The St. Louis Beacon recently published a conversation with developer Richard Baron, full of illuminating opinions and something I didn’t know previously: Lambert Airport could have been in Waterloo, Illinois.
I am elated he brought up and elaborated on one ultra important item: Metro Link Stations:
“There was the situation with Metro. When all of that started back in the ’80s there was no plan to take advantage of these transit stations — to build housing around them, retail around them. To use them as an economic driver, as was done in many other cities around the U.S. when light rail went in. Here was this enormous investment that was made, and look at the stations, and they’re bleak.
“You reach a point where you get terribly frustrated because the lack of leadership in this town is palpable — both on the public side and the private side. Go to Atlanta or Minneapolis, and the energy level and the effort on the part of the public-private side — partnerships, foundations — everybody is pulling together and have had a much better success than in St. Louis. We’ve had passive leadership, a watering down of the executives of corporations that have left. We have had executives who have no real identification with the city — who came in from out of town and live in the county and don’t relate to the city much. And it’s just a lot of little things that have exacerbated the problem.”
And if you haven’t already, The Beacon is a must for followers of the STL built environment, along with Building Blocks at the Post-Dispatch.