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McKee Land Banking Controversy Continues with Forum Tonight at Vashon HS

August 30, 2007 Events/Meetings, North City, NorthSide Project 8 Comments

The hot topic of developer Paul McKee and his large land holdings, many occupied by crumbling buildings, continues tonight:

The neighborhood impact of vacant properties and rebuilding our community

A public forum will be held in the auditorium of Vashon High School at 3035 Cass Avenue on Thursday, August 30th at 6 p.m.. The forum is co-sponsored by Alderwoman April Ford-Griffin (Ward 5), Alderwoman Marlene Davis (Ward 19), Rep. Jamilah Nasheed (District 60) and Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (District 59).

This forum will be an opportunity for residents, business owners, developers, neighborhood stabilization officers and other city services workers, and state and local elected officials to come together to discuss development in the community. Topics will include:
• concerns over large numbers of vacant buildings and parcels being held by developers, including the reported 40 acres owned by Paul McKee
• ways area residents can influence state and local laws and policies, including the “distressed areas land assemblage tax credit” being considered in Special Session by the General Assembly
• and ways to make each block a safer and more pleasant place to live

The goals of the evening are:

1) To give area residents an opportunity to voice their concerns
2) To make progress toward a consensus on how to improve neighborhood safety, stimulate the local economy, and rebuild the community

It will be interesting to hear the perspectives of a broad range of those in the area, although I doubt those that have sold out to McKee will be there to speak in favor. Doubtful to is someone from the Mayor’s office speaking on behalf of their support of McKee’s secret plan. I hope that copies of the 5th Ward plan are available to the public at this meeting. If not, you can read it online.

Meanwhile, from an article in the Riverfront Times this week:

McKee’s purchases don’t make up a single, contiguous tract, but most are adjacent to lots owned by the city’s Land Reutilization Authority (LRA), an agency that owns thousands of vacant buildings and lots. In one instance, McKee’s VHS Partners owns the northeast and southeast corners of Cass and Grand avenues, a busy intersection with a bus stop. The LRA owns the northwest corner. Farther north, different McKee-backed entities and the LRA own all but one sliver of a lot in the vacant northeast block of Jefferson and St. Louis avenues.

Given the vast quantities of land the city owns via the LRA, I’d say it would be rather hard for anyone to buy property in this area not adjacent to LRA property.


Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. alderman says:

    Tonight marks the beginning of one of the most important civic discussions in St. Louis in over 40 years. How many different agendas do you think will be on display?

  2. dialogue says:

    The news is reporting that a group of northside clergymen is supporting McKee’s plans, along with some trade groups.

  3. Scott O. says:

    Paul McKee, another rich cracker writing laws to make himself richer.

    I think the term “uphill battle” applies to this one. I didn’t get the feeling that the Alderman present had any plan to regain the advantage in this one. I think it is really just cross our fingers and wait, hoping whatever ever happens is okay… and if whatever McKee was planning was so great… why won’t he tell anyone about it?

    Maybe this problem could have been solved if someone had noticed three years ago…

  4. silence dogood says:

    In all this discussion about how investors have neglected their properties in north-city, there has been no mention of how the north-side aldermen have neglected their wards. All wards receive the same amounts for parks, streets and the like, but the 5th ward has some of the worst roads in the entire city. Let’s see a little investment in our city from those charged with investing our tax dollars, and a little less grand-standing.

  5. barbara_on_19th says:

    Very interesting meeting, very well attended by northsiders in a home-truths kind of mood. I am not sure I have ever heard so much candid talk from a group of politicians. Barbara Geisman showed at the very beginning but did not stick around. Later, one of the alderpersons called her a “praying mantis”. Other alders clearly jabbed at Coleman and others for selling out. Several people suggested a group field trip to Winghaven to picket. A truck driver named Gustav Rendon stood up at the very end of the Q&A session and suggested that the people in the room get together and sue the city, following a precedent set when Shaw sued the city over problem properties and also when the citizens of Philly sued over some grand development scheme with deliberate blighting. I think it is a great idea, clearly lots of room for that under the Fair Housing Act and other areas of law.


  6. dialogue says:

    Is Troupe’s name calling productive?

  7. recall says:

    Barbara, you scored points getting the aldermen to pledge that they wouldn’t condemn you out of your home. However, their larger commitment to not use eminent domain at all in the overall McKee redevelopment area will be a tough pledge to maintain. We’ll see how that works out.

  8. barbara_on_19th says:

    I just wanted it on tape 😉


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