Saturday, January 06, 2007

Judge Not Lest You Be Judged; Alternatively, Condemn Not Lest You Be Condemned... Councilman Plans To Condemn University Prop.

Councilman Koester To Introduce Legislation To Condemn & Take Back Property City Gave to Lindenwood University -
Suggests Sculpture Park

he First Capitol News has learned that Councilman Koester of ward nine is planning on introducing a bill that would condemn Lindenwood University property along First Capitol Drive located between the old stretch of First Capitol Drive that is now used for parking and the current First Capitol Drive just west of Kingshighway. The idea is to use the property to display sculptures that the city has acquired through the “Arts Around Town” program.

Koester told the FCN, “I am opposed to spending $50,000 a year on rented art. If we are going to make this investment, then it seems more appropriate for our town to own the art and build up a display for public viewing. What better location than adjacent to the university and on property that most of us in town believe was snookered from the city anyhow under the guise that Lindenwood would ‘straighten out’ highway 94. What we got was a curve in the opposite direction and two stop lights where there had been one.”

This isn’t the first mention of such an idea. Councilman Koester has brought the idea up on the council floor. “Lindenwood sought condemnation of local private property, so they are obviously aware of the procedure and I suspect they may even be open to cooperating in the plan because this location will work well in tandem with their new cultural art center. Furthermore, it is time for Lindenwood to give back to the city since they have spent years now removing property off our tax rolls – both residential and commercial property” Koester concluded.

The past two weeks the FCN tried unsuccessfully to contact Lindenwood University for comment before going to press but our calls were not returned. Look for discussion of this plan during the last council meeting in January or in early February.

The City deeded the property to Lindenwood after the new road was completed as per an agreement with former president Spellmann.