Category Archives: Uncategorized

St. Louis City: We Need More Hoops!

not enough basketball hoops

In today’s Post, there was an article about how our City Park system ranks compared to the rest of the country.    We did well.  The article was on the proverbial back.

Going through the analysis, it appears that we compete very effectively against the cities on the top of the list except for one catagory.   Why the Post writer didn’t notice this is bothersome.

I came upon a GLARING DEFECT in our park system!

st louis park rankings

In most areas we are competitive with the other cities.   Its in the area of BASKETBALL HOOPS that we are the farthest behind.   The high is 40 basketball courts per 10,000 residents, the average is just over 31 courts per 10,000.   Saint Louis lags behind all the other cities with only 16 courts per 10,000 residents in its parks.  Nearly 50% less than AVERAGE!

In the Post article, it talks about how close we are to other cities scores.   It stands to reason that if we invested in adding more basketball courts to all the city parks, that this would be one ranking that we’d rise into the top 10 of all cities in the country.   Not bad!

So why would we want to do that?

ESPN polls taken in 2017 have basketball ranked as the #1 recreational sport for youths, having risen steadily since 2006.  It a suprising reality to me. Growing up in a non-NBA city prior to the internet, we heard as much about basketball as we did ski reports.    More recently, having lived in the city with 3 children playing basketball, it became clear to me when I was driving my kids home from school with some of their buddies, and a vigorous debate was going on about who was the most dominant NBA players in each position.   I was shocked.

As a basketball and soccer ‘dad coach’, the lack of adequate basketball facilities was apparent.   Competing with teams around the area, I remember driving through the suburbs and seeing house after house with driveways that included a basketball hoop.   In the city, not so much.   There aren’t many driveways, and even less basketball hoops.   Then we’d go to parks.   Suburban municipal parks almost always had basketball courts, in the city, not so much.    I remember Father’s Day of 2014 we found that Clifton Heights Park had one basketball court, so we headed over with a picnic basket and the kids, only to find that there was already a group there  ☹️ .   We attended neighborhood meetings in Tower Grove South, and the park director fielded questions about what they could do to improve the park.   For whatever reason, basketball courts weren’t what they had in mind.

Children don’t vote.   They don’t attend neighborhood meetings. Had I known when my kids were toddlers that  A.   they’d love basketball and  B.  the city lagged so far behind other cities in that catagory, I may have had time to do something about it.   Last year, I coached my son’s 2nd grade team 😬.    We practiced indoors at a charter school.   One day the weather was warm, and we played with the doors open.   OOOPS.   Without a warning, about 6 kids, mostly older than our 2nd grade casually strolled in, grabbed a ball and started playing basketball.   The kids were from the adjacent “projects”.   As a youth athletic coach, nothing is more important than maintaining control of  what’s going on.   Rounding up and expelling the intruders took about 5 minutes, while my team waited for the disruption to end.    While frustrating, I felt bad for the boys.   They wanted something to do, but they’re options were limited.   Their school didn’t have a solution, their parents and communities didn’t have a solution, and reading this article, it appears the local parks didn’t either.

Let the Director of St. Louis City Parks know!

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Filed under st louis government and politics, St. Louis Parks, Uncategorized, Urban vs Suburban plans

Take the HOMELIFT QUIZ: It May be worth $15,000

freemoney2Any home buyer’s looking in the city right now may want to check the qualifications of the Homelift Downpayment Assistance program.   The program really is ‘free money’ to those who qualify since it was devised as a mandate by the federal government for misbehavior by Wells Fargo.  Only those buying in St. Louis City qualify!

Downpayment Assistance in St. Louis City

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Negative Spin undone

dumb

For years, a common perception has been that getting a good education isn’t possible in the City of St. Louis.   Young couples buy a home in the city with a vision for the future, and within a few years, they start having children and start focusing on the move that will bring them into a good school district so that their beloved children don’t end up looking like the above.

There has always been the parochial school exception, if you’re willing to pay.

That’s about as much as most people know when they weigh in about St. Louis City.  There’s just an understanding, it seems.

For some folks that are more “in the know” there’s the City Schools gifted programs.  Interestingly, out of all the negative hype we hear about city schools, the fact that 2 of the top 10 secondary schools in the State of Missouri are SLPS schools didn’t seem to make a dent in the cynical majority.  This information has been available for months, yet most are unaware, and still shocked to hear it.

Also in the news is the success of many of the charter schools.  Both City government and local residents have been highly supportive of the movement to improve local schools, and Charter schools have been the vehicle by which local government and residents can participate.   We always ask parents for feedback when we hear their child attends a city school, and seem to hear the truth.  These are the same parents that provide feedback on stlcityschools.org; a site specifically designed to help parents understand the many options and how they rank in the eyes of current parents.  

