St. Louis city officials want to do more to preserve some vacant buildings for future development, and tear down those that are beyond repair. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a bill will be filed Friday with the Board of Aldermen that would set up a preservation fund of about $500,000 a year to fix roofs and walls on long-term vacant buildings. An equal amount would go to the city's demolition fund.
The paper reports that the cash would come from a new fee on electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits, but building owners would face a lien for the costs as well.
If the aldermen agree, the measure would go before voters, possibly as early as next spring.
A separate bill also to be filed Friday would toughen penalties for owners who let decay their so-called "high merit" historic buildings, like the now-demolished Cupples 7 building.
A key Aldermanic committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning on tax incentives for Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration plan.
Passage of the updated $390 million TIF isn't assured, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that its chances are better after a hearing yesterday. U.S. Congressman Lacy Clay, Mayor Francis Slay, and other voiced strong support for the two square mile development north of downtown.
No vote was taken yesterday because half of the eight-member Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee was absent from the meeting. Five committee members must be present for a quorum.
The Aldermen missing from Tuesday's committee hearing were Terry Kennedy, who was attending a funeral. Sam Moore, who's recuperating from a bad car accident last week. Antonio French and Chris Carter, whose absence was unexplained. Neither could be reached for comment. Board President Lewis Reed could have filled in, but his staff told the paper that he was out of town.
If the committee approves the changes to the TIF, it will then go before the full Board of Aldermen, where it's chances of passage have improved.
Alderman Freeman Bosley Senior, whose ward makes up a large part of the project area, had opposed the project, but has apparently changed his mind. Bosley toured the project area with McKee last Wednesday and told the paper that after seeing McKee's plans, he doesn't know anyone who would oppose it.