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New Resource Room For Area Homeless

December 17, 2010 Homeless, SLU, STL Region 5 Comments
ABOVE: New resource room at The Bridge
ABOVE: New resource room at The Bridge

On Wednesday a new Community Resource Room was opened at The Bridge, “a drop-in center providing a variety of services for the sojourners in downtown St. Louis, MO who are currently living without a home of their own.” The Bridge provides many services, including “in excess of 3000 meals per week.

So when Bridge Executive Director Kathleen Wilder posted plans for the ribbon cutting on Facebook, I knew I had to be there. Here is a short video from Wednesday afternoon:


Saint Louis University Social Work student Jessica Mueller led the project, transforming a room once piled with stuff to an attractive room with books and six new computers.  This project was her practicum. Unfortunately, demand for services exceeds supply.  If you have time and/or money please consider helping out.

– Steve Patterson


South County Connector Revisited, Open House 3pm-7pm Today 12/9/2010

ABOVE: Study area looks at connecting Hanley (upper left) to the River Des Peres (lower right)

A “Public Open House” will be held today, December 9, 2010, from  3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. to get feedback on the latest proposal for a South County Connector:

“St. Louis County has interviewed several consultant teams for conducting the Location Study and Environmental Document for the South County Connector. Negotiations will begin shortly with the selected team, and the study will begin in early 2010.

The South County Connector facilitates access between the central core of St. Louis County and South County and South City. The multi-modal aspect of the South County Connector corridor promotes the joint Livable Communities initiative of the U.S. DOT, HUD, U.S. EPA and other Federal agencies. It will help citizens gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options and healthier communities and will promote sustainable development and economic growth.”

The open house will be held at the  Affton White-Rodgers Community Center located at 9801 Mackenzie Road St. Louis, Mo. 63123.

– Steve Patterson


Please Shop Local Small Businesses On Saturday

November 26, 2010 Big Box, Economy, Retail, STL Region 2 Comments

If you are like many people you are going out to a mall and/or big box store today, Black Friday.  I’m not going to try to talk you out of it, but I am going to suggest you patronize locally owned small businesses in your area tomorrow,  November 27, 2010 – aka Small Business Saturday.

sbslogoFrom the FAQ page:

What is Small Business Saturday?
More than a dozen advocacy, public, and private organizations are joining American Express OPEN, the company’s small business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 27, 2010.

Is Small Business Saturday designed to get people to stop shopping at larger businesses or online?
Absolutely not. Small Business Saturday recognizes the importance of small businesses to the overall economy and local communities. It’s a day to support the small, independently owned businesses we can’t live without.Who can get involved in Small Business Saturday?
Anybody. Anywhere. Now through Small Business Saturday, November 27.

How can I get involved in Small Business Saturday?
There are a number of ways for you to get involved. First and foremost, it’s about helping raise awareness about the importance of small business to our communities. For example, you can visit www.facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday where you ca”like” Small Business Saturday and syndicate news feeds about the day to your personal, virtual networks. There, you can also spread the word about the day and your favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to your favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter.

You can also support Small Business Saturday by patronizing the local, independently owned small businesses in your neighborhood. That could mean anything from having dinner on your way home from the mall during the holiday shopping season or reserving a part of your holiday gift budget to spend at a local small business.

The event is sponsored by American Express which isn’t a small business.  But I think they realize the importance of small businesses.

sbs1sbs2sbs3sbs4A good places to start are local advertisers helping to support this blog and BUILD St. Louis’ members.

-Steve Patterson


Twenty Years in Saint Louis

It was 20 years ago, August 1990, that I first arrived in St. Louis from Oklahoma City.  I was just out of college, 23 and optimistic about St. Louis’ future.  I drove up I-44 with a friend, she and I were going to be roommates in Washington D.C. Her mom lived in a renovated townhouse on Lemp in Benton Park, a block from Venice Cafe. We arrived on a Saturday and the next day her mom gave us a tour of the city.

ABOVE: Former fountain on Maryland Plaza, August 1990
ABOVE: Former fountain on Maryland Plaza, August 1990

I was immediately sold on St. Louis for my new place of residence, it felt right. Of course, earlier that year the Census had counted over 396,000 residents.  I put my stuff I had in her car and put it in her mom’s basement.  After my first visit to D.C., I took the train & bus back to Oklahoma City to get my car and more stuff.  I stayed with her mom for a week or so until I got a job and an apartment.

My first place was in The President on Lindell, next to Boatman’s Bank (now U.S. Bank).  It was an 8th floor studio with a view of the building to the east. The annual gay pride parade was on Euclid in those years so for me it was the place to be.  But in late 1990 I attended a seminar for developers at the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC).  At the time their offices were in the building bounded by Olive, 15th, Locust and 14th. At this seminar I met a woman living & rehabbing in Murphy-Blair; now known as Old North St. Louis.

At age 24 I moved to Old North from Lindell & Euclid.  My rent went from $425/month for the studio to $75/month.

ABOVE: My 3-room flat in Old North at 1422 Sullivan
ABOVE: My 3-room flat in Old North at 1422 Sullivan

In my first decade I saw the population drop over 48,000 people, my initial optimism was fading.  During the 1990s there were several times I considered moving. Seattle? Portland? East Coast? Sure, all were considered but ruled out for various reasons.  I’ve long stopped considering leaving, I like how St. Louis is shaping up.  Plus, I enjoy playing a role in the future of this city.

I’m sure I’ll see as much change in the coming 20 years as I did in the last 20 years. I’ll let you know in August 2030.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: who would you name our new bridge after?

The new bridge over the Mississippi River has been named the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Bridge. Reagan was born in Tampico, IL (4+ hours away) in 1911 but moved to California in the 1930s.

In August 2004 William Perkins and Russ Reike, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, gave Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) petitions with over 4,000 signatures supporting the naming of the new bridge “Veteran’s Memorial Bridge”. This effort is supported by Rep. John Shimpkus (R-IL) and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. The Missouri State Legislature voted on August 28, 2005 to name the bridge after Ronald Reagan (Source: Wikipedia)

There are many others from the St. Louis area (Illinois & Missouri) that would be better to name the bridge after.  The Agnes Moorehead Memorial Bridge has some campy appeal, traffic reporters could say things like, “There is an accident on the Endora so expect delays.” Seriously, someone from the metro east would be a much better fit than Reagan who grew up more than four hours north of the metro area.

Although she was born in DuPage County near Chicago, the late Katherine Dunham often called East St. Louis her home.  The poll this week asks who you’d name the bridge after.  I’ve included a long list but you have the option to name your own answer.

– Steve Patterson