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Friday, May 30, 2008

Before I forget...my trainwreck!

I was in the Amtrak train that crashed on Tuesday! I forgot to include that in my post on my whirlwind trip back to St. Louis.

I could recount the story to you here, but in exaggerated and somewhat false form, the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger included me in its extended story, which can be accessed here.

My quote is below.

There was chaos on board the train, said passenger Matt Mourning of St. Louis.

"I was in the dining car, and all of a sudden there was a huge crash. I flew across the table, and my buddy who was with me flew out of the booth," he said. "Black smoke started coming inside, and one of the crew members told us to stay calm but my friend said we needed to get out, so he started tearing out the emergency windows."

Mourning said he and other passengers climbed out the window and ran away from the train, thinking it was going to explode.


No one jumped out of the windows of the train; my travel companion did, however, remove the dining car's emergency windows, since we thought the train was on fire below us. All passengers were herded out of an emergency exit door, not a window.


I'm also featured in the Associated Press article that ran nationwide, albeit in misspelled fashion (as "Matt Morning").


Despite the scariness of the collision, it is remarkable that no one died--including, to my present knowledge, the two men on the Waste Management truck. It's also amazing that the whole train didn't derail.


I will continue to support Amtrak, even if I think they need to rehaul their emergency procedures. You can't exactly wait for orders from the front of the train if that's the side that most often sees the worst of the damage.


What a crazy return home (the remaining 2 1/2 hours to New Orleans was completed by a pair of Coach busses)!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sam Adams for Mayor

Behold Sam Adams (that's not made up)--the nation's first big-city openly gay mayor, recently given the thumbs up by Portland, Oregon voters.

He highlights a quote from a "Scottish writer that no one has ever heard of" to tell of his vision for the city of Portland:

Work as if you were living in the early days of a better nation.


Better, not in the sense of superior, but younger, freer, more idealistic. With vision.

There are a lot of great quotables in this video about how to approach the future. Coming from a gay man--for so long barred from any major political arena--the message of ambition christened with a willingness to tackle the improbable is a poignant one. Not just for a growing urbanite's dream like Portland, but for the stalwart, foot-dragging St. Louis as well.

Here is the video.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What a trip!

I am back in the City of New Orleans.

My more than a week in St. Louis brought me to a couple new restaurants and such: you already heard about Onesto. In addition to that South Side pizza parlor, I went to Pi in the East Loop and tried Bridge and Tunnel downtown.

I visited old favorites like Hodak's and Crown Candy.

Besides eating (of which there was a lot), I just drove around, taking in the change and the unchanged.

The Tudor Building on Washington looked amazing. It's a very tangible sign of downtown's push westward. Some day Downtown West and Midtown will enjoy a seamless blend.

The 14th Street Mall project appears to chug along. But something is missing. What was demolished? I can't remember.

The general life and lushness of the city brought me to a positive realm not typically spoken of on this blog. Each time I visit St. Louis I am reminded of why it is I am so in love with it. It truly is a dusty attic with treasures being rediscovered by the day.

Even when I learned that the Preservation Board had approved the demolitions of the historic home on Lindell (on SLU's campus) and a series of irreplaceable warehouses on the riverfront--I couldn't let it sour my mood as KMOX launched a series of Blairmont stories.

There's an exciting, scary flux going on in this city. We are reaching a point that we must finally come up with a new identity for the city. Not as a fallen World's Fair era beauty, not as a wannabe Chicago, not as an even slower to change KC, and not as the city with the wholehearted embrace of urban renewal. We need to be something much more forward looking.

[Linkage and general post beautification to come; computer is acting up]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Onesto is a hit!

Sorry for the lack of updates. As you may have read in a previous post, I am in St. Louis for a while. Thus, I have many people tugging my arms in opposite directions.

Nevertheless, I feel compelled to take a break and recommend Onesto Pizza and Trattoria located at 5401 Finkman (at Macklind).

The place was absolutely packed last night. It was exhilarating to see such a crowd turn out in what is otherwise a sleepy and primarily residential neighborhood (Princeton Heights). If you enjoy the Racanelli's name, you'll love Onesto; it's Racanelli-owned.