So the moral of the story, if you or someone you know is spreading false information about the ability to get a great education in the City of St. Louis, take the time to do your homework.  

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Great Perspective on St Louis

This is a video that describes why the so called crime reports that pop up on on news sources have St Louis ranked higher for crime than it actually is.

While I’ve always understood how crime numbers are made to look bad due to the geographic size and population of St. Louis City, compared to other metro areas, I’ve never seen a video that helps people understand it.

Hopefully this video helps stop some of the lies that come from critics of the City / County merger spread about why the merger would help the region.

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March 7, 2014 · 9:46 am

VOTE TODAY!!

VOTE TODAY!!

Today is Election Day! Vote~~

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March 5, 2013 · 12:39 am

Seven and a Half Ain’t Bad

St Louis attractionsCity residents response to our presence in the media often ranges from frustration, to angst to sarcastic humor.

Interestingly, the folks that seem the most suprised by the negative perception of St Louis are newer residents.  They hear all these negative viewpoints, then move here and enjoy the lower cost of real estate, lower taxes, and finally find that the negative slant is less than realistic.

Of late, the city has had better press.  St Louis has won awards for being a top Midwestern destination for the past 2 years, and folks are seemingly starting to appreciate what this town has to offer.

Last week me and the family took a mini vacation to Chicago for a few days.  It was nice, and Chicago is an urban town that has a lot to offer.  For some of the time there though, mostly while sitting in traffic, I thought, “wouldn’t it have just been nice to have a stay-cation?”   After all, as a busy professional, father, & husband, rarely do I have time to stop, hang out, go to night clubs, catch plays, etc. etc.  My professional life involves me talking about everything there is to do here, but I just find it hard to do it.

Today, a CNN reporter published his report on his family vacation to St Louis.  What started off with some skepticism seemed to result in a great time.    It seemed like there were a lot of things they still didn’t get a chance to do.  My observation was that it seemed that most of what they did was in the city.   Not that its a big suprise, people like the city because there’s a lot to do there.  Not that the surrounding areas don’t have things to do either.   The article was nice.

The urban renaissance is ongoing, and I started thinking about the things that area still in the pipeline that will make St Louis even better down the road, like the Arch Grounds project, the South Grand Great Streets Initiative, the Loop Trolley and the Blues Museum Downtown, just to name a few.

What makes St Louis a great place to visit is also what makes it a great place to live.  As the article said, there’s plenty to do that’s “pretty cool”.

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Filed under St. Louis Culture, St. Louis Events, Uncategorized, Urban vs Suburban plans

Census Data Coming Soon

St Louis urban renaissanceWe got a call today from the Post-Dispatch wanting to do a series on City Neighborhoods as the 2010 Census data released today should reflect what many urban residents have long known.

The “Field of Dreams” approach of “Build it and they will come” has been particularly relevant to the City of St Louis. When I graduated from High School in the late 80’s, most of my classmates were anxious to get out of town. There was nothing “cool” about living in St Louis. The interesting architecture that is often associated with the city was mostly known for being underutilized and abandoned. Washington Avenue was best known as a place to get a hooker, and the young professionals that did reside in the region were mostly attracted to suburban apartment and condo complexes with little personality or character. The notion of rebuilding the city was out there, but it seemed to be a task that was insurmountable.

The past decade or so has seen some valuable changes. It started with pioneers that came into the city and saw the value in individual homes in places like Lafayette Square, and some larger developers like Craig Heller and Kevin McGowan taking on larger projects downtown. This group of pioneers were the foundations of the changes we’ve seen to date. It was the beginning of the urban renaissance in St Louis. They made it possible for urban living to be “en vogue” and mainstream. Now when someone makes the decision to live urban, they aren’t alone.

The Urban Affairs Committee of the St Louis Association of Realtors met last month and some of the attendees there commented about being at the very first Urban Affairs committee meeting about 20 years ago. That committee now has a regular attendance of at least 20 people with an additional 20-30 members in abstentia. It started with 4 or 5 people. 5 years ago, I gained clients that would tell me stories of trying to work with Realtors but were pushed into not to living in the city (in Missouri, this activity, called “steering” is illegal). Now, I’m encouraged by agents of all types of experience that call for help in understanding the urban market.

The Census itself is a valuable information tool. Estimates of population are often disputed and inconclusive. While it may not be for everyone, City Living is making a comeback. At this point, we’ve gotten farther into the “build it” phase than anyone would have expected. Seeing projects completed each year as well as some of the new ones in the pipeline (Archgrounds, Ballpark Village), we’re witnessing a conversion of an urban area that has been remarkable, and we’re also just beginning to see the “and they will come” phase. Regardless of the census data recieved today, we’re confident that we’re only seeing the beginning of what will be a giant shift in population and and a paradigm shift in how people choose their residence.

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