As everyone has probably heard, the Kenrick Plaza redevelopment project is on "indefinite hold."
The reason cited is beyond bizarre. Let's see why:
The changes are being made to avoid having to move the guy-wires that anchor a nearby radio tower, a move that Grewe said was necessary to avoid “years of litigation.” However, having to build around the cables may mean changes to the size and shape of retail spaces in the development, which could affect the profitability of the profitability of the project.
OK, that sounds reasonable. Why is that such a lame excuse? Well, years ago, about the time Grewe was holding private meetings with city officials, we knew the guy wire problem existed. In fact, Bert, Barry, PGAV, Grewe, and some aldermen used the guy wires as the reason we had to have big box in Kenrick. Let's look at a quote:
BOA Work Session, Jan 9 2010: "Grewe...mentioned the TV tower guy lines. The most logical user...is a bix box retailer."
Blighting Study, Feb 24, 2010: "The primary issues associated with these anchors and guy wires are that their locations on the theater site have a significant influence on how the site can be configured and, in that regard; the anchor locations impede certain types of development."
Or how about the TIF plan presented in August 2011? There are even overhead photographs with "Anchor Locations" clearly and definitively.
What about Grewe's own development proposal? Again, the guy wires are a known and defined attribute of the site.
Or what about the most recent site plan? It's been removed from Shrewsbury's website for some reason. You can view the Kenrick site plan in greater detail on Patch.com. But if you look just below the "C" and "D" buildings below, you will see a little square, which is the guy wire anchor location that supposedly hinders development at this late stage.
Where is all this going? It's simple. Grewe seems to be using the tragic placement of the guy wires as a reason to back out of the project. Yet, not only have the guy wires been a known issue all along, but the site plan presented to the citizens of Shrewsbury clearly shows them fitting into the overall project. There was never a mention in the past three years of moving the guy wires. Just the opposite: We were duped into believing that big box retail was the only solution to redeveloping Kenrick Plaza because of the guy wires.
Now we need answers:
Because Grewe has put the project on "indefinite hold," are we allowed to pick another developer? Or are we stuck with him?
Capitol Land (Dierberg's) wanted up to 18 months to develop the project and potential tenants. They were rejected because that was too long to wait. How long is "too long to wait" for Grewe?
Is now the proper time to fine the property owner and/or Grewe for their despicable job maintaining this property?
Can the City of Shrewsbury sue Grewe for his refusal to keep the proposal moving? (Remember, Grewe sued Columbia, IL ostensibly for not maintaining their end of the bargain. He lost.)
And most importantly: does the Board of Aldermen now understand that this developer never had the best interests of the city in mind? If they do, after long last, what is the next step to recover our losses at the hands of Grewe and move forward?
THIS is the manager we're trusting for Kenrick?
As we analyzed previously on this site, Dierberg's (Capitol Realty) has been an excellent steward of their property for as long as it has existed. On the other hand, Kenrick Plaza, which is about as old, has a dismal track record of maintaining quality tenants.
Earlier this year, a number of Hometown Buffet locations have closed, including the Shrewsbury location. Already, Dierberg's has found another tenant of similar caliber (Hibachi Grill) to take its place. Notice that even during the down economy, Dierberg's has gotten Petco, the eye surgery center, and numerous other tenants to fill empty spaces in Mackenzie Pointe.
What about Kenrick Plaza and GJ Grewe? What have they gotten to move into the old Powerhouse space after more than half a decade? (Answer: nothing). Value Village in Kenrick II? (Answer: nothing). Sands Restaurant? (Answer: nothing). Burger King? (Answer: nothing). Franks? (Answer: nothing). The entire bottom floor on the east side of the property? (Answer: nothing).
And *this* is the guy we're trusting to build and maintain the Wal-mart shopping center?
Aldermen Speak Out, and more Grewe History
Patch.com has three articles interviewing Aldermen Chris Gorman, Dee Wiecher, and Mike Travaglini.
