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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “economic development”

St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

This organization led by Sheila Sweeney has done some corrupt things. Sweeney who came over from the St. Louis County Port Authority has been in the middle of most of the crooked deals of the Stenger administration. These include attempting to develop a part of Creve Coeur Park for the Blues training facility and then lying about it, entering into a corrupt no bid contract with Montelle Williams to promote the county. This contract has now exceeded its’ budget by 30% and no one knows why. The Port Authority which has a close relationship with Sweeney is now providing the funding for the Blues facility in Maryland Heights. I know of no public discussion about this issue. Why is no one investigating? Written by Paul Dribin

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New Development Proposed on Choteau

A new mixed use development is proposed on Choteau and Jefferson. It will be quite a large project encompassing commercial, residential, and retail. The area could certainly use something like this. We wish the project well. Written by Paul Dribin

TIF Reform

Legislation is moving ahead at the state level to reform the TIF process in Missouri. An interesting coalition of progressive and conservative activists have joined to help move this legislation ahead. The legislation will reduce the number of years of a TIF and give school districts the right to comment and opt out. A good start indeed. Written by Paul Dribin

Brick City Project

The Desales Housing Development Corporation is taking the lead on a project called The Brick City Project. This effort entails the development of industrial space that various start up industrial developers can use to grow their businesses and bring jobs to St. Louis. This seems like a wonderful project once again led by the talented and dedicated Tom Pickel. Congratulations. Written by Paul Dribin

St Louis Moves Ahead on Property Demolition

The Post contained a good but overly long article on demolition in St Louis. According to the article there are about 7000 properties in need of demolition. The city is more aggressively tackling the problem which is a major priority of Mayor Krewson.

I say congratulations. This is a step in the right direction. I have seen neighborhoods suffer for years due to the prescience of abandoned properties. The real problem again, is the political system in St. Louis in which the alderman must approve every tear down. Some have refused to approve any out of a mistaken notion that someone will return and rehab the property.

Written by Paul Dribin

More Bad Business in St. Louis

St. Louis should be doing everything possible to help small businesses. The population had declined and the city as a whole lacks for good businesses. Instead the city is making it worse. They have decided to make things worse. In a small minded effort to get more tax revenue, the city has decided to reclassify many small businesses from retail to manufacturing. A good example is Crown Candy, an iconic business in the Old North St. Louis area. The reason for this reclassification, they have mixing bowls. Bakeries have been reclassified in a similar manner. Crown Candy in particular deserves the keys to the city not being treated in this rude manner.

To be successful, St. Louis needs to be the easiest city for small businesses to work, not the most difficult. Written by Paul Dribin

More on Development Incentives

The Riverfront Times contained an excellent article today. It focused on a bill before the Missouri legislature which will improve the use of TIFs. It will require more transparency, shorter TIF periods, and allow the school districts more input and the possibility of opting out. The legislation is supported by both liberal and conservatives etc. The City of St. Louis is opposed to it because they want more “local control” over the process. Once again the City of St. Louis is on the wrong side of history. Written by Paul Dribin.

Development Subsidies in St. Louis

The Post-Dispatch today headlined an article which stated that the City of St. Louis gave away through TIFs and tax abatement $30 million instead of $17 million. This article is not written to question the error but the huge amount of subsidies St. Louis provides to developers. I know the city is not by itself always a strong market, but the level of subsidies appears out of whack.

There is not enough targeting of incentives by the city. TIFs were intended to be used in economically distressed areas, not everywhere. When the use of block grant funds to write down development costs is added to the pile, the situation gets uglier. Efforts need to be made to make the development process easier and ease off of some of the onerous historic preservation rules. Written by Paul Dribin

St. Peter’s MO

St. Peter’s was mentioned by Money Magazine as one of the 10 best cities in the United States in which to start a career. Amazon must have known what they were doing when they located a warehouse here.

Quality of Life in St. Louis

A recent study by the Federal Reserve in St. Louis concluded that we have a high and affordable quality of life here. I have always felt that way. Cultural amenities, restaurants, architecture, etc. are top notch. The cost of living is great, housing is generally affordable, and traffic is minimal. I would think as housing gets more out of sight in the “trendy” cities, that places like St. Louis should be able to effectively market themselves. If only we could do something about crime and our archaic governmental system. Written by Paul Dribin

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