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Unread 11-28-2010, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Shaw, St. Louis/West Ridge, Chicago/WuDaoKou, Beijing
292 posts, read 488,027 times
Reputation: 142
Default Re-Establishing St. Louis' Former Importance

As many of us know, at the turn of the 20th century St. Louis city was America's 4th largest city. St. Louis commanded enough respect to have held the 1904 Games and World's Fair, the city was the 2nd busiest port city after New York etc...
The destruction of the south during the civil war disrupted our economy which was heavily dependent on the southern states, and our refusal to accept contracts for the meat industry which eventually went to Chicago to become the Union Stockyards left us stagnant and in decline.
Due to our overly bureaucratic system and way of doing things in this country making radical changes to attract more business and encourage trade and investment seem out of reach.

At the turn of the 20th century our population was at a level of San Francisco's and still growing...today like most midwestern cities we shrank sharply after WWII and stand at around 330K.

Instead of a long march ahead, I'd love to see radical, fast, sweeping changes to the city.

What changes would you bring to the city to bring back its former glory?
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Unread 11-28-2010, 08:37 PM
 
3,413 posts, read 3,858,857 times
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little correction, the population is a little over 355,000 today. Maybe you were thinking of Cincinnati...
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Unread 11-28-2010, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Saint Louis City
1,559 posts, read 1,870,453 times
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1. Education-Fix the city schools, the population will follow
2. Encourage Entrepreneurs
3. Emphasize the Arts
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Unread 11-28-2010, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Shaw, St. Louis/West Ridge, Chicago/WuDaoKou, Beijing
292 posts, read 488,027 times
Reputation: 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smtchll View Post
little correction, the population is a little over 355,000 today. Maybe you were thinking of Cincinnati...
ah ur right
356,587
my mistake.
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Unread 11-28-2010, 09:34 PM
 
Location: St. Ann, MO
2,733 posts, read 2,271,145 times
Reputation: 1350
Ok, so...I think a lot of individuals would consider the city more if the school system was better. If you could make St. Louis Public Schools the best schools in the State, there would be some push for individuals to move into the city so their kids could partake in this amazing education. So here are the problems:

1. School Rankings are based on test scores. Test scores require students to study, and try to achieve. Parents have to be involved in this, and if the vast majority of parents are absent, to busy, or unwilling to help motivate their children, then teachers will have a difficult time "instructing" students to do better...There has to be desire on the parts of the students, parents, and faculty to improve the situation.

2. Funding. St. Louis' tax base is pretty small, you said it yourself there are only 360,000 residents in an area that could easily accommodate 1 million +. Because the physical dimensions of the city haven't "downsized" like the population has many services are still needed city wide...which limits the amount of tax revenue available for education. So, you're stuck trying to find a way to attract more tax $$ to the area, a large influx of people would help, but they're not going to come unless the area is safe and the school district is good...both problems that are already prevalent.

My answer would be a city county merger for raising tax revenue. Use the money raised to improve the public school district of the city, and increase police effectiveness. Hopefully after the economy begins to muster itself together, building projects can begin again, maybe the North St.Louis renovation project, and if the scope is large enough it might allow more residents to move into the city....The only thing i'd worry aboutin that situation is what happens to the other areas in the county as people vacate to move closer to the city-proper?
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Unread 11-29-2010, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
11,484 posts, read 16,110,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynavyj View Post
Ok, so...I think a lot of individuals would consider the city more if the school system was better. If you could make St. Louis Public Schools the best schools in the State, there would be some push for individuals to move into the city so their kids could partake in this amazing education. So here are the problems:

1. School Rankings are based on test scores. Test scores require students to study, and try to achieve. Parents have to be involved in this, and if the vast majority of parents are absent, to busy, or unwilling to help motivate their children, then teachers will have a difficult time "instructing" students to do better...There has to be desire on the parts of the students, parents, and faculty to improve the situation.

2. Funding. St. Louis' tax base is pretty small, you said it yourself there are only 360,000 residents in an area that could easily accommodate 1 million +. Because the physical dimensions of the city haven't "downsized" like the population has many services are still needed city wide...which limits the amount of tax revenue available for education. So, you're stuck trying to find a way to attract more tax $$ to the area, a large influx of people would help, but they're not going to come unless the area is safe and the school district is good...both problems that are already prevalent.

My answer would be a city county merger for raising tax revenue. Use the money raised to improve the public school district of the city, and increase police effectiveness. Hopefully after the economy begins to muster itself together, building projects can begin again, maybe the North St.Louis renovation project, and if the scope is large enough it might allow more residents to move into the city....The only thing i'd worry aboutin that situation is what happens to the other areas in the county as people vacate to move closer to the city-proper?
That seems to be the major problem with almost all the cities in this part of the country.

I know it certainly is with Detroit, an even much worse off city. There are housing as low as $5,000 in Detroit...but the city collects back taxes that weren't paid by the previous owner....so even more discouragement for new people to take it over - so things just become abandoned instead. (You might purchase for 5K, but then pay an additional 80K on back taxes!)

Plus with horribly high property tax, crime-ridden neighborhoods, and not enough city services for people who do come in...all discouragements...so circular. So, in the end, it just makes sense to drive across that city line, and you get everything instead of nothing. So unfortunate.

Way too much doom and gloom. I think the disappointing thing, is that many of us really like these old cities, they just don't seem liveable at all!
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Unread 11-29-2010, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Volker, Kansas City, MO
12,062 posts, read 16,983,052 times
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The short answer is to improve the experience for the middle class. They pay the most in taxes and bring the most improvement to neighborhoods.

