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St. Louis Abandons Public Review Process for The Gateway Mall

January 5, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Parks, Planning & Design, Politics/Policy 5 Comments

In 2010 I was appointed to represent the 6th ward on the newly formed Gateway Mall Advisory Board (GMAB). The idea was to mirror how Forest Park is managed — a conservancy made up of the wealthy to help raise money for projects and an advisory board to let the Parks Dept know if proposed projects complied with the Master Plan, or not. Initial terms were staggered, with three year terms thereafter.

From a March 12, 2010 press release:

Named to the Gateway Mall Conservancy Board were Peter Fischer, GatewayFoundation; Robert Archibald, Missouri Historical Society; Steve Cousins, ArmstrongTeasdale LLP; John Ferring, Plaze, Inc.; David Mesker, retired, A.G. Edwards; EmilyRauh Pulitzer, Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts; Kitty Ratcliffe, St. Louis Convention andVisitors Commission; Henry S. Webber, Washington University; Josephine Weil,Community Volunteer; and Patricia Roland-Hamilton as Executive Director.

Also announced today was the formation of the Gateway Mall Advisory Board, a groupof stakeholders responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Gateway MallMaster Plan and providing ongoing community input about the Gateway Mall. Itscomposition and responsibilities are outlined by City ordinance.

Things went downhill quickly, my post from August 2013: Gateway Mall Still Unloved, Conservancy Resigned, Advisory Board Kept In Dark..  At this point I’d been pressing then Parks Director Gary Bess to initiate the process to appoint myself and others whose terns expired in March 2012. See original list here.

In October 2013 Gary Bess handed out a list at the last GMAB meeting showing the terms of myself and others hadn’t yet expired — see it here. The best word to describe this lists is forged. My original term expired in March 2012 but this new document showed it expires in March 2017 — again the appointments are for three years.  Some on this list now showed up with terms expiring in 2017 — impossible since it was just 2013.  The next month I emailed Bess and others on the GMAB list to let them know of the discrepancy. Bess was going to look into it.

This attempt to create a false record didn’t surprise me, in the 3+ years we did meet, I had to constantly remind Bess of the language in the enabling ordinance and our adopted bylaws. Last year Bess retired from the city and became the St lotus county director of parks, see St. Louis County Parks Director double dipping at taxpayer expense.

On December 31, 2015 the private nonprofit Gateway Mall Conservancy was administratively dissolved by the Missouri Secretary of State. Despite being required by ordinance, the GMAB also no longer exists. Our terns all expired, nobody was reappointed or replaced with new appointees. In January 2014 I was asked by Parks & 6th Ward Alderman Ingrassia if I was willing to be reappointed, I said yes to both and submitted the form to reappointed to a public board. Nothing happened.

The Gateway Mall Master Plan calls the area around Soldiers' Memorial the "Civic Room", click image to see section
The Gateway Mall Master Plan calls the area around Soldiers’ Memorial the “Civic Room”, click image to see section

Soon the History Museum will show their plans for two blocks of the “Civic Room” which includes Soldiers’ Memorial but the public body established by ordinance to review proposals no longer exists. In 2010 I had a feeling the city would abandon the Gateway Mall, master plan, and the public review process — I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Sgt Stadanko says:

    I hope they have contracted security firms to keep out the “undesirables” or what I call ‘human cockroaches’. the out of control panhandling that is going on downtown. When money is poured into making an area nice, on the back-end, you need to keep the riff-raff out. Over time they will ruin an area. thanks, Sarge

    • Mark-AL says:

      I wonder where these loft dwellers and higher-end residents of Park Pacific Apts. thought the homeless were going to live after the downtown area became developed? Or maybe they just didn’t think. That’s probably what happened, sad to say. Is Missouri a buyer-beware state? Seems to me that new residents don’t have a lot to bitch about, since the homeless residents predated them. The homeless need to live somewhere, don’t they? When we lived in Santa Monica, it was the norm to see homeless men and women (hundreds) sleeping along the cliffs above the ocean in beautiful Palisades Park, extending from the Santa Monica Pier all the way north to Malibu. After a good night’s rest, they’d pick up and cart off their bedding materials, leaving their personal trash behind, and then they’d go on their way. And it wasn’t unusual seeing a man or woman squatting to take a dump somewhere along the cliffs, or seeing a lustful couple engaging in one of several variations of merriment behind a bush or palm tree.. I didn’t think much of it, having grown up on a goat farm. Goats can get pretty creative! The City then would send in crews to clean up after them, in no time returning the Palisades Park cliffs to their pristine and manicured condition. Residents didn’t bitch, because the homeless have been sleeping there longer than most if not all residents have been living there, and they were aware of the situation before they moved into the area. Maybe St Louis needs to learn to “deal with it” and maybe City Hall needs to invest in some cleanup guys and more law enforcement-type guys instead of issuing no-bid design contracts to local business donors for fantasy, never-never-land stadium projects.

