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Old 02-18-2014, 01:57 PM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
Reputation: 1849

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So I was wondering to myself-how big would St. Louis be in population and area if it were to absorb all of its inner suburbs (IE Clayton, Webster Groves, U City, all those little fiefdoms in North County, etc.)? Having a lot of free time today, I decided to find out. I created a theoretical situation in which the city of St. Louis absorbed these municipalities and Census-Designated Places:

-Clayton
-Richmond Heights
-Maplewood
-University City
-Shrewsbury
-Brentwood
-Bellefontaine Neighbors
-Webster Groves
-Affton
-Lemay
-Bella Villa
-Marlborough
-St. George
-Mackenzie
-Lakeshire
-Wilbur Park
-Beverly Hills
-Country Club Hills
-Flordell Hills
-Glen Echo Park
-Greendale
-Hanley Hills
-Hillsdale
-Jennings
-Moline Acres
-Northwoods
-Norwood Court
-Pagedale
-Pasadena Hills
-Pasadena Park
-Pine Lawn
-Riverview
-Uplands Park
-Velda City
-Velda Village Hills
-Vinita Park
-Vinita Terrace
-Wellston
-Normandy
-Castle Point
-Glasgow Village


and added their areas and populations together, and then added those to the city. The result: an area of 118.96 square miles and a population of 542,515. It would put St. Louis 33rd in population among US cities.

So what are your thoughts on this little experiment? What kind of effects would St. Louis see from this theoretical merger if (and that's a big "if") it took place, outside of these numerical differences? Would it be a good or bad thing? Anything else you'd like to add?
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:31 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
1,221 posts, read 2,380,529 times
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Is there a reason why you didn't include everything inside 270? Or would it be too hard to calculate the population in unincorporated areas? What's amazing is that, even at 118.96 sq mi, St. Louis would still be on the geographically small side. Kansas City is 319.03. Memphis is 324.0.

It'd be great if the city had that kind of population and tax base, but my biggest concern about any consolidation or merger would be that the middle class would simply flee and we'd have the same problems we do now, just in a larger area. There is precedent for this in other cities that can annex freely. I'm not anti-reunification, but I'm also not very keen on the idea of Columbia becoming the new westernmost suburb of St. Louis.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:24 AM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
Reputation: 1849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn10am View Post
Is there a reason why you didn't include everything inside 270? Or would it be too hard to calculate the population in unincorporated areas? What's amazing is that, even at 118.96 sq mi, St. Louis would still be on the geographically small side. Kansas City is 319.03. Memphis is 324.0.

It'd be great if the city had that kind of population and tax base, but my biggest concern about any consolidation or merger would be that the middle class would simply flee and we'd have the same problems we do now, just in a larger area. There is precedent for this in other cities that can annex freely. I'm not anti-reunification, but I'm also not very keen on the idea of Columbia becoming the new westernmost suburb of St. Louis.
Yeah, I agree with you on this-St. Louis' inner suburbs are too well developed and established to be annexed by the city. For example, Clayton is well developed because it serves as sort of a city outside of the city-a center for local corporations outside of the city itself. Annexing it into the city would probably strip it of that status and send it into decline.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:10 AM
 
1,478 posts, read 2,083,444 times
Reputation: 1584
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Yeah, I agree with you on this-St. Louis' inner suburbs are too well developed and established to be annexed by the city. For example, Clayton is well developed because it serves as sort of a city outside of the city-a center for local corporations outside of the city itself. Annexing it into the city would probably strip it of that status and send it into decline.

The other issue is that from an economic perspective, I doubt STL would want to combine with only the inner ring suburbs (even with places like Clayton included). Municipalities want two things when it comes to budgeting:

1) certainty
2) a stable to growing tax base

The city has just about bottomed out with respect to household loss. It also has more pockets of fairly substantial income growth and property value growth. From a revenue generation standpoint things are finally starting to stabilize.

The inner suburbs (at least almost of suburbs outside of the central corridor) are experiencing the same issues that the city has over the past few decades: population decline, household income reductions, etc. Revenues in these areas will decline further, unless rates go up (which can lead to additional population loss in a cyclical manner). They're also lower density, which means as the revenues decline, infrastructure provisions are more adversely affected.

It's not a coincidence that we've seen more talk of a city-county consolidation in the past few years than ever before. STL County is in the midst of what the city has had to deal with for several decades. The advantages of remaining separate from the city and other municipalities isn't what it used to be, so people are at least willing to discuss the possibility. I don't think it will happen because things move to slowly around here for sweeping changes like this to occur. The can will get kicked down the road another 20 years and by that time it will be completely obvious the city wants no part of it.
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