Daydream #384

Closed on the warehouse...dimes became dollars and everything came together. No insurance yet, no loans. Friends and confidants landed at the right time. The ping-pong table will be 3rd floor southwest corner. The drum set is not in the basement anymore, probably near the bar now. Those chickens won't jump off the roof, right? Ride your bike to the warehouse and bring your tube amp and practice away...lock the doors...and call me if you need me. Everyone is invited. The club is open. Smoke got thick, walked to the Purple Martin for a Purple Martin and walked home safe.

(Bohemian warehouse dreams continue in Fox Park...)

Daydream # 383

The housing market has seen a downturn no doubt. But people still need a roof over their heads. We still have and need a diverse set of housing stock to meet the ups and downs of a housing market that can appeal to both prospective owners and renters and lessees. Rentals, townhouses, single family homes...all coexisting to create a whole neighborhood.

There are many, many re-habbers making great progress in this city. I've seen them as far north as Riverview and as far south as the Patch. People that care and want to see properties brought back to life while making a living seems like the perfect match. Grassroots efforts are WAY more impactful for the long term health of our neighborhoods and our city as a whole than the huge entertainment projects like Ballpark "Village" (no residential?), Bottle District, etc. that get so much attention around town.

I drive down many dilapidated streets and see a property being rehabbed and I laud the efforts of these folks, but I can't help but feel like their efforts are overwhelmed by the staggering amount of negativity and neglect that surrounds their noble efforts in some parts of the city. On the other hand, I've seen some homes being renovated on streets in Tower Grove South, Shaw, Lafayette Square or Soulard that are the last shell or rehab available on the block...the icing on the cake so to speak. Both are important, and there's so much left to be done.

So why not call all re-habbing hands on deck to work together in a concerted fashion to work toward transforming and marketing streets, blocks, neighborhoods to new residents. The sweeping power of an effort of this scale would be overwhelming. Money would more easily be made if folks worked together to reclaim an entire street. Resources could be pooled.

An entire neighborhood, take Fox Park for example, which is working toward extending its historic status south of Shenandoah to cover the entire neighborhood could be a perfect case study for this type of effort. Start on Ann Street and work south to the end of the neighborhood. Market the neighborhood to renters, owners and lessees. Work toward drawing small business, the local and national press and everyone else to take notice of the concerted efforts to take a single neighborhood on the fringe and elevate it to a regional showplace.

I have always said that bringing a vacant property back to life is the single greatest thing one can do for the betterment of St. Louis. Taking a 4 family down to a 2 family townhouse or a 2 family to a single family dwelling is what we need. We have a city built for 1 million when we only have ~350,000 residents. We should prepare for a solid 500,000.

Hey I can dream can't I?

Yours truly is getting ready to toss our hat in the ring....more on those adventures in 2011.

Daydream # 382

You have a 12% chance of meeting a true St. Louisian in this metropolitan area.

St. Louisians account for 354,361 of the total 2,871,421 citizens of the metropolitan area.

For what it's worth, I feel a general bond with my fellow St. Louisans. In very general terms, I feel like we're all on the same team, aware of the same pluses and minuses that the city has to offer. It doesn't matter which of the 79 neighborhoods of the city you live in, you are a St. Louisian and I can get behind that.

Daydream #380

Wouldn't it be great if the new Metro president could revolutionize the way Metro is structured for funding and to whom Metro is tasked with providing services to? A whole new philosophy for providing light rail and bus service to the metropolitan region.

By that I mean, a new strategy where Metro focuses on St. Louis and St. Clair County (the 2 regions that appear to value light rail and bus service). Remove St. Louis county from the overall funding and voting equation. The county voters have consistently voted down Metrolink light rail expansion and funding for Metro. Why not let the counties go to a fee for service where STL, St. Charles, Franklin, Jefferson counties would only get limited service from Metro and they would pay for it directly. All federal and state general funds would go directly to Metro who would in turn focus strictly on St. Louis City/Metro East light rail expansion and limited/focused/phased down bus service. Doesn't that make sense?

I think the county has made it clear that they do not value public transportation, so let's allow Metro to focus on those that do.

I'd like to see a comprehensive plan in my lifetime to immediately focus on connecting all parts of the city with light rail and scale back bus services. This only seems possible if we have a change in leadership and philosophies on the role of public transport in the metropolitan region. This only seems possible if we focus on St. Louis and the metro east. Let the sprawling regions pay for the services their people truly want. If St. Charles doesn't want buses and light rail, fine. If St. Louis county doesn't want it fine. Let them pick and choose who/where gets limited services. Maybe just a rush hour rapid bus service to the main employment pods would make more sense for those regions. Let the city operate 24/7 with the most expansive and comprehensive service. This would allow St. Louis to leverage itself as THE best public transit option and connected city in the region. This might draw those that value public transport to the city from the surrounding regions.

Metrolink is great at getting people to major entertainment attractions and institutions, we need to focus now on getting people to and from work and school via light rail and short walks.

Hey, I can dream can't I?

Daydreams #376-379

#376 It's easy to feel down about St. Louis when it comes to the mindless demolition of beautiful old buildings. Count your blessings, at least we have beautiful old building and people that care about them. If you live in Ballwin, no one cares and there's nothing historic or worth caring about.

#377 I never have a lack of new places to visit and restaurants to try in St. Louis. Last weekend I rode the Riverfront Trail for the first time. This weekend, I'll be enjoying Live on the Levee for the first time. Both are free.

#378 I didn't think we'd have this much trouble selling our home. Statistically we live in the safest neighborhood in the city. It's on a quiet street with a park and paved bike path across the street. It has a lot of sqft for a reasonable price. Brand new kitchen and bath. Check it out if you are in the market.

#379 University City, Maplewood and Clayton are all very livable suburbs. I wish they could be annexed by St. Louis.

Daydream #367

sitting there and his cellphone went off
"Bad To The Bone" ringtone
and wondering how I could have lost respect any quicker
man, I gotta get out of here
12th ward blues are still blue

Daydream #368

The drum set was a good idea, right?
It was only 5 bucks
It has a bass kick, snare, crash and tom
Rhythm is important in the formative years
She shuddered when I mentioned adding cowbell