October 12, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Re: St. Louis County Government Funding for the St. Louis Convention Center
It has recently come to light there is a perceived impasse or hold up of St. Louis County’s funding share for St. Louis Convention Center projects. Allow this statement to serve as a clarification to correct any misunderstandings or misconceptions about the status of the legislation that is currently before the St. Louis County Council.
Two years ago, an agreement was made between then-Councilwoman Hazel Erby, Kitty Radcliff (of the CVC) and Steve Stenger, the former County Executive. The agreement among the three entities secured support and funding by the Convention Center Authority of a greatly needed recreational facility in North St. Louis County in exchange for support for a 40-year financial commitment of St. Louis County funding to the Convention Center (reference Bill 73, 2019). The agreement was met with hope and enthusiasm by Councilwoman Erby and thousands of youth and families. Sadly, and to this day, there is no such comparable facility in North St. Louis County. There has been no material, nor substantive movement towards this agreement. It is disconcerting, to say the least, that some feel comfortable abandoning that commitment for the so-called “greater good” of the region.
Now that St. Louis County funding is absolutely necessary for the CVC to move forward with its 2021 projects, in the absence of its commitment to North St. Louis County, the interpretation of what is “good for the region” is looking like a calculation using fuzzy math.
For all the parties involved, the best interest is to fulfill the promise made on behalf of North St. Louis County residents. I fully and clearly understand the boundaries of this issue and intend to hold those responsible.
I support the modernization of our Convention Center. It is an economic asset that draws people to the region and therefore sustains jobs. I am thoroughly committed to supporting the needs of my district. The promised recreation center will serve as an outlet for our children, provide structure and also act as a community center. I cannot overstate the value that a recreation center would mean on so many levels. Just like the convention center will create construction and permanent jobs, so will the recreation center. Both will provide for opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses. There is no reason why both projects cannot be delivered for the good of the region.
Some have proposed moving this discussion to a more public arena in an effort to add public pressure to move the Convention Center legislation forward. I work for and answer to the constituents of St. Louis County’s 1st Council District. They serve as my moral compass and we will not allow this commitment to deteriorate into another broken promise for our community. A commitment was made, and the expectation is that it will be honored.
There is plenty of room to make both projects a reality. I stand ready to act when clearer heads prevail.