Renovated Kiener Plaza Reopened 5 Years Ago Today


 Five years ago the trees at the renovated Kiener Plaza looked so new, provided no shade. Now they’ve matured nicely. Saturday we spent 2+ hours sitting in the shade. It’s nice seeing Kiener Plaza be a space that can hold thousands of people and still function. Now if only we …

Rethinking 811 North 9th Street (Holiday Inn Express)


 I recently posted about a 1960s hotel in the Downtown West neighborhood that no longer worked (see Rethinking 2211 Market Street (Pear Tree Inn). Today is a similar look at an early 1980s hotel the no longer works: The Radisson/Ramada/Holiday Inn at 811 North 9th Street. It is across 9th …

Vacant Land Near Centene Stadium Awaits New Construction


 Centene Stadium (St. Louis) – Wikipedia, the soccer stadium finishing up construction now, is reshaping the Downtown West neighborhood.   This got me thinking about a vacant parcel just south of the stadium, next to the former YMCA that became a Drury Hotel in the 1980s. The official address is …

Richard Serra’s ‘Twain’ Sculpture Dedicated 40 Years Ago, Needs To Be Lighted


 Every five years I post about Twain. Not Mark Twain, but the COR-TEN steel sculpture by Richard Serra (1938 – ) It was inaugurated 40 years ago today — May 1, 1982. St. Louis loves to hate this sculpture, bashing it is a group bonding experience. I like it, partly …

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Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Wait & See Before Considering Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana?

February 2, 2020 Drug Policy, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Wait & See Before Considering Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana?
Please vote below

The group that backed the successful medical marijuana constitutional amendment in 2018 is looking for a repeat in November 2020. New Approach Missouri plans to gather signatures to place a measure on the November 2020 ballot for legalization  of marijuana for recreational use.

New Approach’s petition would legalize adult use of marijuana for those 21 or older.

The state would tax sales at 15%, with the proceeds going to veterans, highways and drug addiction treatment.

People with marijuana convictions would also be able to apply for sentence reductions and conviction expungement. The petition would require local voter approval to ban dispensaries.

Fiscal analyses of the proposal estimate the program would generate between $93 million and $155 million for state coffers annually.

Running the program would cost the state $21 million initially and then $6 million a year. (Post-Dispatch)

Though the state has awarded licenses for medical marijuana businesses, actual sales won’t begin until the summer.

Today’s poll assumes they gather the required signatures in time.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 30 of 2019-2020 Session

January 31, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 30 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 30th 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 29.

Today’s agenda includes eight (8) new bills.

  • B.B. #199 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance pertaining to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, P.K. 104- 91, as amended; amending Ordinance 68109 by repealing paragraph A. of Section Three and enacting a new paragraph A. thereof, specifically by adding re-designating the City’s Hybrid Entity Health Care Components to add the Department of Health of the City of St. Louis as such.
  • B.B.#200 – Howard – An ordinance to regulate employer and employee working relationships between the City of St. Louis and all employees under the Classified Service, including a compensation plan, terms and conditions of employment, benefits, leaves of absence, and authorization for a Deferred Compensation Plan; repealing Ordinance 70791; allocating certain other employees to a grade with rate; and including an emergency clause. The provisions of the sections contained in this ordinance shall be effective with the start of the first pay period following approval by the Mayor.
  • B.B.#201 – Howard – An ordinance approving a blighting study and Redevelopment Plan for the 3933 Delor St. Redevelopment Area.
  • B.B.#202 – Middlebrook – An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 66570, Section One, authorizing the First Amendment to Lease, Assignment, and Sublease among The City of St. Louis, Missouri, 14580 MO Bottom LLC and Kienstra Materials Company, LLC prescribing the form and details of said First Amendment; authorizing other related actions in connection with such agreement; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#203 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan dated January 21, 2020 for the 300 North Tucker Blvd. Area.
  • B.B.#204 – Martin – An ordinance approving a blighting study and Redevelopment Plan for the 6924 Idaho Ave. Redevelopment Area.
  • B.B.#205 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan dated January 21, 2020 for the 1501 South 7th St. Area.
  • B.B.#206 – Todd – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Streets to permanently close, barricade or otherwise impede the flow of traffic on the 4300 block of Finney Avenue by blocking said traffic flow at the west curb line of Pendleton Avenue at the intersection of the 4300 block of Finney Avenue and Pendleton Avenue.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Presidential Primary More Important Than General Election For Missouri & Illinois Voters

January 29, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Presidential Primary More Important Than General Election For Missouri & Illinois Voters
The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)

Based on the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll an overwhelming majority of readers plan to vote in the upcoming presidential primaries.

Q: Agree or disagree: I’m NOT planning to vote in the upcoming presidential primary (either major party).

