St. Louis business leaders want the city to invest more in downtown public safety and physical improvements.
It generates about 20% of the money that goes into the General Fund in St. Louis, according to neighbors, but only 5% of citywide spending. New Economic Impact Analysis by Greater St. Louis Inc.
For Greater St. Louis CEO Jason Hall, this disparity is not supporting growth in this part of St. Louis.
“Resurrection is real,” he said. “But momentum is not a victory.
Hall is Scale AI’s recent announcement to open a new office in downtown St. Louis As a positive indicator of new activity.but he added Constant challenge with crimeroad and other infrastructure problems, and the exit from the pandemic will make its growth even more challenging.
“The pandemic has hit downtown St. Louis and many others hard,” Hall said. “We had to stop a lot of things that add density downtown, like conventions and ball games. It created a set of conditions that existed.”
These concerns are shared among people in the city center, said Kelly McCrary, executive director of the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District.
“Our constituents are downtown residents, businesses and property owners, large and small,” she said. “I hear similar messages about public safety concerns that everyone has,” she said.
Downtown is the anchor for economic activity in the region, so it is a challenge for business leaders to see it as a hindrance to future growth.
“It’s important as a gateway to the area,” says Hall. “People who come here for a convention may not touch other parts of the area. Their entire perception of St. Louis is shaped by their experience walking those city blocks.”
Hall said the city isn’t advocating investing money in any particular way. He explained that the city has many assets that are overshadowed by the current challenges.
“Affordability, the national park in your front yard, the built environment, the historic environment here,” he said. If you don’t lean into it, you can’t consider its value.”
Eric Schmid is responsible for economic development for St. Louis Public Radio.
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