Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Many Ferguson protesters are demonstrating outside the county courthouse in downtown Clayton. If I'd only known this was going to happen, I'd have headed over there to see what was going on. But it's too late in the day now.
City officials in Clayton recently gave the ok for a parklet to be built on Central Avenue downtown. What is a parklet you ask? "A small space serving as an extension of the sidewalk to provide amenities and green space for people using the street. It is typically the size of several parking spaces. Parklets typically extend out from the sidewalk at the level of the sidewalk to the width of the adjacent parking space."
San Francisco has some of these and the story about Clayton and parklets at the link carries a bit of a cynical tone regarding Clayton and it's downtown streets. Here's a picture of a parklet from some other city and is included in the story along with other examples of Parklets. It seems they can be permanent or brought out for special occasions.
Kind of looks like the kind of area you'd just sit down and and people watch, or, if outside a restaurant, used for extra outdoor dining. With Clayton, I'd see the restaurant reason most likely. What surprised me most about the article is how strongly the writer believes Clayton's streets are too wide. He writes about the use of Central Ave: "North Central Avenue itself, often considered the most active commercial and restaurant strip in Clayton, is too wide. The sidewalks are too narrow. Here, a parklet isn’t the best answer. Narrowing the street from four traffic lanes to two is needed and would not adversely impact traffic in a meaningful way."
I wonder if this guy drives through downtwon Clayton very often. If they went from 4 lanes to 2 lanes, there'd be a lot of waiting at stoplights.
Ironically, if this is a coming trend for cities, maybe Collinsville shouldn't have widened Vandalia, instead created some Parklets instead.
I honestly don't know what to make of this parklet idea.
This year, Clayton's farmers' market moved from their previous location on the Straub's parking lot to smack in the middle of downtown on Central Avenue. The board of aldermen believed this area would help to give downtown more vibrancy and benefit businesses with the increased foot traffic.
However, many of the business owners along Central are unhappy with the situation, saying they have lost business because customers have avoided that block. There is also a big difference in how the market attendance numbers are seen. Business owners claim only around 50 people come to the market while the city claims 500 or the future possibility of 500.
One issue this year has been rain on the first 3 weeks of the season which not only didn't help the numbers but keeping people away prevented the new location from being on most radars. In addition, it's hard to find parking in downtown Clayton most anytime of the day or evening. There is not a whole lot of retail there but there are many restaurants. On that particular block of Central, I can think of 2 cigar stores and Jennifer's Pharmacy (a very cool place with fun stuff to buy and an old school soda fountain). Most of the rest are eating places.
I guess we'll see how the rest of the summer goes, but it's always interesting to see how cities try to balance one entity with another.
Three years ago the food truck boom began in St. Louis but city officials were not fans, enacting regulations which would basically keep them away. The same was true for Clayton and Edwardsville because it was feared trucks would put brick and mortar restaurants out of business. Things are now changing big time as the food trucks are being welcomed and even celebrated in these same cities.
Clayton is promoting Food Truck Sundays in Shaw Park this summer, while St. Louis is doing the same with its Lunchtime Live! concert series event each Tuesday from May through September. Don't know if Edwardsville has softened its stance on the food trucks, but it does look like the popularity and probable non threat to restaurants has won everyone over.
They bring color, fun and good food to various locales so this new trend is welcome.
The local election yesterday saw voters in Clayton approving two of the four propositions. They said yes to a bond issue for paving streets and a 1/4 cent sales tax for the fire and police departments but turned down a 1/4 cent sales tax for economic development and a bond issue to redo Shaw Park.
I'm a bit surprised that two were defeated (the economic development prop lost by only 5 votes) but I had gotten the impression from city hall people I'd run into recently that they were worried about the two which lost.
Today is the day to vote in local elections in Missouri with some municipalities having more to consider than others. In Clayton voters will be deciding on 4 ballot proposals, each asking for various tax increases. Oddly, unlike most local cities, it is rare for Clayton voters to turn down a requested tax increase so it will be interesting to see if this will still hold true seeing as how there are 4 this time.
1. Prop A- a 1/4 cent sales tax increase would provide funding to help the city maintain current fire and EMS services.
2. Prop B- Neighborhood Streets-a 15 million dollar bond proposal would provide funding to resurface and repave more than 50 percent of the city's neighborhood streets and update street lighting.
3. Prop C-Growth-An additional 1/4 cent sales tax would provide funding for the city to continute economic development programs to strengthen the city's economy, by keeping Clayton competitive and attract and retain business and increasing downtown's vitality.
4. Prop D-Shaw Park Square-a 12.6 million dollar bond issue to replace the current Shaw Park facilities with a year-round venue for recreation, cultural events, and field sports, as well as a new regulation size ice rink in the winter. The outdoor space would feature a translucent, open-air, pavilion to provide protection from rain and snow, while a new field house would support the tennis courts, ice rink and field sports.
As to candidates for the Board of Aldermen, there is only one running and he is unopposed which is pretty much the norm for Clayton. Rarely does a candidate for aldermen have competition. Mark Winnings in Ward 3.
Movoto, a real estate website, has published a list of the ten best places to live in Missouri and they are all St. Louis suburbs. I'm surprised at this because national lists of the best places for families often has Columbia on them, but whatever.
Number one from Movoto is Glendale, a town the Riverfront Times calls, "the city so small and quaint it's more of a Webster Groves suburb than a St. Louis suburb -- tops the list with high scores in employment and high school diploma attainment." Interestingly, our grandson went to preschool in Glendale and it never occurred to me that this could be a sought after place to live.
The criteria used: The top 10 cities stood out from the rest for a variety of reasons, but they all had some things in common: high median income, low crime, great high school diploma rates, low unemployment, and high home values/rent prices, an indicator of desirability.
So of course Clayton and Ladue are on the list as is Town and Country and Chesterfield. The photo accompanying Clayton's blurb is of the annual Hillcrest neighborhood 4th of July parade which we always participate in since the neighborhood abutts the seminary.
Back in June stories appeared announcing the future opening of The Fresh Market grocery store in the old and long abandoned Schnucks building at Clayton and Hanley. Whatever happened with this? Nothing seems to be moving at that location except brown paper covering the windows. There has been no other talk about this company's plans.
Ok, a little research and here is the latest. The company has hired an engineering firm to study traffic impact. But, Clayton officials said they have not received any plans for the proposed development. So who knows.
Maryland School on Maryland Ave east of Hanley in Clayton was closed in 1980 and used occasionally for educational groups which needed temporary classroom space. But for the most part, the school has sat empty for 33 years. There have been multiple offers for the building and grounds, one of which is a proposal to the Clayton School Board from a developer who wants to turn the property into high density luxury condos and at a meeting the other night nearby neighbors came to protest. Many of the neighbors are part of a group called Keep Clayton Green which has a goal of preserving green space in their neighborhood. However...
"They wanted to preserve green space in their quiet neighborhood of single-family homes. They and others tend a community garden on the school property and said they hoped for more green space in the already tree-filled neighborhood, not less."
What this means is the surrounding neighbors have been using the property for their own purposes, community gardens, and seem to have planned for more private usage. This opposition goes beyond the usual unhappiness with the possibility of more traffic and fewer trees when development is proposed. They want to keep using property which is not theirs.