Saturday, May 19, 2007

CASE IN POINT by Joe Koester

None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes.

Johann von Goethe

On City Politics: If you have kept abreast of city politics then you probably know that money set aside for each ward, but not yet spent, may in fact, go back into the general budget. Certainly, this is a poor decision considering some wards have had the benefit of this money while others have not.

In Ward 9, money was already set aside for a public improvement project at the corner of Duchesne and Droste Roads; for the replacement of all stop signs in the ward (as well as a few in Ward 10 that are at split intersections); for a retaining wall at James Drive and Droste; and for at least seven street lights in High Prairie Subdivision. Ward 9 deserves to have this investment fulfilled. Hopefully, those concerned will fight for our ward and make certain that this money, already earmarked for improvements to our neighborhoods, actually goes to these projects and does not allow it to go back into the general fund.

Another story out of Ward 9, and more specifically, my own neighborhood, concerns itself with a business being established within a residential area that many surrounding residents opposed. The business permit was given with opposition coming from two council members – including Stivison’s vote. Certainly, if the proper communication had been made prior to the council meeting, the representation for the ward could have stopped this from moving forward. You see, whenever something concerns solely one ward, council members will communicate their wishes for their area since they should know it best. Before the council meeting even happens, you begin taking up your cause with others on council. Whenever a symbolic vote is cast, it usually is a way of having your cake and eating it too. For many readers this particular small matter is meaningless, however, when the issue is in your own back yard, you may well see things differently. Unfortunately, many politicians play this game and their own constituents end up the losers.

Three exciting developments along West Clay will hopefully continue unabated in the coming months including: the completion of the old Clinic site (commercial and residential usage); the groundbreaking of the development behind the Jack-in-the-Box that will become a senior housing development; and finally, the redevelopment of First Capitol Drive from the water tower to I-70. This last development is crucial to our town’s financial well being. Our city currently suffers from a less-than-desirable image as you enter from I-70 and 94. This one development area, I believe, could be the most important piece of the puzzle to be redeveloped and quite literally, I think it would solidify redevelopment throughout the City. This location is after all, the core of our town. A new entrance to our City at First Capitol Drive could lift the perception of our entire community as certainly as it currently detracts from our community now.

There is a study being conducted on the feasibility of streetcars in town. If this does move forward, I think that our town needs to take a serious look at making one of the stops at Lindenwood University at First Capitol and Boone (at the planned redevelopment site) as well as at the water tower (site of planned redevelopment). The route could be something like this: New Town/ Charlestowne / Main Street / Convention Center / water tower / Lindenwood University / Back to Main Street... this, of course, if the study shows that the plan is even feasible.