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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Opinion: We Must Invest Beyond The Central Corridor

January 23, 2019 Featured, North City, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: We Must Invest Beyond The Central Corridor
 
Campbell House Museum on Locust, the last mansion from Lucas Place

From the early days to St. Louis’ founding in 1764, being up from the Mississippi River was a good thing. Namely, those who spread along the banks north & south of the original spot were subject to flooding. Those uphill from the center weren’t subject to floods.

Following the cholera epidemic and fire in 1849, wealthy citizens became convinced that it was no longer desirable to live in downtown St. Louis. James Lucas and his sister Anne Lucas Hunt soon offered a solution. They developed the idea of the “Place,” a neighborhood with deed restrictions that ensured it remained apart from the city and general population. The main thoroughfare was aptly called Lucas Place. Originally Lucas Place (now Locust Street) extended between 13th and 16th streets when the city limits were just one block to the west between 17th and 18th streets. When established, Lucas Place was west of the developed portion of the city, making it St. Louis’ first “suburban” neighborhood.

Lucas priced the lots so that only the wealthy could afford the live there. He also built restrictions into the deeds so that the properties could not be used for commercial purposes. (Campbell House Museum)

As the city’s population ballooned Lucas Place was no longer the desirable location it once was, so the wealthy moved further west.

Originally, the streets around the intersection of Lindell and Grand featured row after row of stately houses, mansions, and even a private street. By the late 19th century, the area had become the wealthiest neighborhood in the city, home to some the most important members of St. Louis society.

Sitting west of the central city and along major streetcar routes, Midtown proved highly desirable to those fleeing the coal-fueled pollution further east. Sitting on a hill, upwind from the central city, the neighborhood began to receive the accouterments befitting its tony status in St. Louis. Vandeventer Place, a private street on the northern edge of the neighborhood, served as the crown jewel of the rapidly expanding area.

Platted by the famous German-American surveyor Julius Pitzman, Vandeventer Place exacted strict obedience from the affluent homeowners who purchased plots along its regal tree-lined boulevard. The new mansions that filled the private street conformed to rigid design and expense requirements that only the wealthiest industrialists in St. Louis could afford. Interestingly, the governance of the street required unanimous votes to change the street’s charter. (St. Louis Magazine)

In 2014 I posted about the dire economic disinvestment in the north county area at Chambers and Lewis & Clark. Click image for May 2014 post.

The Central West End was next, and this continues today. Reinvestment has been seen throughout this “Central Corridor” for a few decades now. As North St. Louis continues to hallow out, we’re seeing North St. Louis County experience devastating disinvestment. With typical suburban development patterns, North St. Louis County is a very large area. It still has nice neighborhoods, but the signs of change are all around. Take Spanish Lake, for example:

When three nearby Shop ‘n Save stores closed in November, it left shoppers fewer options and created what the USDA classifies as a food desert.

Spanish Lake is in the northeast corner of unincorporated St. Louis County. The cities of Florissant and Ferguson are on its west side; the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are on the east.

The population is just under 20,000 and has been shrinking for decades, while the poverty rate has increased.

Until recently, Spanish Lake residents had several options for grocery shopping. Three Shop ‘n Save stores located along the western edge of the community provided easy access to fresh, affordable produce. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Those who’ve been on the fence about moving elsewhere are going to reconsider. I can’t say that North St. Louis County has reached a tipping point, but it feels like it’s close.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was about reinvesting in areas north & south of the Central Corridor.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis’ “Central Corridor” (West from Arch) has always been a high priority, areas North & South should just accept this.

  • Strongly agree: 2 [6.06%]
  • Agree: 6 [18.18%]
  • Somewhat agree: 3 [9.09%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 2 [6.06%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [9.09%]
  • Disagree: 9 [27.27%]
  • Strongly disagree: 8 [24.24%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

No, we should not accept this. We can’t afford, as a region, to write off huge areas. Unfortunately, I think the regional pattern was set long before any of us were born. That’s not to say we can’t rethink our approach. I just don’t see the leadership or willpower to take on the change that would be necessary.

— Steve Patterson

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

 

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