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Readers: Keep Cut From 28 To 14 Aldermen

November 20, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Keep Cut From 28 To 14 Aldermen
Sausage getting made in the Board of Aldermen’s chambers

Unsurprisingly, the majority of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll prefer to keep the planned cut from 28 to 14 Aldermen.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis voters should vote to keep the Board of Aldermen at 28, rather than be reduced to 14 by 2022.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Disagree: 5 [14.71%]
  • Strongly disagree:25 [73.53%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

While I agree with the majority, I also think we need safeguards to make sure the establishment doesn’t end up controlling all 14 seats. We need to do something to make sure the members represent all of St. Louis — not just whites, or blacks. St. Louis is more ethnically diverse than just black & white. Do what?

Look at the process for drawing ward boundaries. Will it be fair or will the lines be drawn in such a way as to make it harder for racial minorities to get elected?

Before the 1914 charter was adopted St. Louis had two legislative bodies — a Council and a House of Delegates. The Council had 12 members, plus a president. The House of Delegates had 28.

The 1880 & 1910 census had St. Louis’ population at 350,518 & 687,029, respectively. So population was increasing rapidly, but they cut back on the total number of legislators from 40 to 28.

The freeholders at the time were looking ahead 10-50 years, not more than 100 years. Given our population, reducing to 14 makes sense — as long as we make sure the new 14-member Board of Aldermen looks as diverse as our population.

— Steve Patterson

 

Examining the St. Louis MLS Stadium Site Plan, Part 2

November 18, 2019 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Examining the St. Louis MLS Stadium Site Plan, Part 2

Two weeks ago I began a critical look at the site plan for the proposed Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium with a look at the area to the south of Market Street(see Part 1). This area includes practice fields with parking below, new streets, and development sites that have been highway ramps for decades.

Today I’ll look at the area to the north of the stadium site.

Site plan

The north side of the stadium will border on Olive Street, left to right on the top of the site plan above. The blocks facing Olive and to the north are very different than the area south of Market. This area contains both rehabbed buildings, but also vacant parcels just waiting for new infill construction.

Olive Street is major east-west corridor, connecting downtown to midtown and beyond. The stadium will have a two block-long facade along Olive Street, from 20th to 22nd. So let’s begin in the middle — at 21st Street.

Looking north at 21st & Olive from the mid-point of the proposed MLS stadium. The Schlafly Tap Room is on the left, offices on the right, lofts in background at Washington Ave. Click image to view area in Google Street View

The site plan shows a crosswalk at 21st Street to the south, across Market Street. Given this stadium is surrounded by an urban street grid a crosswalk every block makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, the site plan doesn’t show a crosswalk at 21st Street, across Olive Street.

Will people coming to the stadium from the north go to 20th or 22nd to cross 4 travel lanes of traffic on Olive? No, they won’t.  Those coming toward the stadium from the north on 21st will attempt to cross at 21st. If this intersection isn’t designed to stop traffic for pedestrians people will get hit, some killed. Why would anyone use 21st Street to head south toward the stadium?

21st & Locust looking south toward Olive and center of future stadium
21st & Olive, looking east toward 20th
A former Imo’s Pizza on the NW corner of 20th & Olive.
This 2-story building at 2011 Olive was built in 1919.
Two 2-story buildings on Olive between 21st & 22nd have been renovated into offices.

There are lots of lofts, restaurants, and such in the three blocks between Olive & Delmar.  All the streets from 20th to 23rd connect to Olive, it’s reasonable to expect people to use all these streets to walk toward the new stadium.  Some may come from lofts/apartments, with others parking on the streets.

There is also vacant land in this area, some state-owned. Ideally new multi-story residential buildings will fill in the gaps over the next 10-20 years. Ideally St. Louis would limit/ban surface parking in this area. Businesses like Schlafly’s Tap Room already has surface lots occupying more land than their building. A shared-use parking garage with an active ground floor (restaurant, retail, etc) with enclosed walls & ventilation would be acceptable in this area.

Hopefully the non-contributing single story buildings between Olive, Delmar, 18th, & Jefferson will be replaced with two to five story structures. If this area is to become a thriving urban neighborhood it needs to keep surface parking to a minimum.  It’s already bad along Olive heading west toward Jefferson.

The apartments in the background use the NW corner of 23rd & Olive for parking.
The building at 2209-11 Olive, built in 1906, has its own parking. Not sure when this building was “modernized”.
The building on the NE corner of 23rd & Olive was built in 1922.
At the NW corner of 23rd & Olive a large surface lot for the building on Locust detracts from Olive’s importance as an urban corridor.

This is all part of the Olive and Locust Historic Business District — listed on the National Register of Historic Places twelve years ago.

No doubt the area north of Olive will change once the new stadium opens. It remains to be seen if this change will be positive, negative, or neutral. Without a consensus on the future direction, enforced through form-based zoning, my bet is on the negative.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll: Should the Size of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Stay at 28 or be cut to 14?

November 17, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should the Size of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Stay at 28 or be cut to 14?
Please vote below

St. Louis voters have made some  notoriously bad decisions at the polls — the 1876 “divorce” from St. Louis County topping the list, the 1916 pro-segregation vote a close second.