Chris Gorman makes a few points that need to be addressed:
"..it's scary. We have had some crime with the theater. Some of the buildings are just starting to look really bad. If we don't do anything, I am afraid this is just going to get worse."
Fortunately, what we do is laid out in our city codes for us:
The owner, occupant or lessee in possession [of such a building] shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). Each day that a person fails to comply with an order of the Building Commissioner may be deemed a separate offense.
In a different article, the mayor promises a code crackdown on nuisance properties. Where has the code crackdown been on the owner and manager of Kenrick Plaza, which meets every criteria outlined in our city codes to qualify as a derelict property?
"[Closing Trianon Pkwy] would make our area a lot more private, it wouldn't be a major cut-through anymore."
This would be done at the expense of those who put up with the "cut through" along Weil Ave. Any Watson-Laclede cut-through would be diverted to its only other option, which is Weil. We understand that Kenrick Manor residents personally benefit from the closing of Trianon(although some still disagree, as straightforward Watson Rd. access is a benefit, too), but let's look at the bigger picture, shall we?
In short, closing of Trianon was cleverly framed by the developer as a concession to the city, when in reality it benefits the developer with more leaseable space.
NoWalMartInShrewsbury.com indicates "the developer may donate a car to the police department." That's always a nice way to entice officials - by making a token gesture in the name of "public safety." Shrewsburians support their police, and have done so through both direct, dedicated tax increases, and through general tax increases (and "tax transfers"). These indirect increases carried the implicit threats by Bert Gates and select aldermen that police would be cut and "nobody will answer your 911 call" if the taxes didn't pass. So here we have another indirect earmark to the police department.
One hopes that this new car would replace an older one, rather than add to the burden of maintaining and extra police vehicle. Any citizen can see the 'extra' cars we already have, either parked as "decoys" as a reactionary response to a crime at Kenrick or elsewhere, or idling at the Phil-Mart or American Legion for hours on end in the morning. We don't need another vehicle that has to be fueled and maintained!
One wonders if the token offering of a police car is an admission that this type of development will increase crime and require greatly increase taxpayer subsidy as a result of the development.
Dee Wiecher adds:
"I don't know who is totally responsible for letting it get to its current shape, but he certainly has been in the property manager role for a while."
It's easy to know who is responsible. If your property had weeds three feet high, a hole in the roof, and whose foundation was damaged by water, who would get the fine from the city?
Patch.com published another article in July about Grewe that goes a bit into his past of playing the TIF game with cities. That article cites yet another Riverfront Times article called "Easy Money" (hint: it's 'easy' for the developer, not the cities). The article asserts:
"Developers ...are using a state law to rake in millions of tax dollars for retail projects in the burbs. Trouble is, the legislation was designed to help blighted inner cities."
This all points back to a statement made by Gorman:
"This is the first time I have had to work with a developer like this. We haven't been the easiest board to work with, we have made some demands, changed our minds or come back with redesigns. He's worked with us and we've worked with him, it's been difficult on both sides."
We all appreciate the tough, thankless job that the aldermen are doing, particularly with the complexities of a project like this. Very few people step up to the plate to serve their communities like our aldermen. But it's important to note that developers like Grewe aren't fazed by any of it. They've seen it all, and will use every tool in their toolbox up to and including lawsuits against their "partner" cities.
To say that we have been "tough" on the developer is not true. The minute we took the bait that Kenrick's deteriorated was "our" problem and not the problem of its owner and property manager, we ceded control to the developer. He may furl his brow and turn out his empty pockets when the city makes a demand, but it's all theater.
Siren Song of a Failed Developer
The South County Times published an excellent letter today.
It mirrors what this site has been saying - and what our own newspaper (Webster-Kirkwood Times) has failed to explore.
This site has been harping on these points until the authors are blue in the collective face. And, it seems, nobody listens. Not our aldermen, and it seems, not many citizens, particularly the vocal ones. We hear a lot about Wal-mart the company, and so little about the real, filthy underbelly of this whole deal which is GJ Grewe.