  • Strongly agree: 2 [8%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 2 [8%]
  • Strongly disagree: 20 [80%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Both Missouri & Illinois are open primary states, registered voters get to pick which ballot they want at the polls. Other states, like Oklahoma, are the opposite. In those states voters must register to a party, that’s the ballot they get when voting in a partisan primary. Anyone in Missouri or illinois who claims to be a registered Democrat or Republican is mistaken.

Unlike four years ago, only one major party has a competitive primary this year. We already know in the November general election that Missouri will go red, Illinois will go blue. So voters in these states who want to the Democratic nominee to win need to vote in the primary.

Primary dates:

  • Missouri March 10th
  • Illinois March 17th

Like 2016, I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. His policy positions are right for the country, and the best alternative to 45.

Voting on all races in the November general election is important, especially House & Senate races.

— Steve Patterson

Car Washes Are Getting Larger, Even Less Urban

January 27, 2020 Featured, Planning & Design, Zoning Comments Off on Car Washes Are Getting Larger, Even Less Urban

When I was a kid washing the car often meant getting the garden house out and washing the car on our driveway. Or it meant going to the self-serve car wash with individual stalls. You get your bills changed to quarters and when it’s your turn you’d pull into the stall and wash your car. Fancy ones had a soapy brush option. Often I’d get wet from splash back from the high pressure sprayer.

I was aware of other car washes, from songs like Jim Croce’s Car Wash Blues and Rose Royce’s Car Wash.  Gas stations began to add automatic car washes to entice more people to stop and buy gas — the wash was often cheaper with purchase of fuel.

Large size dedicated automatic car washes aren’t new, but slowly they’ve replaced the manual DIY car washes I remember as a kid. For years I’d go to the Waterway car wash that was at Forest Park & Vandeventer — now The Standard apartments. I was glad to see this large site be redeveloped with a 5-story apartment building.

Lately it seems throughout South City and in much of St. Louis County a new breed of automatic car washes are popping up frequently. As my husband handles the car maintenance, I’d not been to a car wash in at least seven years.  That recently changed when we were running errands and decided to stop at a newer car wash on Kingshighway, which replaced a former QuikTrip gas station.

My husband had been to this and other car washes many times, but it was a first for me. I was driving so I had to use the touch screen to purchase the wash we wanted. We drove up to the wash and handed the attendant our receipt, he warned us Hyundai shark fin radio/navigation antennas have come off before.

My husband with our white Hyundai

After the wash we stopped at the “free” vacuum area. Free vacuum?!? The site plan is such that you must go through the paid wash to reach the vacuum area.  This saves needing a stack of quarters to vacuum out the interior. I can’t tell you how many times in the past my vacuum time has run out before I was finished.

Another row of vacs near the Kingshighway sidewalk.
A spot to collect water runoff. The vacs are on a central system.
I was happy to see one disabled spot.

The urbanist in me is aghast at the trend for all these new large car washes, although this stretch of Kingshighway and most suburban arterials are so far from being pleasant pedestrian environments. Still, if there’s an expectation for these corridors to improve then such designs shouldn’t be permitted up against the public sidewalk.

Suburbs Rock Hill and Crestwood each rejected another automatic car wash in their municipalities, in 2018 & 2019, respectively.

— Steve Patterson



Sunday Poll: Do You Plan To Vote In The Presidential Primary?

January 26, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Do You Plan To Vote In The Presidential Primary?
Please vote below

Right now it’s hard to ignore Missouri’s neighbor to the north, Iowa. The Iowa Caucuses are the first in the nation to begin nominating presidential candidates.

The Iowa caucus campaigns are closing in on their final days. Whether you’ll be a first-time caucus participant or you’ve been participating for decades, now’s the time to put your knowledge to the test.

The caucuses gained national notoriety after helping catapult Jimmy Carter to the White House in 1976. This cycle has brought dozens of candidates to the state to win over Iowans. (Des Moines Register)

The Iowa Caucuses will take place on Monday February 3, 2020.  Interestingly, due to a rule change, more than one candidate could claim victory. New Hampshire is next, with a traditional primary, on Tuesday February 11, 2020.

Though President Trump is being nominally challenged for the GOP nomination in most states, this primary season will focus on the still-large field of Democratic candidates. Their focus will soon turn to other states, including Missouri & Illinois.

  • Monday 2/3/2020: Iowa caucus
  • Tuesday 2/11/2020: New Hampshire primary
  • Saturday 2/22/2020: Nevada caucus
  • Saturday 2/29/2020: South Carolina primary
  • Tuesday 3/3/2020: Super Tuesday with 14 states, American Samoa, and Democrats Abroad
  • Tuesday 3/10/2020: Missouri, 4 other states, and Washington D. C.
  • Thursday 3/12/2020: Virgin Island caucus
  • Tuesday 3/17/2020: Illinois plus three other states.

This continues into early June, see the 270towin primary calendar page here.

The winner(s) of the Iowa caucus will get a bump in polls and media attention, but that’s no guarantee of a victory in November.

Only three politicians have won a contested Iowa caucus and become president — Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. (Business Insider)

Which brings us to today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson