When I became alderman in the 6th Ward, in Lafayette Square, it wasn’t the shiny diamond it is today. There was a junkyard and a liquor store, there were vacant lots and abandoned factories. It’s hard to imagine now - but it’s true. I worked with the neighborhood to develop a plan. Then, I worked to get it funded. The neighborhood had control over the dollars - not the developers.
By adopting a real vision for the 6th Ward, I sponsored legislation and worked to create development plans that ultimately resulted in over $1.7 billion of new development to the City of St. Louis and added hundreds of new housing units throughout the 6th Ward and contributed to the rebirth of Washington Avenue, which created the numerous loft living spaces available today.
I believe development happens with a neighborhood, not to a neighborhood. Neighborhood planning helps each neighborhood keep ahold of its unique identity, architecture, and personality.
Here are some ways I’ve been able to help our neighborhoods grow:
Economic Growth Strategy for the City. I created an ordinance for the City that directs the St. Louis Development Corporation to create a plan to advance our City forward and generate more revenue, Ordinance 70748. We know that the City of St. Louis has a wealth of competitive assets that can be positioned to advance the future of St. Louis. However, despite the City’s vast array of assets, the City is in need of direction to better utilize our assets and grow our City’s tax revenue and resident’s wealth. The purpose of the City of St. Louis Economic Strategic Report is to highlight the key points of the City, define the areas of issue and create a strategy to help address these issues and move the City forward. The Report will be a tool that will provide the Board of Aldermen, city residents, the City of St. Louis and developers with information on the benefits and 8 weaknesses of the City. If the plan is utilized properly, it can be a process for coordination and unity across the City and can help serve as a bridge to break through decades of divisions to bring groups together that are in desperate need of repair with a centralized focus.
Connected our neighborhoods. In 2013, I brought Nextdoor to St. Louis. Nextdoor.com was designed to make community engagement easier for neighborhoods. The site, which is now used by more than 14,000 neighborhoods nationwide, requires users to verify their address and only allows those within the boundaries of the neighborhood and immediately adjacent to view and post updates. In St. Louis, there are more than 50,000 users in the city. Nextdoor is a logical partner in our efforts to foster community-based solutions through resident-led initiatives. What we know for sure is this: a connected community is a safer community.
Kept seniors in their homes. In November 2016, voters of the City of St. Louis favorably approved Proposition S, which allowed for the creation of a senior services fund supported by a newly established 5 cent property tax. Proposition S was sponsored by Reed at the Board of Aldermen and backed by a coalition of organizations serving the needs of seniors, and promoted through a campaign titled "Seniors Count". This effort aims to address serious gaps in funding and delivery of services for residents 60 years of age and older who wish to continue to live independently. The fund makes up for gaps in Medicare and Medicaid coverage, access to transportation, proper nutrition, routine home maintenance, quality homemaker/respite services, and adequate care coordination as well as opportunities for socialization, dental and behavioral healthcare.
Raised the minimum wage. I worked tirelessly to raise the minimum wage in our City. In 2011, I fought with the administration to push good legislation through the City to have the best wage for our workers. I even called in two special sessions in order to pass the legislation to raise the wage. In 2018, I am happy to see the State take a stance and raise our wage.
Attended and spoke at numerous community meetings surrounding community benefit agreements. I introduced legislation requiring developments over a $1Million to have a community benefits agreement with the community. I hosted and participated in several community meetings to discuss what are community benefit agreements and how the City of St. Louis could benefit from them. I have been involved with these efforts for more than ten years, and I will continue to shepherd these across our City.
Worked to get our money back. I uncovered that the State owes the City more than $20 million for housing state prisoners in City jails. The housing of state prisoners in City jails costs $80 per prisoner per day. However, the state doesn't pay the full $80 or even half of that. It pays $21.08 per prisoner per day. I sent a letter to the former Governor Greitens requesting his immediate review of Missouri Statute Section 221.105, which sets a reimbursement rate for detainees in city jails facing State charges. I am continuing to fight for these funds.
Established the first dog park for the City. In 2004, I worked with animal rights and advocacy groups to establish, for the city of St. Louis, rules and regulations to allow for 'dog exercise areas' in existing parks. This ordinance, 66595, paved the way for other alderpersons and community groups to designate areas for dog parks.
Paved the way to become a 'Smart City.' I cosponsored Resolution 144 which supports the Smart City Initiative of the City. The resolution identifies opportunities to improve the quality of life for its citizens and to foster economic growth through innovation in the areas of: economic development; infrastructure growth and modernization; transportation; public safety and emergency management; public health; environmental sustainability; the efficient and effective delivery of City services; community resilience and transparency in government.