But this letter writer gets it.
Shrewsbury Blinded by Promise of Revenue
It appears that the promise of retail revenues from the Kenrick Plaza development has all but blinded Shrewsbury's elected officials to these unmistakable red flags:
* The receipt of only two proposals in response to its RFP. One was from the very developer who failed to find a tenant for the vacated Kenrick property. This paved the way for blight and a tax subsidy (a carbon copy of the tactic he used at the old Sports Authority location in Crestwood, where he obtained a CID to "develop" the property after he failed to fill the vacated building);
* Passive local support for the project;
* The lack of a signed commitment from the anchor tenant;
* Minimal due diligence confirming the accuracy of the developer's projected revenues for the development;
* The lack of backing for the development by a financial institution;
* A retail market that has been saturated, thanks in part to local governments using tax incentives to gain access to retail revenues (retail store closings are evidence that the market is now correcting itself);
* The difficulty in finding new tenants to occupy the massive space left once the anchor tenant, in this case Walmart, moves (as it has done multiple times in St. Louis County);
* Decreases in property values for homes abutting the development as well as homes in the Affton School District, which will have the incremental tax receipts siphoned from its revenues;
* Competition from developers attempting to fill Crestwood Court with the same type of "junior anchors" the Kenrick development envisions; and
* The loss of Trianon Parkway. Do elected officials believe that shoppers would be willing to drive down Laclede Station Road and wait at the longest stoplight in the county only to backtrack down Watson to get to a Walmart?
Shrewsbury's officials seem to be resigned to this development, but these red flags should give them pause. Pursuing this project with the sole objective of generating revenues for the city without establishing first whether there is enough consumer demand will have a negative impact on its sustainability.
July 14, 2011
In a letter dated November 8, 2010, the Reverend Michael John Witt, Interim President-Rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, indicated to citizens that as part of the multi-million dollar renovation of the property, they would be including some security measures due to some break-ins and other problems.
The letter says "...we will be constructing a security fence along the east side oft he property and a decorative fence along the north side." It continues by selling residents that the fences will be "good for everyone" and than Kenrick will remain a "good neighbor."
Let me state upfront that the seminary has every right to do whatever it pleases to its property, within the confines of the city codes. And, if there's been criminal activity, it should be able to do what it takes to protect itself. Now, we know that there have been break-ins, according to the letter. There are rumors about other activity that's been going on, but the police don't make their crime records readily available in the form of a blotter, and all of the residents I've spoken with are in the dark, hearing only rumors, if anything.
That said, let's take a look at how the seminary is not yet exactly living up to its "good neighbor" status.
First, the outline of the new fence mentioned two directions: east - along Mackenzie Pointe and the railroad tracks, well away from residents - and north - along Hazel Ave.
It failed to mention, however, the other two directions. Let's take a look at what's going on along the west sides of the property:
Is that a chain link fence? Yes it is. A low-grade, lowest common denominator chain link fence, going across the property. Notice that the wild, long-standing woods have been completely ripped out, destroyed or left for dead. Kenrick-Glennon property had has many beautiful old trees, but has not been a particularly good steward of them. Over the past few years, many have died due to age, but Kenrick has not planted a single tree in their place, nor has it done proper maintenance of the trees that are there. This is another violation in its long line of failed stewardship of the property.
What about along the south side, fronting Kenrick Pointe?
Yes, another trashy fence:
I wonder why this fence was left off the letter to residents? They mentioned the "decorative" fence along the north side but conveniently forgot the ugly, cheap fence on another two sides?
And not to split hairs, but the "decorative" fence doesn't go entirely along the north side; it switches over to this junky fence around Danbury Avenue, and continues on the west and north sides of the property all the way over to City Hall at Deville. So, the letter was not exactly truthful or accurate.
