St. Louis City Talk

St. Louis City Talk Update

Holy crap, I'm edging toward one million page loads on this blog...never thought that'd happen. Anyhow, I've been pursuing the personal goals of writing for pleasure and promoting St. Louis as a great city to live/explore since 2008. I started making lists of public places and photographing, researching and writing about them one by one.

Neighborhoods, parks, libraries, fire houses, you name it, I like making lists and setting goals and sharing my findings with other like-minded people. The experience has been positive overall and I plan on continuing to write on this blog into the near future. It keeps me learning about my city and I never want to be stagnant when it comes to my opinions on St. Louis stuff.

So with that in mind, it feels like the right time to start updating some of the older blogs starting with the neighborhood posts. For instance, I looked back at my Gate District post from 2010 and think I could've done better. This is a part of the city that confused me when I lived farther away; I've since moved to a neighborhood just south of here about five years ago and have spent a lot more time in these parts. We routinely visit a couple friends who live here, my wife now works here, my kids use the St. Louis University track complex here, I've come to love shopping at Walter Knoll for all my landscaping needs and I didn't know Maya Angelou was born here back then. I guess what I'm trying to say is, my perspective has changed. I know more now and maybe I didn't give the Gate District a fair shake back in 2010. I at least have a more personal perspective.

One of the most fun things about a city is that it is constantly evolving, changing and reinventing itself in many ways. This keeps me curious and excited about a place I feel like I know pretty well, but constantly surprises me.

So while I'll be updating some content, I won't delete photos, because I like capturing the city in a particular time. But, I will update content including revised census data, updated park and library links and content related to new development/major demolitions.

And then I'll work on updating the blog to a proper website. I had scheduled a class at the community college in the suburbs to transfer the Blogger site to a website to give it a more modern feel; but life stuff got in the way and I had to cancel. So at this point, I will be seeking out a website design firm to make this thing look better, and if you have any advice on good web designers (in the city of course) I'd gladly accept them.

Anyhow, as far as updated blogs, I started with the Gate District for reasons previously stated; but, going forward I'll update the neighborhood posts in the order of most read, starting with the top ten:

I'll then follow up with some the neighborhoods that have changed the most (by my estimation) in the past five or ten years.  So thank you all for reading and following along the way. I am so grateful to have a hobby that keeps me intellectually stimulated and has brought new acquaintances and/or friendships into my life.

All the best,

Mark

10 Observations From a City Dweller

10 quick thoughts from an STL lover/resident:
  1. If just 20% of the properties in my neighborhood changed hands from slumlord landlord to owners with dignity, 80% of our problems would subside. There is a common rule of thumb in business and statistics that says 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  Read about the 80:20 rule, or the Pareto principle here.
  2. I feel after 8 years in St. Louis Public Schools, my kids are getting about as good a public education as you can in the region.  I feel like I have the tools to understand my options should I need to make a move, they are here:  www.stlcityschools.org
  3. It would be great to perform neighborhood-wide tree surveys.  This could lead to sensible and calculated plantings of new Missouri natives street trees planted and harvest the dying/misplaced/dead ones and make firewood for the city to sell/give away.  This would go a long way to improving curb appeal.  Has anyone out there done this? I think it would be awesome to completely plant an entire neighborhood.  The benefits of street trees are undeniable.
  4. Weird to say, but these days downtown feels less dead at night and more so during the day.  Lots of jobs lost at AT&T, etc.
  5. I am amazed at the amount of development between I-44 and Delmar.  I love what's happening in the middle part of the city.
  6. After visiting and writing about nearly all of our 111 parks, I think our department heads in the city should have valid credentials/experience.  For instance, the forestry dept head should be an arborist and the park's dept head an urban planner, etc.  We have a beautiful park system, but there is no leadership or vision that I'm aware of to elevate or maintain our parks.  It is done on a ward by ward basis by politicians vs. the park's dept.
  7. I am weening myself off of social media...it really changes the way you are viewed by people who don't really even know you.  It is an obvious advancement for our society, but at the same time, I don't necessarily think it benefits my life or my goals.  Reading the Circle by Dave Eggars is helping me frame this technology.  His fictional concept of privacy vs. transparency has changed my worldview on social media and the information age.
  8. If I hear one more suburbanite from the inner ring suburbs tell me what is wrong with St. Louis and why they left my head is going to explode.  You are either part of the problem or the solution.  Quitting and moving is the easy part.  Abandonment and apathy are legacies that take much more time to heal.
  9. It seems like the Post-Dispatch has been more accurately reporting locations in their stories.  They are becoming less lazy in saying "St. Louis man murders 2"...now they are getting it right and saying Bel-Nor man murders 2 in Jennings...baby steps are important in understanding our region and who we are.  #Ferguson has been huge in building accuracy in reporting and honestly talking about our region vs. tagging everything to St. Louis.  The honesty is refreshing.  The people of Ferguson are the ones who can vote out the old ways and build new policies and ways of doing business.  The ball is in their court and I'll watch and hope for the best on the sidelines; wish I could vote for change, but that's not how we are structured.  It's Ferguson's problem to fix.
  10. We are a zero to negative growth region, meaning St. Louis and St. Louis County are collectively losing population...together...for the first time in STL County history.  When this is the case, regional battles exist for jobs, tax base and residents.  As it stands today, Clayton is St. Louis' greatest competitor for jobs.  Centene expanding in Ferguson is great for Ferguson, but another snub to St. Louis.  Remember BPV/Cordish and Centene parting ways?  Centene surely hasn't forgotten, and they are doubling down in the burbs...not St. Louis.  A central, bustling city mean a lot more to me than a sprawling region of suburban campus and "job centers". 

Following St. Louis City Talk Via Facebook

A friend recently pointed out that I should add a Facebook page.  I already have a Facebook group, which is by invitation only.

So after giving it some thought, why not have both?  If you want to read my personal thoughts on current events and chime in with a discussion, go to the group.  If you just want to be notified of new and future posts/topics for St. Louis City Talk, "like" the page.

Here are links to both:

St. Louis City Talk Facebook Discussion Group

St. Louis City Talk Facebook Page

Thanks for reading.  Viva St. Louis!