There are three key ways to do this (I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on other ways as well)

1. Bring new, specifically international and emerging markets, business to the area

2. Expansion of public transportation

3. Work to provide enough selective enrollment charter and magnet schools in the city for all the children who want/need them

The simple fact is that I think St. Louis has been doing a pretty great job at all of those three in the last decade, but with an older infrastructure, a lack of cache, midwestern weather patterns and a general dislike of the rust belt by many Americans, I don't think there's much room for immediate and radical changes to the city.

That said, I've been very impressed by the gradual but significant changes I have seen to St. Louis in the last couple decades, and I hope very much that this pace can continue.
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Unread 11-29-2010, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Volker, Kansas City, MO
12,062 posts, read 16,983,052 times
Reputation: 3579
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
That seems to be the major problem with almost all the cities in this part of the country.

I know it certainly is with Detroit, an even much worse off city. There are housing as low as $5,000 in Detroit...but the city collects back taxes that weren't paid by the previous owner....so even more discouragement for new people to take it over - so things just become abandoned instead. (You might purchase for 5K, but then pay an additional 80K on back taxes!)

Plus with horribly high property tax, crime-ridden neighborhoods, and not enough city services for people who do come in...all discouragements...so circular. So, in the end, it just makes sense to drive across that city line, and you get everything instead of nothing. So unfortunate.

Way too much doom and gloom. I think the disappointing thing, is that many of us really like these old cities, they just don't seem liveable at all!
Detroit is in a terrible Catch 22. They can't attract people to the city unless they get their crime under control and can regularly provide services people have come to expect like trash collection or replacing light bulbs on city streets, but they simply can't provide these services without any sort of tax base.

Even Detroit has seem some improvement like the other rust belt cities in the last decade or so, but they had fallen so far, it's exponentially harder for them to start moving again in a positive direction.
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Unread 11-29-2010, 08:07 AM
 
1,783 posts, read 1,779,136 times
Reputation: 1341
Quote:
Originally Posted by aragx6 View Post
The short answer is to improve the experience for the middle class. They pay the most in taxes and bring the most improvement to neighborhoods.

There are three key ways to do this (I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on other ways as well)

1. Bring new, specifically international and emerging markets, business to the area

2. Expansion of public transportation

3. Work to provide enough selective enrollment charter and magnet schools in the city for all the children who want/need them

The simple fact is that I think St. Louis has been doing a pretty great job at all of those three in the last decade, but with an older infrastructure, a lack of cache, midwestern weather patterns and a general dislike of the rust belt by many Americans, I don't think there's much room for immediate and radical changes to the city.

That said, I've been very impressed by the gradual but significant changes I have seen to St. Louis in the last couple decades, and I hope very much that this pace can continue.
Yes. Agree with most of the other posts as well. I think the city has been dealt a really horrible hand and all things considered, has done well.

It is important to remember that:

1) The city has roughly half as many homicides and half the violent crime rate of the early to mid 90's.

2) Downtown has gone from dozens of vacant buildings to less than 10.

3) Neighborhoods nobody would consider buying in 20 years ago now have a ton of properties listed over 200k (Benton Park, Soulard, Shaw, Tower Grove South).

4) Non-Catholic or families wanting public school options have a plethora of charter schools and the magnet program has expanded greatly.

5) Metrolink may not be as expansive as many of us would like, but remember many cities of our size have no light rail at all. And with the new line in 2006 and Prop A passed in April, I'm optimistic it will expand further.

6) Bosnians, Vietnamese, Mexicans, and other immigrants have made a huge positive mark on our city.

7) Our population is increasing for the first time in over half a century!

These reasons and more are why I'm convinced the city is moving in the right direction. It's slow but it's happening. St. Louis won't and shouldn't be a boom city. It should instead work toward being a model for slow, sustainable growth.

My recommendation above all else is simply more people. Above all else we need more people here. Which means we need more jobs, which means we need more employers. If there were an easy way to get this cycle started, all cities would be doing it. Exploiting the regions primary advantages of geographic central location, life science industry, low real estate prices, and universities should be on every local leaders agenda.

Unfortunately, with such fragmented government, local leaders waste more time battling each other than doing what it takes to lure major employers here. I do see a renewed sense of regional cooperation though, especially between the city and county...I just hope it's enough to get the jobs here that would really help St. Louis flourish.
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Unread 11-29-2010, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Clayton, MO
1,517 posts, read 1,765,231 times
Reputation: 405
You can't just "make the city schools better." Interesting article about throwing money at schools.



Quote:
Tough Lesson: More Money Doesn’t Help Schools; Accountability Does

"But research in economics provides strong evidence that policies focused on increasing schools’ resources have little or no effect on academic achievement." This is simply not true. By "increasing schools’ resources," they mean direct expenditure in districts on a per pupil basis. I think it's very important to point out that Ladue and Clayton, two of the most highly regarded school districts in the St. Louis metro area, spend $11,500 and nearly $15,000 per student (in 2003-2004 dollars). Recall that St. Louis public schools spent $9,500 that same period. These expenditures are on top of the fact that median income in Ladue and Clayton was $84K and $71K, respectively, while in St. Louis city it was about $22K.
So, the $9,500 spent on St. Louis city schools is not only significantly less than what is spent in two of the most highly regarded districts, but that money pales in comparison to the expenditures that wealthy parents in these areas are able to make on their kids’ educations in terms of summer camps, after-school tutoring, ballet and piano lessons, etc. Mix this with the fact that the parents are likely highly educated and bring to bear a different relationship to schools, studying, reading and academic achievement that their St. Louis city school peers do not bring. Moreover, a disproportionately high percentage of St. Louis city parents are single heads of household—a far cry from the suburban soccer moms who stay at home and whose full-time job is to raise her kids
St. Louis Fed | Publications

Last edited by moorlander; 11-29-2010 at 02:12 PM..
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