The entrance gate at Glennon Dr. could certainly be considered "handsome." It is built of brick and stone and looks like a proper main entrance to the seminary.
But the "decorative" fence? I would assume that an institution that has been around for 80 years has built a fence that speaks to its endurance and looks far into the future.
Sadly, that's not to be, either:
Instead of a properly crafted, enduring fence made of wrought iron, we've go the cheap, ho-hum, tubular steel fence with bolt-on railings and chintzy pop-on finials. How could the builder of this fence ignore the finials on the posts? After being up a few mere months, the posts are covered in bird droppings. This will increase the deterioration of the metal. This fence will be even more of an eyesore, rather than something to be proud of.
The fence doesn't say "This institution will be here another 80 years, stronger than ever." It says "We're going to try to make it last another decade if we can."
Now we take another view of the "good neighbor" status. Its neighbors acknowledge that the seminary is certainly private property; there is no argument about the issue. But for all these decades, the tradition of the seminary has been tied to Shrewsbury. It is private property that was a community asset; indeed many of its closest neighbors contributed to the rebuilding effort. They realize that not only is the seminary an benefit to the Archdiocese, but is (was) also an asset to the neighborhood.
For over sixty years, its neighbors to the north and west have strolled the seminary grounds, walking on the footpaths and making their way to the city center (or Prep South), to the neighborhoods on the other side, or simply walking around the driveway. In return, the seminary residents drove the streets of Shrewsbury (often very late at night) to get back and forth, walked our streets, and occasionally used them for parking. (Note that the seminary does not pay property taxes to Shewsbury). It was a give-and-take situation that did benefit everyone.
But now, there is no more neighborliness left. They've built themselves into a fortress.
The seminary might also be shooting itself in the foot. It might be closing off the property to its "bad" neighbors; anyone arriving on the east side by way of the railroad tracks is probably not going to be up to any good. But by closing off the property to its "good" neighbors, it's losing extra pairs of eyes that walk the grounds day and night. These neighbors are not afraid to call the police if they see something amiss. And it has happened; this is not idle speculation. I've heard people saying their annual end-of-year donations to the seminary will be reduced or eliminated. By building this fence, Kenrick-Glennon has thrown the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.
The institution is clearly saying to its neighbors, we don't want you here anymore. They've blocked their neighbors. They've put up chain link fences just a few yards from homes that have had otherwise unencumbered access back and forth for over 60 years. No gates, only fences. They've gone out of their way to destroy the characteristic beauty of the grounds, and they've been deceptive in telling their plans to many of the very people who generously donated to the building campaign in the past. No, Father, these measures are not, "good for everyone."
With this folly, I think a piece of our history and neighborhood is, sadly, gone.
A comment on a recent story:
I'm in a discussion over at http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com/Letters-19034.114137-BackToNature-Park-At-Kenrick.html regarding Kenrick Plaza. I want to make sure I'm accurate regarding the leasing agent/owners at Kenrick. Can you clarify for me?
I had forgotten that the Times allows comments on Letters to the Editor. To anyone reading them, I encourage you to correct false statements and misunderstandings online if you can't do it via the print version of the paper.
To answer your question, you are basically correct. Thank you for citing other useful bits of information, like GJ Grewe's conversations with Crestwood officials when it was asking for public money to do development and maintenance at the Crestwood shopping center (incidentally, right next to Grewe "headquarters"). I think it's important to understand that when you play with snakes, you're likely to get bitten - figuratively in Shrewsbury's case, or literally in this one.
Anybody can go to the St. Louis County Revenue Property Search website and search for owners. You will notice that Lipton Kenrick Associates LP owns Kenrick I. At one time, I believe they may have owned owned Kenrick II (not up for redevelopment), where Powerhouse Gym is. But that property, 7435 Watson, is owned by First Bank. This is confirmed by the St. Louis Business Journal, which states:
The report notes the property is jointly owned by First Bank, Lipton Kenrick Associates LP and KDNL Inc. c/o Sinclaire Broadcast Group.
