Thursday, April 03, 2008

Blairmont - What Can I Do?

The Daily Dose will resume tomorrow. Here at the one month mark, I wanted to share some ways that readers can take action on the Blairmont situation. With hundreds of properties lying fallow in the hands of Blairmont and its sister shell companies, the average citizen may feel pretty powerless to do anything about it. But ordinary citizens have already made a difference in the situation, first by bringing it to light, then focusing media attention on the matter, and by keeping the issue in the spotlight.

But it's still not bringing back the houses or the residents; it's still not stopping the brick rustlers. So what can you do?

  • Keep eyes on Blairmont's properties.
    If you're a St. Louis resident, you can visit these areas yourself. Most importantly, you can keep an eye out for brick rustlers at work. Brick rustlers often work irregular hours -- the ones I saw in 2007 were attacking houses on a late Sunday afternoon, a time when no legitimate contractor is going to be out doing work.

    And if you see them, CALL 911 TO REPORT THE CRIME. There is heavy suspicion among the locals that brick rustlers are being actively encouraged to attack Blairmont properties. If arrests can be made, further light may be shed on the issue. And it IS a crime -- it's theft, vandalism, destruction of property, demolition without a permit, often desecration of historic districts, and creation of a danger to the public.

  • Work with the residents.
    * Contact the Neighbors for Justice -, 314-371-1190 or e-mail Sheila Rendon at
    * Contact the Develop With Dignity coalition.

  • Write or call Paul McKee's office.
    Let them know that abandonment and demolition are not acceptable, and that they are doing a disservice to the city. Let them know that St. Louis's north side deserves to be redeveloped as a city, as an urban environment, a dense, pedestrian-friendly place with links to its past and physical connections to the rest of the city.

    Don't just focus on the negative; let them know what things are needed: new development, preservation, urban diversity, density, walkable environments, mixed uses, mixed incomes.

    Heck, send 'em a copy of Death and Life of Great American Cities or Suburban Nation. They have shown interest in doing a project in lower north St. Louis, an area that needs new development. The idea is not to drive them away, but to make sure their current destructive tactics are ended, and to help guide the project in the right directions for a city neighborhood.

    McEagle Realty
    1001 Boardwalk Springs Place
    O'Fallon, Missouri 63368

  • Contact local politicians.
    Most of Blairmont's holdings are in the city's 5th Ward and 19th Ward; a few are in Ward 3. You can contact the Aldermen for these districts, and the mayor's office, and let them know the same things as McEagle.

    President of the Board of Aldermen: Lewis Reed
    Email contact

    Ward 5: April Ford-Griffin
    Email contact

    Ward 19: Marlene Davis
    Email contact

    Ward 3: Freeman M. Bosley Sr.
    Email contact

    Mayor Francis Slay
    Email contact

    City Hall, Room 230
    1200 Market Street
    St. Louis, MO 63103
    (314) 622-3287

  • Contact State politicians.
    At the State of Missouri level, the following districts are involved:
    58th Missouri Legislative District - Rodney R. Hubbard
    60th Missouri Legislative District - Jamilah Nasheed

    5th Missouri Senatorial District - Maida Coleman

  • Keep the media focused on the issue.
    Write letters to the local newspapers:
    - The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    - The Riverfront Times
    - St. Louis Business Journal
    - St. Louis American
    - St. Louis Magazine
    - St. Louis Commerce Magazine

    TV stations too!
    - KMOV-4 (CBS)
    - KSDK-5 (NBC)
    - KETC (PBS)
    - Fox-St. Louis (okay, yes, I'm being optimistic here, but what's it gonna hurt?)

    And radio:
    - KMOX
    - KDHX
    - KWMU

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