However, Onesto is more of a sit-down, family-friendly environment. It's the perfect intersection of "chic" and accessible. Dining in front of the large window that overlooks the quaint neighborhood, you get the sense that this is what cities are all about. Families walk down the tidy sidewalks, in front of Tudor-style swooping gables perched on a modest hill, and into the restaurant. Some patrons wait outside on the patio, sipping at wines and striking up conversation.

It's exciting to be back in St. Louis. Great weather, great food, great city!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The epicenter of post-industry breathes new life into unlikely objects

How has Detroit turned these:



into this?:



Simple answer: innovation!

This is a truly brilliant take on infill in the context of the scarred, post-industrial cityscape of Detroit.

It surpasses St. Louis's best infill since its own renaissance: the elegant ArtHouse development in Grand Center.

Read more about the Detroit development here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

St. John the Baptist High School to close!

Today was not a good day.

Hearing this news is worse.

According to my parents, who attended a public meeting with pastor Fr. Edward Rice, St. John the Baptist High School will close. My mother said that the school simply can't pay the bills--and a declining enrollment doesn't help!

In a city where public education has been hopelessly starved and has atrophied, often these parochial schools are a last resort for families. These are families who can't afford housing elsewhere, who need public transportation, who have family ties to a neighborhood, or who simply prefer urban living.

I sort of thought this was inevitable, but that I expected it sooner or later doesn't soften the blow. This will be terrible for Bevo and greater South City as well.

It also places the future of the delightful church and its attendant campus (including the elementary school, my alma mater) in the "uncertain" category.

May there somehow be a last minute intervention! I wish. The school will not reopen for next school year in September.

I couldn't find a decent shot of the High School. Here is a picture of the Church and Rectory:



UPDATE (10:58p): Apparently, the decision will be made in the next 48 hours. It was communicated to the community that the chances are grim, however.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Police Department on Blairmont: "Are you meaning to accuse them of arson?"

Last week, I called the St. Louis Fire Department to see if they had read any of the bloggers' coverage of the arsons in Blairmontland. I wanted to see if they were aware of what we preservationists, community developers, and concerned residents all are: that Blairmont owns a lot of property in the arson-afflicted areas, and that they have a history of illegal demolitions and otherwise severely neglected property. The arsons might, in fact, be a cheaper way of realizing the slow process of demolitions that has occurred already.

The STLFD referred me to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. A detective (remember--I don't do names. I wrote down the phonetic spelling this time, but left it at work) returned my call today while I was at work.

Essentially, the conversation in my cubicle quickly became a trial of my logic and a defense of Blairmont. Also interesting was that the detective was fully aware of who or what "Blairmont" was, sometimes referring to the company as a "he" (Paul McKee, Jr.?). Read on.

As usual, this is NOT an exact transcript, just my memory of the exchange. If that sounds altogether too shaky for you to accept, feel free to disregard the post. I was pretty fired up (pun truthfully not intended), so a lot of what was said was burnt into my otherwise wont-to-falter memory.

Me: "I was just calling to see if the Police Department was aware of the owners of the property in that string of arsons last week in north St. Louis, because the Blairmont holding companies own almost all of them."

Detective: "Blairmont doesn't own them all, but, yes, we are looking into the case. Does that settle your question?"

Me: "Well, Blairmont owned nine out of eleven. That's a significant percentage."

Detective: "Well, they own a lot of buildings in the area, so that makes sense" [he laughs]

Me: "The LRA owns even more property, and not a single one of their buildings was burnt."

Det.: "Look. This city experiences arsons quite often. Are you suggesting Blairmont is committing arson? That's a pretty bold claim."

Me: "The arsons just happened to occur in the area that Blairmont is speculating within. Plus, there were eleven. I have been tracking the Blairmont companies through several websites and blogs. They routinely empty out occupied properties. At best, they remove the boards from the windows and at worst they seem to summon illegal brick rustlers. I fully believe that the case is pretty strong against Blairmont. They have an awful track record."

Det.: "I have been on the force for 14 years. These fires are not that uncommon. We've had problems with properties being vacant for years, long before Blairmont. And we've had a problem with arsons long before Blairmont too."

Me: "Well, then, let me ask you: in your 14 years, how often have 11 buildings been put up in flames in the same neighborhood in one night?"

Det.: "It's happened at least two or three times."

Me: "Two or three times doesn't seem like a lot to me. I'd say that this is a pretty suspicious occurrence. Especially when you consider that Blairmont has to take action by June in order to collect on a tax credit act he secured for land acquisition up there in north St. Louis."

Det.: "Why would he burn the buildings? That ruins the brick. Brick rustlers wouldn't want them burned."

Me: "To my knowledge, the fire helps separate the bricks from the wood so they're ready to be stacked and carted away."

Det.: "That's not my understanding. I have to disagree with that. The bricks get charred."

Me: "Well, I'm just stating what I've read on some architecture websites and blogs. Plus, the arsons make for cheaper demolitions, do they not?"

Det.: "I don't think so. I mean, the owner still has to clear away the rubble. I think it might cost more to do it that way."

Me: "I don't have the numbers on that, but I've always thought it would be cheaper to have a fire take down a building, along with brick rustlers, than it is to hire a demolition contractor to take down 75 acres worth of buildings."

Det.: "I don't think so. I think the owner still pays for all that."

Me: "Well, even if you're ready to dismiss that Blairmont might have started the fires themselves, you have to treat Blairmont properties as especially dangerous considering how often they're subjected to brick rustling, demolition by neglect, and arson. Even if it is coincidence, you have to look at the fate of each one of his buildings. They're falling down. One blogger has taken photos for the past 70 days of Blairmont properties. Like clockwork, after Blairmont gets to them, they're turned into rubble and brick rustlers get to them. Seems a little odd to me. If I were conducting an investigation of the arsons, I'd be suspicious of Blairmont. I'm not saying that it's a clear and demonstrable fact, but there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to warrant an investigation, I think."

Det.: "I have to prove. I can't go on that kind of evidence. So you're wanting to accuse them of arson. That's pretty bold."

Me: "Blairmont has shown such a demonstrable lack of care for its properties in north St. Louis that it's hard to ignore what's happening. I would suggest you visit the blog I'm talking about. It has pictures--before and afters and stuff."

Det.: "What is it?"

Me: "builtstlouis.blogspot.com"

Det.: "Well, I will look into this. Thanks for calling."

Me: "Yeah. Thanks for your time."



The detective's tone bordered on mockery. It sounded as if he was tasked with deflecting public criticism and scrutiny in light of the strong case one could make against Blairmont.


If the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is not outraged by the endangerment of city residents enough to further investigate (perhaps indirect) foul play by Blairmont, what hope do any grassroots groups and citizens have to fight the urban renewal scheme--or at least involve themselves in it?


Sure makes you wonder.

Coming up...

My recounting of this morning's surprising phone conversation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department regarding Blairmont and last week's suspicious string of arsons.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Carfree in New Orleans

It's often said that urbanists with cars are hypocrites.

Make that one less swerving, cussing, cell-phoning hypocrite on the roads of New Orleans. The car broke down into a billowy smoke stack last week. It's time to sell it and move on.

Despite potholes that could double as foxholes, unexpected monsoon rains, and a humid air often described as "clam chowder", my summer in New Orleans will very likely be spent biking and walking.

Which means, I need a bike. ASAP.

I will see you all in St. Louis on May 16th.

No thank you, Enterprise. I'm hopping on the Amtrak!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mid Century Madness!

Get over to Toby Weiss's B.E.L.T. now if you already haven't.

My head was spinning in bedazzlement at the MCM wonders of Lindell Boulevard.

While B.E.L.T. ignores the buildings that detract from Lindell's space age streetscape, my mind drifted to the Lindell Marketplace. It's nice that the shopping center seems to have little trouble leasing space. But think of all of that activity brought closer to the Lindell block face. It could really add a lot. Instead, the front expanse of parking dominates and projects the image of a rundown suburb. Walgreens...I'm looking at you too! Check out the site plan of Lindell Marketplace.



At least there are now some "outparcels" that front Lindell! That's about the best you can hope for with THF, known for the dismally anti-urban Maplewood Commons, among others.


The new Jack in the Box will be popular, I'm sure, but would you want the fast food chain as your neighbor? The soon-to-be residents of the Villas of St. Louis development have little choice in the matter. If they're not satisfied with a Sourdough Jack, there are Big Macs and Bacon Beef and Cheddars nearby as well.

I digress far too much.

Lindell is a gem of an urban street. It has an impressive array of buildings old and new. It would be a shame to see the San Luis Apartments be senselessly removed from that more than functional equation.

Surely there's something negative to say about Lindell besides the Marketplace, right? Of course! It cries out for a central median (recall my plea for New Orleans style-neutral grounds). These medians offer greenery and serve as islands for pedestrians all at once. They slow down traffic and can even serve as jogging paths.

Toby's post shows (exhaustively) how Lindell has the elements to be a great street. The role of the city and the public should be to demand it see its potential.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

St. Louis Economic Development booms outside city limits; what does it mean for the city of St. Louis?

From SiteSelection.com, which honored the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association as one of the country's most active:

The River City welcomes visitors who want to pass through the famed Arch on the Mississippi and catch a glimpse of America's expansionist past. But the people and businesses of St. Louis are equally focused on the city's growth-marked future.

That focus is spearheaded by the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association, which in 2007 put up eye-popping numbers in corporate projects, jobs and capital investment. With 95 facility deals, St. Louis ranked third in the nation. The projects totaled $1.517 billion in investment and accounted for 3,555 new jobs throughout the bi-state region.

Topping the project list were Abengoa Bioenergy's $200-million ethanol plant in Madison, Ill., and VeraSun Energy's $150-million ethanol plant in Granite City, Ill. The biggest employment impacts came from Monsanto Corp., which announced 224 new jobs in Chesterfield, Mo., and American Family Insurance, which created 221 positions at a call center in Creve Coeur, Mo.

"Since we rolled out a $21-million economic development campaign in 2005 and launched a branding effort in the first quarter of 2006, we've seen our deal flow triple," says Dick Fleming, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association. "The only disappointment is to be behind Chicago in anything. We will strive to overtake Chicago."

If the first quarter of 2008 is any indication, Fleming may be on his way to getting his wish. Through the first three months of the year, the RCGA had made the short list on 90 facility projects. "Those represent 14,000 jobs and over $3 billion in potential new capital investment," says Fleming.


We will be behind Chicago forever if our metropolitan area continues to be considered a "doughnut" by potential investors.


Part of the solution, of course, is to attract local economic development, where money stays in the local economy. New jobs are great--but when we have municipalities with greater resources than the city fighting over jobs that will depart from the region in a decade anyway, something is wrong.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ban Beige!

An interesting article came out of the New Orleans City Business newspaper the other day.

Beige, as in, the bland color of any wall of any home that you paint when you put it up for sale, is taking over New Orleans. The color's a pinch earthy and an overflow of drab neutrality. Beige is the facade color of choice in Uptown New Orleans, an area that once echoed the lower income downriver neighborhoods' vivacious pallets.

If you've never been to New Orleans, the range of hues you will see on homes will instantly transport you out of the U.S. and straight into Latin America. "That pink house" no longer has such power and landmark status as it might in St. Louis. In the Crescent City, that pink house may be on every other block!

So why is the encroachment of beige on once colorful blocks important?

“A very simple house will look fine in one color,” he said. “But a very elaborate Victorian house generally looks better if you pay attention to detail, if you acknowledge it. It needn’t be bold detail, but you want to do something.”


Such neutrality in a city that has staked its claim based on boldness and a highly unconventional atmosphere is in fact damaging. And it's not so much a historic issue in Uptown. After all, as the article notes, bright shades are more of a downriver phenomenon, in areas that trace their roots to settlement by free people of color. It's aesthetics. It's about standing out, not selling out.


St. Louis, as I've noted before, needs a heavy punch of color. Its red brick block faces are austere and imposing. I'm not recommending running amok with a paint roller and covering the intricacy of the brickwork in our fine town. Rather, this is a reprimand of new construction in the city.


Don't try to replicate 19th century brickmasons! Make it a bold and innovative design that evokes the greatness of the old without dumbing it down!


Most of all, use color!


Our little red bricked blushing city needs it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Can we go back? Please?


Monday, May 5, 2008

As North St. Louis Burns

A dozen homes in flames in JeffVanderLou and St. Louis Place. Some are owned by Blairmont. The conspiracy theory curtains open to reveal a bald truth. Our mayor (who else?) rushes to enshroud the naked figure in a shadowy blanket by doing and saying nothing.

Audre Lorde has a fitting poem, especially having read Curious Feet St. Louis's chillingly true declaration:

I promise you that Paul McKee does not sit up at night, hearing rounds of sirens and wondering, nervously, nervously, what buildings near his home must be burning. I promise you he doesn’t live like this.


Future Promise

This house will not stand forever.
The windows are sturdy
but shuttered
like individual solutions
that match one at a time.

The roof leaks.
On persistent rainy days
I look up to see
the gables weeping
quietly.

The stairs are sound
beneath my children
but from time to time
a splinter leaves
imbedded in a childish foot.

I dream of stairways
sagging
into silence
well used and satisfied
with no more need
for changelessness

Once
freed from constancy
this house
will not stand
forever.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

When Credit is Due...

I have to hand it to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at times. Just when I'm ready to write it off as a tabloid unconcerned with St. Louis's myriad urban issues, it produces an article of journalistic excellence.

A previous such article is "A Tax-Credit Bill for One Man?" by Jake Wagman (written on my birthday in 2007 (June 17)--a present just for me?). Wagman's article was so balanced (perhaps even biased towards the beleaguered Blairmont-afflicted neighborhoods) that it drew fire from Mayor Slay. In a city where Mr. Slay was able to recruit the National Trust for Historic Preservation to supply a fluff piece about the "unfortunate need" to demolish the Century Building in that same newspaper, Wagman's criticism of the deathly silence at City Hall was astonishing.

The latest gold star for the P-D comes in the form of "Charles Lee 'Cookie' Thornton: Behind the smile". The shootings at the Kirkwood City Hall back in February of this year by "Cookie" shocked the nation. But the article seems to indicate that the city of Kirkwood had become inured to Cookie's explosive behavior, watching his deterioration without wondering why.

My point is not to exonerate Cookie. What happened at City Hall is inexcusable. But the article does display the bitter irony of Negro Removal that I hinted at in my previous post, which also mentioned Cookie's Meacham Park neighborhood.

Poor African American neighborhoods are often so neglected that, when they do get any sort of attention, even if the form of urban renewal, the residents are often complicit in the plans. City leaders can then point to residents' willingness to sell their homes as evidence that there's no will or way to salvage these neighborhoods.

Truly, the burden of proof should be on the municipalities who neglected the neighborhoods, who ushered in or failed to halt the decline in the first place.

Instead, they become humanitarians--givers of fresh new housing, destroyers of dilapidated old housing; bringers of Wal-Mart and Target, takers of hopelessness and blight.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Visit Carondelet Bakery!


This is the second small business spotlight; the first can be found here.

Business: Carondelet Bakery
Category: Bakery/Desserts
Neighborhood: The Patch [In the "Ivory Triangle"]
Location: 7726 Virginia Ave., St. Louis, MO 63111
Contact: 314-638-3519
Hours: ???
Amenable to: sweet tooths, brides- and grooms-to-be, other celebrations
Prices: Contact the bakery to get prices!

At 22, with most of my friends at least a little bit older than that, it's prime time to begin the lifelong journey of marital bliss. June is the "wedding-est" month of the year, after all, and it's almost upon us. Several friends will be getting married soon.


I beseech them, and you, to try out the Carondelet Bakery for wedding cake needs. The small storefront is one of St. Louis's oldest commercial establishments, opened in 1875--when the city of St. Louis was still part of St. Louis County. I'm not saying longevity equals quality, but think of Crown Candy. There is a reason these businesses have weathered downturns and "chain-ification" in their respective markets.





Sure, its siding-clad frontage was probably not a feature of the nineteenth century structure. Even so, the rarity of neighborhood bakeries these days renders this business historic and important to St. Louis and Carondelet/The Patch alike.

I have ordered a de-lish coconut cake from the bakery that was probably the best cake I've ever had in my life. The recipient of the cake echoed my sentiments.

Plus, if you're in the neighborhood and don't want or need a whole cake, there is a variety of other baked goods, including cookies, that you can get on the quick and on the cheap.

Another great thing: it's in a quaint business district (called the Ivory Triangle) that's definitely up and coming. The newly refurbished Ivory Theater in the antebellum St. Boniface Catholic Church's old digs is an architectural gem and it's a block away. The recently opened Ivory Coast Bistro is right across the street.

I recommend walking the streets of the historic and once independent town of Carondelet, now called the Patch, for its delightful hodgepodge of housing (including some 1850s German row houses on Stein, not far from cutesy 1960s bungaloid infill). When you do, stop by the Carondelet Bakery to step in the past and to support local--even if it's just a cookie!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blairmont Footprint Map - St. Louis Place, #3

This is the northeastern wedge of St. Louis Place, between North Florissant (west and north), North Market (south), and North 21st St. (east).

You know the drill:

Red = Blairmont (and other various McKee LLCs which are listed here)

Blue = LRA/LCRA property

Gray = Private/Institutional/NON-LRA or LCRA/NON-Blairmont

White = Stuff I didn't get to yet!




Blairmont rarely occupies a block without accompanying LRA/LCRA properties nearby. Hmm...sure makes one think.

They also own a beautiful home at 1930 St. Louis Avenue (Click the link for a bird's eye view). I fear for the future of this ghost white Chateausque beauty.

Check out the second map here.

Check out the first map here.

"Negro Removal" stalled in Richmond Heights' Hadley Township: given St. Louis history, it will likely go through

Another St. Louis area historic black community has been under siege--but Richmond Heights' Hadley Township may just get a reprieve.

Developers of the $190 million "Hadley Center"--to include "a 150-room hotel, offices, shops, restaurants, 153 houses and 48 condos on 50 acres south of Highway 40 (Interstate 64) and east of Hanley Road"--have been stuck in litigation with area homeowners and now are unsure whether the project will move forward in light of the recent economic downturn.

Take a look at one of the model homes proposed for the development:




If you think it looks like a McBride & Son Homes concoction, then you've won the grand prize! The design is strikingly similar to a group of homes featured at their other Negro Removal project that went through in 2004--McRee Town's razing for Botanical Heights.

Margaret Gillerman of the Post writes:

Hadley Township was founded in 1907 as a company town for Evens-Howard brick workers, many of whom were blacks migrating from the South. Some residents' families have been there for several generations.In the two years since the plan was revealed, some residents moved, some died and at least one house burned. The neighborhood still appears vibrant, if fraying.

Bert Coleman said he needs to be paid so he can put his 91-year-old mother in assisted living.Another resident, JoAnn Bailey, said: "If we can stay, we will stay and be happy. If not, give us our money in 30 days and stop holding us hostage."

Sure, you could make the argument that race has little to do with this urban renewal scheme. The dreary shopping center and squandered transit-oriented development opportunity known as Maplewood Commons has already risen and delivered the area into the open arms of big box commerce. I'm not sure I would want to remain in the area given its character now as an imitation of congested exurbia complete with a super-sized Wal Mart.

Still, the "coincidence" that another black neighborhood would be sacrificed for the goal to transform Mid-County into one big strip shopping center is nevertheless disappointing.

The city of Kirkwood annexed the controversial and mostly African-American Meacham Park neighborhood in 1991. Previously, it was an unicorporated area. What did they do with the land they acquired via annexation? Eminent domain the western 1/3 for a Target store, a couple outparcel mini-boxes, and, of course, a Wal Mart.

The city of Kinloch--the state of Missouri's first incorporated black community--has been assaulted by airport expansion. It lost three quarters of its population and housing in 1990s. Ironically, Paul McKee, Jr.'s own NorthPark development rests within the boundaries of Kinloch. McKee plans to use the land that was taken from the former residents of Kinloch to develop a sprawling industrial park with ample water features. Maybe he would be good for redeveloping St. Louis's north side!

Of course, the list of black neighborhoods demolished by the City of St. Louis during the official urban renewal days is quite sad. The largest are DeSoto-Carr, which gave way to Pruitt Igoe, and Mill Creek Valley, a neighborhood of some 20,000 residents. More recent examples include aforementioned McRee Town as well as Blairmont's demolition by neglect and brick rustling neighborhoods (St. Louis Place and JeffVanderLou, chiefly).

The St. Louis area has a long history of ignoring its African American population until it is convenient to seize their low-valued land and "humanely" remove them from the blight that failed urban policy and structural racism helped to create in the first place.

It's all very convenient for the private developers of publicly subsidized big box shopping centers and industrial park developers in Missouri and in St. Louis, the state's most reliable and willing experimenter.

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