In fact, as you can see here, Lipton has owned Kenrick since 1990.
Sinclaire owns the land with the broadcasting tower and equipment.
What "Richard Nixon" got half-wrong in the exchange with you is the relationship between the owner and the property manager/leasing agent for Kenrick I, which is the important one for our discussion. "Richard Nixon" was correct in stating that Cozad is the property manager for Kenrick II. This means they are also the leasing agent, as you can see in the following photo:
Cozad is the company to contact if you have an issue with the property. For example, Powerhouse Gym told its clients some time ago that if they were unhappy with the broken lights and potholes in the parking lot, to please call Cozad. We didn't call Lipton Kenrick or First Bank or Sinclaire Group (i.e. the owners), but the manager - the leasing agent - as displayed on the sign above.
So what company has the same relationship to Kenrick I? You were right. But maybe words won't make a difference, so here is a visual. First, a portion of the "declined and deteriorated" plaza, as "Richard Nixon" put it:
And now the abandoned outlot where Burker King was:
And finally, as you accurately put it, the "public health menace" with a hole in the roof. (bottom of the picture, between the legs of the theater sign; sorry for the blur):
And one further reference, from notes taken at a BOA Work Session.
Grewe will continue to lease and manage the site.
Perhaps this site has not been hard enough on Lipton, the owners, in their role in the decline of the property. Perhaps they need to be accountable too; it is a fact that they will benefit greatly from the publicly-financed redevelopment of the severely deteriorated plaza which they've owned for two decades. But it is also a fact that the manager GJ Grewe has a history of sitting on declining and nuisance properties, strong-arming cities into getting public funds, and profiting greatly from public subsidy in fixing up private property.
As you stated, and I agree: What happened to risk-reward capitalism?
Make sure to vote in the newest poll to let your voice be heard on the matter. And don't forget to demand answers to these types of questions from your aldermen.
Mayor's Letter with Comments
Mayor Buckley addressed a letter to citizens today. Following is the letter as well as some comments in red.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
- I hope this letter finds all of you well and warm. I wanted to touch base and bring you up to date on what is going on around town. As most of you are aware, our street crews have been unusually busy with keeping our streets cleared and safe for traffic. Our hat’s are off to them for the great job they do. Our parks department has been busy working on a grant for our parks, which we have been awarded. The grant money will be used to replace the mulch play surface with a rubberized play surface at Brinkop Park. I believe we will all find this to be a wonderful improvement to our park and we can expect to see the change this spring. Thanks to the parks department for a fine job. The fire department has been busy as well, and as many of you may have seen in the Webster Kirkwood Times, they are giving away sockets, or light switches for the front porch light. These devices are used to make the porch light flash in case of an emergency, allowing the emergency responders to easily identify the house. If you are interested in finding out more about these free devices for your home, please call the fire department at 645-5077 during normal business hours, Mon-Friday/ 8:30-5:00 pm. Streib electric has offered to install the light switches for free to residents. Again, a thank you goes out to both Streib electric and our fine fire department for making this program available to our community. I also wanted to make the community aware that our police department received its CALEA accreditation a few years ago and will be undergoing reaccreditation this year. (I was curious what the benefit of such accreditation is, as well as its cost to taxpayers. The CALEA website (link here) has details about both.)This is a remarkable accomplishment for a police department of our size as they are the smallest department in the State of Missouri to receive this recognition. The police department will also be receiving a grant for bullet proof body armor to keep our officers safe. Our thanks to them for the commitment they show to our community. And, as always, the administration/finance departments are working hard behind the scenes, and we thank them for a job well done.
