November 2019 ENA General Meeting Notes
Ellendale Neighborhood Association Meeting – November 11, 2019
Approval of Minutes, September Meeting
Approval of September 2019 meeting notes deferred until January 2020 meet to give members additional opportunity to review.
Alderman Bret Narayan (24th Ward)
BOARD OF FREEHOLDERS: process – history given about St. Louis City/County separation and St. Louis’s unique status as an independent city. Per recent voter petition, a meeting of a Board of Freeholders has been called. Representation on this board: 9 members from St. Louis City appointed by Mayor; 9 members from St. Louis County appointed by County Executive; 1 member neither from City nor County and appointed by Missouri Governor. This meeting has the potential to enable the City & County working together on maybe combining some services (the creation of Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is an example). St. Louis County members and Governor’s appointed member have been named. Mayor Lyda Krewson has submitted her names to the Board of Alderman for approval, but they have not been confirmed. The Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs has not passed their names out of committee to the full board of aldermen. The Board of Freeholders has a meeting tomorrow (Sept 12). City will not be represented at this meeting. The City’s Board of Alderman are concerned about disparity between north-side and south-side representation. Also many aldermen learned about the nominees via Twitter instead of vetting names privately to aldermanic committee members.
Question – Who are the nine persons from the City as recommended by Mayor Lyda Krewson?
Answer - Ald. Narayan will forward to ENA for publication.
UPDATE (11/12/2019): Abdul-Kaba Abdullah (executive director of Park Central Development); Bridget Flood (executive director of Incarnate Word Foundation); LaShana Lewis (diversity consultant); Taunia Allen Mason (28th Ward Republican Committeewoman); James Mathis (partner at Husch Blackwell); Rev. Earl Nance Jr. (pastor at Greater Mount Carmel); Eddie Roth (attorney and former editorial writer for St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Jerry Schlicter (senior partner at Schlichter Bogard & Denton); Dan Zdrodowski (attorney at Hais, Hais, & Goldberger)
UPDATE (11/19/2019): LaShana Lewis, Abdulla Abdul-Kaba, Rev. Earl Nance Jr., and Taunia Allen Mason replaced with Antonio French (former 21st Ward alderman); Dwinderlin Evans (4th Ward Democratic Committeewoman); JoAnn Williams (retired Carpenter’s Union); Jon-Pierre Mitchom (director of equity and inclusion at St. Louis Priory School)
Question – Is there a legal clause or similar legislation that can help with impasses such as this, the Board of Freeholders process being governed by constitutional amendment?
Answer - There is no such clause currently. Process is designed to give autonomy to both City and County governments. Would require another Missouri State constitutional amendment to alter the process.
UNION STATION: Redevelopment looks like a success story. Construction remains underway. New aquarium and ferris wheel should both be major attractions for the City. Initial plans for new MLS stadium will be nearby as well. MLS expansion team owners are not looking for lot of TIF or abatements to build the new stadium, so there would not be sizable publicly-funded subsidies as there was in previous proposal. City encouraging a “Ballpark Village” type of development in and around Union Station area development. Aquarium is a non profit entity. City hopes to get sales-tax income from restaurants around there.
FOREST PARK: Looks like project – waterways – continuing to move forward … 10.5 Million-dollar project. A new boardwalk being built over Jefferson Lake. More accessibility for park and amenities. The water table location is being changed – which will hopefully help with flooding. Redoing fountains. Funded by Forest Park Forever, so all this coming at no cost to City taxpayers. City will only be responsible for maintenance and upkeep.
TURTLE PARK PLAYGROUND: Installation of new playground is on-track. Many questions received, but no alterations are planned for cement turtle sculptures.
BOA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: “Ban the Box” legislation proposed to help reduce recidivism. Employers would not be allowed to ask felony conviction history on job applications to prospective employees. This would apply to private sector jobs offerings in the City. Lots of exceptions. Ultimately this is to do/say that you can’t exclude someone in initial stage unless crime impedes the job. Employers may still be able to ask in application or interview process about felony history. If you’re a qualified candidate, you’re qualified. Justice system created a lot of non-violent felons in the 1990s. City trying to help these individuals past the currently closed door of finding a job. Helping redemption and moving people forward.
STL NOT FOR SALE – ONE COMMITTEE: Update on proposed airport privatization. Ald. Narayan was unwavering on his stance. His vote will be a no for privatization. Campaigned on it. Fly 314 Consultants is driven by Rex Sinquefeld, who has pushed several contentious and controversial propositions to Missouri voters.
Question – Would it be a net gain for the City to privatize the airport?