Back in 2012, city voters passed a measure cutting the Wards and Aldermen in half to 14. The measure takes effect in 2022. Mayor Lyda Krewson opposes a re-vote; she already threatened to veto a similar bill last year. (Fox2)

Some think the 2012 measure was another bad decision, while others think having a new vote to reverse that outcome would be a bad decision.

This is the subject of today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight, my thoughts and results on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 23 of 2019-2020 Session

November 15, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 23 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 15th 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 22.

Today’s agenda includes thirteen (13) new bills.

  • B.B.#155 – Guenther – An Ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing The City of St. Louis, Missouri to issue its Taxable Industrial Development Revenue Bonds in one or more series in a total principal amount of not to exceed $100,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds to pay the costs of acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping an industrial development project in the City; approving a plan for such project; authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller to execute certain documents related thereto; and authorizing and directing the taking of other actions and approval and execution of other documents as are necessary or desirable to carry out and comply with the intent hereof.
  • B.B.#156 – Hubbard – An Ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing The City of St. Louis, Missouri to issue its Taxable Industrial Development Revenue Bonds in one or more series in a total principal amount of not to exceed $50,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds to pay the costs of acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping an industrial development project in the City; approving a plan for such project; authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller to execute certain documents related thereto; and authorizing and directing the taking of other actions and approval and execution of other documents as are necessary or desirable to carry out and comply with the intent hereof.
  • B.B.#157 – Hubbard – An Ordinance authorizing the execution of a redevelopment agreement between The City of St. Louis, Missouri and 900 N. Tucker Building, LLC; prescribing the form and details of said agreement; authorizing other related actions in connection with such agreement; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B#158 – Hubbard – An Ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the issuance and delivery of not to exceed $11,850,000 plus issuance costs principal amount of tax increment revenue notes (900 N. Tucker Blvd. Redevelopment Project) Series 20__-A/B, of The City of St. Louis, Missouri; prescribing the form and details of such notes and the covenants and agreements made by the City to facilitate and protect the payment thereof; prescribing other matters relating thereto, and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#159 – Hubbard – An Ordinance designating a portion of The City of St. Louis, Missouri as a redevelopment area known as the 900 N. Tucker Blvd Redevelopment Area pursuant to the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act; adopting and approving a redevelopment plan, adopting and approving a redevelopment project with respect thereto; adopting tax increment financing within the redevelopment area; making findings with respect thereto; establishing the 900 N. Tucker Blvd Special Allocation Fund; authorizing certain actions by City officials; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#160 – Roddy – An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 70599; approving and authorizing the execution of a redevelopment agreement between The City of St. Louis, Missouri and Vertical Realty Advisors, LLC; authorizing other related actions in connection with such agreement; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#161 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan dated October 22, 2019 for the 4915-4925 West Pine Blvd. Area
  • B.B#162 Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan dated November 6, 2019 for the 4565-4591 Mcree Ave. Area
  • B.B.#163 – Hubbard – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 2127 N. 11th St. Area.
  • B.B.#164 – Roddy – An ordinance dissolving the Special Allocation Funds for Lafayette Square Historic District and 5700 Arsenal and terminating the designation of a portion of the City of St. Louis, Missouri as redevelopment areas and authorizing certain actions relating thereto.
  • B.B.#165 – Roddy – An ordinance dissolving the Special Allocation Funds for the Hadley Dean Building Redevelopment Area and terminating the designation of certain respective portions of the City of St. Louis, Missouri relating to that redevelopment area and authorizing certain actions relating thereto.
  • B.B.#166 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3400 Chippewa and 3809 Louisiana Ave Area.
  • B.B.#167 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3426 South Compton Ave Area.

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

 

Awaiting NCAA Rules on Collegiate Athletes Getting Paid for their Image, Likeness

November 13, 2019 Education, Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Awaiting NCAA Rules on Collegiate Athletes Getting Paid for their Image, Likeness

During part of my undergraduate days, mid-late 1980s, I worked part-time at Toys “R” Us — I was paid $5.90/hour at the end. I also had a small 401k plan. Not the worst college job.

For the top college athletes their sport is their college job. Their scholarship may cover tuition, books, room & board, but it doesn’t help them if they have family that needs financial help. And what if they get injured during playing college sports? Yes, they’re getting a degree that’ll help later on, but to stay in college many of the top athletes pass on a lucrative professional contract that would allow them to help their family now — while hoping they don’t get a career-ending injury.

Most college athletes aren’t anticipating a big contract after graduation, nor should they expect big endorsement deals during college. Though I could see local businesses offering sponsorship to popular team athletes. I can also see problems with male players getting more & bigger deals than female players who’re just as popular/talented.

Chaifetz Arena is home to the Saint Louis University (SLU) basketball team.

Here’s the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Should College Athletes Be Able To Get Paid For Their Name, Image, or Likeness?

  • Yes: 10 [47.62%]
  • Unsure: 6 [28.57%]
  • No: 3 [14.29%]
  • Don’t care: 2 [9.52%]

It’ll be interesting to see how the NCAA writes & enforces the new rules around college athletes.

Also, congrats to the SLU women’s soccer team for getting to play in the NCAA Tournament.

— Steve Patterson

 

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