Friday, July 16, 2010
"St. Louis' downtown 'light years' ahead of other major cities"
Last night we attended a ballgame at Busch Stadium. Over 41,000 fans were there. After the game, around 10:15 pm, fans exiting the stadium flooded the surrounding streets. I wondered how successful new restaurants and bars would be in the area, facing the Metro Station, or lining 7th street on the vacant Ballpark Village site? Sidewalk cafes would be packed on a beautiful night like this. A 7-1 Cards win doesn't hurt either.
Back at the game, next to us at sat two lawyers. One was a recent transplant to St. Louis, having moved here from New York City just eight months ago. Previous to New York, he lived in LA for about eight years. Now, through a job opportunity, he's a downtown STL resident and he couldn't say enough positive things about living downtown.
He bought a loft, which he loves, is twice as big as his New York place, and cost half the price. He describes a lifestyle where he walks to Blues games, walks to his downtown law office, walks to Cardinal games, walks to the grocery store, and even walks to a casino. He walks to City Garden, the library, and soon, he'll be able to walk to a much improved Arch grounds.
Earlier this week, on WGNU radio, two ladies visiting St. Louis for a convention of a womens' sororiety group were being interviewed about their visit here. One was from Chicago, the other Philadelphia. They were both thoroughly enjoying their stay and the one thing they kept repeating was how clean our downtown is. The lady from Philly was really impressed, and was describing how filled with trash Philadelphia's streets are.
So after listening to the show, I took a walk outside to look around. They were right. It's hard to find a single piece of trash lying anywhere around in downtown STL. Someone is paying attention to the little stuff. Part of that effort happens thanks to the work of the Downtown Partnership.
By now, hopefully you've had a chance to listen to Steve Patterson's interview of Downtown Partnership president, Maggie Campbell. Maggie is one of those few people who are a real joy to listen to. She gets into the finer grain of things while keeping things interesting. Anyone who can make overflowing trash cans and dog poop mines on the sidewalk sound like a measure of downtown's growing success is worth an investment of your time.
Halfway through the Campbell interview, Patterson's call drops and Maggie is left wondering if the interview's over. "Hello? Hello?" She waits on the line. After a minute or two, Patterson overcomes the technical problem, and the call continues for the remainder of the hour.
Being techno-challenged, I'm still trying to figure out how that's possible? They're each in separate locations, presumably talking over smart phones. Patterson's call drops; Maggie stays on the line, continuing to be heard over the internet; and then, Patterson gets back on the air, all without missing a beat. Ahh, more technology I will never understand.
Be sure to give the interview a listen. It's hard to think of another venue where you get to hear a full hour of uninterrupted, intelligent discussion with one of our region's top leaders.