      • gmichaud says:

        I think what I have to object to is the “human cockroach” comment of Sarge. I am a Sergeant also, ex Army, Vietnam Vet Combat Photographer. I remember buses stopping along the road to allow passengers to walk out to take a dump in the rice paddies while the bus waited.Beyond that I cannot even begin to tell you how many open and visible “toilets” were built over rivers and canals. I was in the 9th Division, Mekong Delta 68-69 and have photographic confirmation and press releases.
        Fertilizer and human waste, that is another discussion.
        We create the cockroaches by actions of society. I am just as frustrated and unhappy as Sarge with the I need bus fare, (or diapers, or whatever) panhandling efforts I encounter, if not everyday, certainly weekly.
        To a large extent our society creates the conditions to allow this to be the norm.

        • Mark-AL says:

          I “heard” you say that society created the conditions which created “homeless-ness”. I THINK I “heard” you say that you too aren’t interested in “seeing” the homeless living their lives on the streets “within public view”. You singled out public “dumping” as if you were offended by it. So I would ask you what your solution is. Send them packing? Maybe bus them to an area below Cape Girardeau, just north of Arkansas, where they won’t be as noticeable? Throw more public money at the problem? Place them in apartments and empty lofts? I am one who feels that the public did NOT categorically create the problem of homelessness. I think, for the most part, that the homeless created their own problems. When an otherwise fully functional human being reaches a certain age–(maybe 15, 16, 20?) he’s got to be held responsible for himself. He can’t blame his laziness, apathy, bad breaks, bad luck, failure to take advantage genuine entitlements offered to him in his past, etc etc on society. And because “society” is typically generous and caring, we reach out to the homeless by offering them a wide variety of rehab programs and/or by allowing them to live publicly among us on the streets. Those who continue to choose the streets continue to present a public nuisance that has existed since the beginning of time. So we need to deal with it. Maybe we need to send in the street crew every morning, just like we do after a parade, and with minimal effort and $, we can deal with it, until we figure out a way to better deal with it. But closing down downtown buildings like NLEC isn’t dealing with the problem. It’s sending the problem out onto the streets. And people who live on the streets need to defecate somewhere; they need to congregate sometimes just to talk to one another, and sometimes they feel the urge to engage in sex. They can’t close the bedroom door for that. (It seems that I occasionally read news articles in the Post about others (who aren’t necessarily homeless) engaging in open sex in Forest and Carondolet and TG Parks. I guess the loft dwellers don’t care about what happens in the park, and they probably won’t until they someday have kids.)

  2. gmichaud says:

    I am not surprised decisions are being made without input from citizens or even appointed commissioners. That is more or less how St. Louis has ended up a dead end city. Decision making based on what an insider figured would make themselves the most money, greasing their connections in government and elsewhere is the standard. For the most part citizen participation and public hearings are a charade.
    Hence you and everyone are left out of any discussions about what is best for St. Louis It is a crime really, people running things for their benefit and gain, your post is just yet more evidence of what is seen every day in different forms. This is while the MSM sits on their ass and is part of the clown show that is destroying St. Louis and America.
    Bernie Sanders just gave a major speech on reforming the financial system today and the MSM is focused on an imaginary sex scandal between trump, hillary and bill for example.
    So yeah you won’t be called back because they can’t perform crooked deeds for their buddies if there is public scrutiny, discussion and debate.
    Certainly we wouldn’t create a central public space without an enormous, central transit presence How is that accomplished? And then pedestrian presence and the ramifications for density and other current and future issues, along with an understanding how development is going to be pursued in this area around the “Civic Room” What does that require in additional city planning? What is the role of bicycles and pedestrian movement in and around this “Civic Room”.
    Nothing is considered except how any deal enriches certain people that are connected. Welcome to St. Louis.


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