The St. Louis city-county merger debate rages on

To say that I have been surprised at the number of views of my recent post on the potential merger of St. Louis city and county would be an understatement. There have been close to 1,000 views in three days time.

Many people have expressed their thoughts. I have been commended by some and called flat-out wrong on the facts by others. I’ve been told that if the city merged with the county, that nothing would change regarding population statistics – the city limits would not be re-defined and there would still be the same dwindling numbers that the city has been experiencing. Same with the crime statistics. I’ve also been told that all the various cities within this area – the city of Dellwood, the city of Des Peres, etc. would all cease to exist and so things like the Des Peres Lodge would then fall into the realm of a St. Louis city managed facility – if indeed there were to be such a thing as several people tell me that it’s quite frankly impossible.

Then there’s the matter of some of our free institutions – the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the History Museum – these are free to everyone but you know who pays for them? Taxpayers within the St. Louis city and county area. Many people contend that people who live outside the city and county area – say our neighbors in St. Charles or over on the East Side, should have to pay some sort of an entrance fee when they visit these public venues. They’re getting the benefit of the free admission, but paying none of the freight. Is that right?

I guess what I should do is contact our good mayor and perhaps our county councilman and ask them both their thoughts on whether or not this merger could ever take place and could it ever make sense for the area as a whole.

Because it’s the growth and prosperity of this area that is my ultimate goal. I want to see the St. Louis area rise to greatness once again. I want the city to become important again as a place of commerce and as the hub of the nation. I want the schools (both public and private) to prosper. I want major corporations to shift their headquarters here and startups to have the tax incentives to grow and the backing to make it happen. I want families to know this is a great place to live yet I want us all to have the opportunity to explore the world and learn from the triumphs and the mistakes that others make in their communities.

Yes, I am an idealist.

Maybe it doesn’t take a city-county merger to bust us out of our mindsets. Maybe it doesn’t require re-zoning for us to try and help our fellow St. Louisans.

And maybe I should just stick to writing about advertising and let this one go.

Still, I’m interested in the possibilities. Chelsie Helige told me there is a group called Tomorrow STL that’s a part of the Greater Gateway Alliance that is trying to get the city’s re-entry into the county to be on a statewide ballot in 2014.

Stay tuned and we’ll see what happens.