WEST PINE LACLEDE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
President Harold Karabell called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM
Harold dispensed with the usual order of business to allow presentations by Kacey Cordes, Sean Thomas, and Thomas Strunk
KACEY CORDES PRESENTATION
MS Cordes, an independent candidate for St. Louis mayor in the April 4, 2017 elections, opted for open floor question/answer session rather than delivery of a brief speech about her positions. Among the questions and comments this approach engendered were these:
- Where do you stand on financial incentives the city can/does award to developers?
Reply: Incentivizing smart development is crucial. The city needs to be proactive about generating commercial development. St. Louis needs a well-staffed planning department that would oversee use of subsidies in neighborhoods.
- How do we as residents of a financially successful neighborhood spread the wealth to the rest of city?
Reply: St. Louis needs to focus on a plan for the entire city. We need a robust plan for reinvesting because such expenditure won’t happen organically.
- Do the buzz words “racial equity” and “racial equality” mean the same thing?
Reply: MS Cordes replied by referring to a cartoon similar to the one at the end of these minutes to distinguish between the two terms. See also (http://interactioninstitute.org/illustrating-equality-vs-equity/)
- How can St. Louis solve the current lack of security for residents and businesses?
Reply: The WPLNA model of neighborhood financed additional security using free-lance police (e.g., bike patrols) is not sustainable. Instead, we need new leadership in the STL Police Department, better benefits for police (e.g., health care, rest following overtime work), and investment in neighborhoods including schools so that people want to live in the City.
SEAN THOMAS PRESENTATION on PROP NS
St. Louisans are feeling the impact of vacancies every day with few solutions on the horizon. Proposition NS, a citizen-led effort to stabilize hundreds of city-owned vacant buildings, is the first proposal of its kind. Known as the “vacancy bond issue,” Prop NS is funded through a one-cent per $100 of home value property tax increase — or around $11/year on a $100,000 home. This proposition will appear on the April 4th ballot and, if authorized, create a special fund for making vacant properties rehab-ready and attractive to homebuyers. Among the questions and comments this approach engendered were these:
- How would big developers be kept from getting funds from NS Prop?
Reply: Selection criteria included within NS would preclude this happening. Also the properties will be sold one at a time, not in large collections that are what appeal to developers. Applicants must tell what they plan to do with the property and the timeline for doing so. The properties for sale and renovation would be residential not commercial spaces. (See http://www.slaco-mo.org/ and http://westpinelaclede.com/ for additional information.
THOMAS STRUNK – MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER STADIUM
Mr. Strunk explained that 12 cities are vying for two soccer stadium locations, so passage of Propositions 1 and 2 on April 4, 2017 is critical for success in securing a Major League Soccer team. Prop 1 establishes a half cent increase sales tax to go toward Metrolink expansion and other initiatives. Prop 2 would establish a use tax to be paid by city businesses. St. Louis City would invest $60 million that would be paid back and generate earnings of $17M over 30 years. The City’s share of funding will be 35% of the actual stadium costs, which is 20% of the total cost of the project. The state of Missouri would contribute by covering such expenses as land and site readiness. The stadium would be built west of Union Station, which would generate an entertainment corridor from the Arch to Union Station. Per Mr. Strunk, the risk to the city is minimal because Worldwide Technology (WT) is very committed to the city. (http://fox2now.com/2017/01/31/st-louis-group-formally-submits-application-for-major-league-soccer-expansion-team/)
Among the questions and comments this approach engendered were these:
- How do you know that if the stadium is built, St. Louis will get a team and that enough people will come to games to meet the financial goals?
Reply: WT will not build if St. Louis is not awarded a franchise. WT projects that 15% of fans will be City residents.
- Is there any evidence that a city has actually made money in similar situation?
Reply: Mr. Strunk’s response was non-specific.
Minutes for February 14, 2017 were approved with one punctuation change.
Savings account balance: $1,054.68
Certificate of deposit value: $7,090.98
Checking account balance: $1,301.69
Diana Gualdoni noted that a ground level tree stump remains where a dead redbud tree was removed in the Community Garden. The stump and roots need to be removed so that a replacement tree, shrub, or other planting can be positioned. Diana has found a vendor that can do the removal for $110. Ron Coleman suggested that the City may be able to do the removal at no cost to the Association. A motion was made, seconded, and unanimously approved to allow Diana to proceed with removal by the proposed vendor unless Mr. Coleman reports that the City can undertake the work at no cost to the Association.
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE REPORT
Ron Coleman’s Report
Ron noted that he had nothing new to report since the February meeting except that the disturbing pounding at the 4101 Laclede site has stopped and the foundation at 4308 Laclede has been poured.
SECURITY COMMITTEE REPORT
Marshall Michener reported the following minor incidences: broken car window in the 4100 block of West Pine; attempted break in of Shapiro’s market on February 9; scooter stolen from 4111West Pine March 3; and license plate tabs stolen from various neighborhood cars. Photos of suspects for the latter two crimes are in hand and being circulated by police. Marshall again reminded residents to avoid leaving anything of value visible in a parked car.
4101 Laclede construction update: The retaining wall will be built next, and then the driveway will be repaved. Until these events occur, construction worker street parking will continue.
A much treasured gray and white declawed male cat was lost in the Laclede block between Sarah and Boyle. The owner is offering a $500 reward for return of the treasure. Contact: 314-496-9191.
Terry Van Schaik, Secretary
APPENDIX re Equality vs. Equity
APPENDICES re Proposition NS:
VACANT PROPERTIES COST ALL OF US.
Vacant buildings are dragging our city down
Vacancy isn’t hurting just a handful of neighborhoods. Lower property values and lost tax revenue run into the millions of dollars each year. Vacant buildings project an image of St. Louis as region in a state of decline, despite the progress we’ve made. SLACO is focused on supporting citizen-led solutions.
Working together, neighborhood leaders collected over 15,000 signatures to qualify Prop NS for the ballot.
The St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO) established a Vacancy Committee that is convening a diverse group of stakeholders and playing a strategic and intentional role in reshaping methods for dealing with vacant properties in St. Louis.
Want to bring your skills and voice to this effort?
Contact SLACO at 314-361-9406 or Vacancy@SLACO-MO.org
PAID FOR BY ST. LOUIS ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS WITH SUPPORT FROM THE INCARNATE WORD FOUNDATION.