued a tradition of marketing established on the same site during the Civil War.  Union Market is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (St. Louis City Landmark #103)

More on the building, including pre-hotel photos on the early 80s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. As a public market, it was a failure (read nomination). It’s had a tough life, see timeline and lease battle details.

On December 31, 2018 the hotel restaurant, J.F. Sanfilippo’s Italian Restaurant, closed after 28 years.

J.F. Sanfilippo’s Italian Restaurant will close after service on Dec. 31, owner Joe Sanfilippo announced Tuesday. The restaurant has operated inside the Drury Inn & Suites at 705 North Broadway downtown since February 1991. Sanfilippo tells Off the Menu a number of factors went into the decision to close, including the departure of major companies from downtown over the years to the arrival this decade of Ballpark Village. (Post-Dispatch)

No doubt the reduction of the downtown workforce, Ballpark Village, and fewer conventions have had an impact. My only time in this building was on Saturday April 21, 2012 — for dinner solo using a Groupon.

At 7:22pm I took this photo of the empty 80s looking dining room.
At 7:50pm I photographed my pasta con broccoli.
And at 8:10pm I photographed my dessert.

As I recall, the food & service met or exceeded my expectations. The place just felt dated…bad 80s dated. Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t close earlier than NYE. I wish them the best of luck at their Chesterfield location.

The closed J.F. Sanfilippo’s Italian Restaurant earlier this month

I do hope someone will open a new restaurant in this space — after changing the interior. XFL games begin in one year.

— Steve Patterson

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Sunday Poll: Which Merger Plan (if any) Do You Prefer?

January 27, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which Merger Plan (if any) Do You Prefer?
 
Please vote below

The 2020 election cycle has started. I’m not talking about presidential race either, I’m talking about competing efforts to determine how — if at all — the St. Louis region is organized.

Local mayors and elected officials made official Thursday night their effort to stop any forced consolidation of municipal governments in St. Louis County by a statewide vote and to keep any decisions about the shape of government in local residents’ hands.

The voice vote came without dissent at a meeting of the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis at Chesterfield City Hall. (Post-Dispatch)

This is to counter a statewide vote on a plan backed by a nonprofit called Better Together. See St. Louis city and county: Divorced in 1876. Remarried in 2020?

This is the basis for today’s non-scientific poll:

This poll will close at 8pm, any efforts to swing the poll outcome will result in early closure.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 30 of 2018-2019 Session

January 25, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 30 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 30th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. This is the first full board meeting of 2019.

Today’s agenda includes four (4) new bills covering a wide variety of issues:

  • B.B.#233 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Human Services, to accept funding in an amount not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) from the OASIS Institute and to enter into and execute agreements with the OASIS Institute in substantially the same form as Exhibit A and Exhibit B, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, for the purpose of providing two fall prevention programs for older adults; appropriating said funds and authorizing the Director of the Department of Human Services, upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, to expend such funds as permitted by the agreements; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#234 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Human Services, to enter into and execute an agreement in substantially the same form as Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, with the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (MA4) for the purpose of providing certain home and community based services in an amount not to exceed seventeen thousand dollars ($17,000); appropriating said funds and authorizing the Director of the Department of Human Services, upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, to expend such funds as permitted by the agreement; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#235 – Kennedy – An ordinance amending Section One of Ordinance 67588, to exclude those blocks of N. Kingshighway Blvd. between Delmar Blvd. and Wells Avenue from the Eighteenth Ward Liquor Control District.
  • B.B.#236 – Roddy – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub- surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel in a section of Spring beginning approximately 445 feet south of Forest Park and continuing southwardly 30 feet to its terminus at Market/Interstate 64 in the City.

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

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