Answer - Ald. Narayan believes that the airport is and should remain a City asset. The opinion that the City could make more money from the airport by leasing to a private company has not been justified yet with data suitable to him. Also, the evaluation process has not been transparent which adds to his own skepticism.
Matt Sisul also shared information on an upcoming public forum: Town Hall on Airport Privatization (November 14th, 6:30pm at Central Library - 1301 Olive St) for anyone interested in learning more about the issue. He reminded the group that the issue causes some confusion because the airport is owned by the City but located in the County. Per Ald. Narayan, Fly 314 may not be there. He believes they shy away from public meetings. He also supports a public vote by St. Louis City constituency on the issue.
Steve LaRosa (NIS, 24th Ward) - not present
Matt Sisul explained that this November 11, 2019 ENA meeting coincided with the Veterans Day federal holiday. Therefore, it was understandable that the new Neighborhood Improvement Specialist (formerly Neighborhood Stabilization Officer) from Citizens Service Bureau was unable to attend the meeting this evening, but he does plan to attend the next ENA meeting in January. Matt added that Steve LaRosa also assigned to 23rd Ward.
Officer Don Veile (SLMPD 2nd District) - not present
Two guest speakers cancelled due to weather. Khatib Waheed from Circuit Attorney’s Office planned to talk about the Neighborhood Ownership Model. Will reschedule for January.
NOM is similar to organized block units or block captains, with emphasis on crime prevention and response. Requires quite a bit of citizen participation. Matt Sisul reminded those attending that Ellendale needs block captains. It has been hard to get new volunteers, but he thanked those that have already volunteered. Need more citizen participation. Submit questions and volunteers to Matt.
Also, the other guest speaker anticipated was Maureen Williams from Bi-State Development Metro to discuss changes to the previous bus routes along Southwest Ave and Arsenal St. Matt Sisul noticed that some bus stops have been removed. One in particular was in middle of Arsenal street bridge, which is understandable for efficiency to remove an underutilized stop. Wanted to find out the change in the Arsenal Street bus route. Also wanted to know if there is now a different route for Southwest Avenue bus. Just needed an update on the changes of Metro affecting our area. Ms. Williams also planned to speak about Adopt-a-Stop program, which provides trash cans at bus stop locations. Several City trash cans have been removed in the neighborhood. ENA may need volunteers to help maintain if new ones provided by Bi-State Metro.
Annual Officer Elections (Communications Officer vacancy)
Vacancy in ENA communications officer executive board position. Responsibilities include dstributing email blasts, posts and notices on website, Facebook, and other social media outlets like NextDoor. Position remains open. Looking for volunteer or nominations. None received, so item deferred until January 2020 meeting.
Joe Nea reports membership deposits of $15.00 received. New checking account balance total is $889.46.
Member in attendance works for the 2020 Census. Provided information about part-time work available starting at the beginning of next year for census-takers positions. Looking for workers. St. Louis City needs many workers. Workload starts around April 1. For more information, go to 2020census.gov/jobs or 1-855-JOB-2020.
Question – What is the status of Wilkinson School redevelopment?
Answer - Matt Sisul remains in regular communication with Brian Minges, Advantes Group development team. Proposed rehabilitation still waiting on historic designation of building and approval of state historic tax credits from MO State Historic Preservation Office. Some interior demolition and stabilization work was completed before Fall. Upcoming cold weather season likely to stall further. Matt reminded those attending that all previous development proposals showed that tax credits and similar incentives would be necessary for project financing. SHPO in Jefferson City is understaffed. With new round of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Applications to Missouri Housing Development Commission, review & approval of those applications are likely to take higher priority than Wilkinson School.
Question – Resident reports issues with traffic light at McCausland Ave and Arsenal St. Asks whether City can look into long wait times for westbound Arsenal St traffic, from Emilie St.
Answer - Matt Sisul spoke about sensor placement for westbound Arsenal St traffic from Emilie St. Vehicles that stop at street’s crosswalk markings are past the in-ground sensors that indicate to the traffic light that there is westbound traffic waiting its turn. Matt explained that vehicles must stop behind the solid white stop-line in order to activate the sensors. Anyone with questions can contact Matt. He will be happy to meet you at the intersection to point out the locations of in-ground sensors.
Matt Sisul thanked everyone who posted meeting reminder signs throughout the neighborhood. However, he reminds everyone not to leave the signs out after the meeting date. The signs are reusable, without dates on them. It has been confusing for some residents to know the date of the next ENA meeting when the signs are left out too long.
Motion to adjourn made by Lesley Wilson, seconded by Robert Morrissey. Approved by voice vote. Meeting adjourned.