- As many of you may be aware, there are a number of construction projects underway around town. Firstly, a Petco is currently under construction at Mackenzie Plaza. I believe it will be a nice addition to the plaza and will serve our area well. Construction is also expected to occur at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary (I believe this is why Dierberg's/Capitol Land is an asset to our community. They actively seek and retain tenants of their structure, and back up their attempts with solid maintenance and improvement of the property. Since GJ Grewe has managed Kenrick Plaza, has its condition ever improved? To my recollection, it has done nothing but decline. Whether it's the structure, the tenants, the parking lot, or the outlots, GJ Grewe has done nothing to help Kenrick Plaza in my opinion. In fact, it seems as though he will benefit from its deterioration). Most of the construction will deal with upgrades to the building, but there will be an addition added to the east side of the building. We have requested drawings and a schedule of the expected construction timeline, which we will place on our website. When we receive the information, we will be sure to post it for you. We are pleased that the diocese has shown a commitment to this beautiful building. Finally, I know the community is interested in receiving information about the possible redevelopment of Kenrick Plaza. Currently, discussions continue with GJ Grewe Inc. When we have definitive information that we can bring to the community, we will be sure to do so.
- As a reminder, our Board of Aldermen meetings are on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00pm in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall. All are welcome at these meetings, which are a good opportunity for you to either address the Board with any issue or simply meet your alderman. We also generally meet for a work session once a month. We hope to meet on the 4th Tuesday of each month for these meetings. However, the meeting dates for the work session can change from time to time to accommodate the needs of your aldermen. These meetings are also opened to the public and we have added a “hear the citizens” portion to the agendas to provide you with another opportunity to address the Board. If you ever see an agenda item that you want to comment on or would like more information about and are unable to attend the meeting, just contact us for further information.
- Lastly, the 2011 budget was passed last month. Many hours went into setting the budget, and I want to thank our Board of Aldermen for putting up with the long work sessions necessary to finalize the budget. They give a great deal of their time to the community. This was a difficult budget year, with difficult decisions that needed to be made. A number of cuts were made to the budget which included but were not limited to:
- part time and summer time positions
- pool hours remain shortened
- three police cars which were due to be replaced were not (Each car had
around 70 thousand miles on it after 3 years of use. Clearly, these cars are
being used and are needed.) (I think this is good news. Right off the bat, I don't believe any city official would say that this decision will affect the department's ability to serve our community. In this day and age, 70,000 miles is not a lot of miles. The website auto-facts.com indicates that "The average police vehicle is currently replaced at around 100,000 miles.". Police car components are extremely heavy duty, and should certainly last this long. The status quo perception is that 75,000 miles is when maintenance costs become higher. But there are two points to be made: first, at that mileage, it is invariably cheaper to maintain a car than to replace it, and second, there may even be other ways to mitigate the wear and tear on a police car. One such effort that comes to mind would be reducing the amount of time the car idles, at least when not in emergency situations).
-and the most difficult cut was the pay freeze throughout the city. This
included both COLA and Merit raises. This is no doubt a difficult decision that affects the city employees. I empathize, but would also like to point out that this has been true in the corporate world (including this author's) as well, several years in a row for many. In fact, for many employees (including this author), there is and never was such a thing as a "COLA" (Cost of Living Adjustment). Merit raises are what keeps many privately-employed workers' families fed in the face in inflation, and those too have been reduced or cut back entirely in the corporate world. Unfortunately, people wind up cutting back because their employers have cut back. The same principle applies to publicly-paid employees as well, which we are now beginning to see. Last year, public service employees of Shrewsbury (and possibly others) received merit increases. If and when the economy recovers, we can hopefully stay competitive with other employers be re-instating merit raises.
The General Fund has a projected deficit of ($180,996.00) which would result in a budgeted reserve of $2,010,388.00 as of 12/31/11.
The Capital Fund has a projected deficit of ($9,937) which would result in a budgeted reserve of $705,124.00 as of 12/31/11.
The Debt Service Fund has a projected deficit of ($3,630) which would result in a budgeted reserve of $1,027,238 as of 12/31/11.
The Sewer Lateral Fund has a projected surplus of $17,362 which would result in a budgeted reserve of $286,588 as of 12/31/11.
