As I’ve said, my father was born to a St Louis with 850,000 people; by the time I was born we were down to 450,000. My son was born last year to a town of 317,000 people.
If we are to provide the tens of thousands of St Louis children like my son a bright future where they can remain in our City and have the livable-wage jobs they need to prosper, we must reverse this trend of economic decline.
We’ve seen good examples in the 8th Ward of how to reverse this trend. The South Grand Business District is a model of business owners working together to create a destination within the city – and spurring further development north of the district. Thurman and Shaw, once one of the Shaw neighborhood’s most challenged intersections, is now one of its most desirable, from a small-business standpoint. And, other key corners are opening gathering places of all sorts – many of which are owned and operated by city and/or neighborhood residents. These businesses not only stimulate economic activity in the ward, but also bring in needed tax dollars and provide jobs for people in the community.
As a city, we can – and should – do better. As Alderman, I’ll work with my colleagues at the board, along with allies at the state level, to:
- Strengthen workforce development opportunities through SLATE – the city’s agency for training and employment, funded largely through state dollars.
- Bring needed reforms to tax incentives – ensuring small businesses have a good shot at opening doors in our city, while making sure no project gets rubber stamped.
As Alderman, I’m committed to working with potential entrepreneurs, who want to do business in the 8th Ward, with navigating the process of setting up shop – and ensuring ward residents have both the platform and power to address their concerns.