Note: Revenue and reserves can not be used interchangeably from one fund to another. (Keep in mind, this is why we have to vote on "tax transfers". We vote ourselves a tax to pay for a shiny new vehicle or pool house -- regardless of the final outcome -- and then when the bonds are paid off, it's easy to pass a "no tax increase" tax increase to funnel into the general fund.)
One last note, Margie Morrissey was named as Shrewsbury’s 2011 Citizen of Year. She has been a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury and has served our community as a volunteer at St. Michael’s Parish and other charitable organizations. Congratulations to Margie. Thank you for making a difference in our community.
If you have any questions, please always feel free to contact me. If you have emailed and I have not responded, please feel free to resend the email. From time to time my volume of emails is large and it is easy to miss one.
Felicity Buckley, Mayor
The Answer is Simple
After watching the somewhat limited Fox 2 report on the issue, and listening to the ensuing discussion on several message boards, I think some clarification needs to be made about this development.
Namely, what can be done to stop it.
At several of the public hearings, board meetings, and work sessions, I've heard people talk about passing ordinances, or changing zoning, or using existing laws to "stop this kind of development in Shrewsbury." In this case, I agree with the mayor and board that you can not pass any sort of ordinance prohibiting, say, Wal-Mart but allowing another retailer to occupy a space. The discussion needs to stop because it is counterproductive and is the wrong way to fight the battle.
So, can the Kenrick Wal-mart be stopped?
Of course it can. Easily. All this city has to do is not fund it. Don't pay a developer tax money (TIF, CID, or TDD) to put in Wal-Mart. That is the end of it. Period.
Isn't that easy? It's like me saying, "I wish I wouldn't keep getting these holes in my foot," and you answering, "Well just stop shooting yourself there." Seriously. Shrewsbury doesn't have to have a Wal-Mart if we simply choose not to pay to put one there.
This site has gone to exhausting lengths to chronicle how GJ Grewe manages this rotting property. We've documented how he stands to benefit from its neglect. We've shown how he played a similar game in Columbia IL, sued it (and lost) and nearly bankrupted that city. We've shown and documented how he threatened Crestwood officials if he didn't get money to perform basic maintenance on his property. Most importantly, he is quoted as saying that a Wal-Mart in Kenrick Plaza won't happen without massive public subsidy.
So, all the city has to do is say "no"..... and it's over . Even if it went further and to the County TIF commission, they'd vote it down because it doesn't have local support. Then our board would have to override the vote with a supermajority. Or they reject it. It doesn't go to the State. It's over.
Why aren't your ELECTED, REPRESENTATIVE officials simply going to say, "No"? In fact, if just THREE of our REPRESENTATIVES would say NO to pursuing public handouts, this whole debacle is over and we can start over by looking for quality developers - without the hype, hyperbole, and snake oil charm of our current "preferred" developer. The city can then force Grewe to fix the property, or fine the company because the property is a declared public menace. In other words, our city can enforce its own ordinances the way it's supposed to - to protect the health and well-being of the city and its residents.
But people are still talking the same losing battles with zoning, passing laws, or other false hopes. It doesn't need to be that way.
What can you do?
- Educate people. Send them to this site (use the little envelope icon at the top of this entry to email someone)
- Share this story on Facebook
- Email your aldermen and tell them you expect them to vote NO on your behalf:
Aldermen Ward I
5127 Exeter Avenue
Shrewsbury, MO 63119
Shrewsbury, MO 63119
Aldermen Ward II
7425 Weil Avenue
Shrewsbury, MO 63119
5009 Deville Avenue
Shrewsbury, MO 63119
Aldermen Ward III
7805 Somerworth Court
Shrewsbury, MO 63119
5365 Somerworth Lane
Shrewsbury, MO 63119
If you have other ideas on how we can get the TRUTH out - about the development, about TIF, and about this developer - please share them.