Page 1

Volume 16, Number 8

1 Section, 16 Pages

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

9977 Lin Ferry Drive St. Louis, MO 63123

Mall redevelopment on hold until after election, Schlink says By KARI WILLIAMS Staff Reporter Centrum Properties, the owner of Crestwood Court, has no intention of moving forward with the pending redevelopment of the mall until a new board is elected in April, according to Mayor Jeff Schlink.

“... Centrum, as of right now, they are not interested in moving forward with the project,” Schlink said last week at a Board of Aldermen meeting. “They’re not going to come to St. Louis. We’re not sitting on our hands. They’ve told us and (former Ward 3 Alderman Gregg) Roby that they’re not going to do anything. They’re going to wait until a new

board is elected in April and then they’re going to see if there’s people that’ll support the TIF (tax-increment financing) that they’re requesting.” Schlink said he spoke with Vic Pildes, of Centrum Properties, Feb. 12 and told Pildes it was his intention “to not (See MALL, Page 8A)

Lindbergh board gives green light to traffic plan for Long Elementary

Mike Anthony photo

This dead end at Doercrest Drive will be extended to create a gated, exit-only road for five buses to use twice a day at Long Elementary School. Lindbergh Schools officials say because the road will be 20 feet wide, it never will be able to be used for two-way traffic.

By MIKE ANTHONY Executive Editor Lindbergh Schools’ traffic plan for Long Elementary School was modified in an effort to “find a win-win solution with our neighbors,” according to Superintendent Jim Simpson. The Board of Education voted unanimously Feb. 12 to approve a construction plan for Long Elementary School that Simpson says will solve traffic-congestion problems that have existed for decades at the school on Sappington Road. Executive Director of Planning and Development Karl Guyer told the board last week, “... We’re bringing you the best plan for this campus.”

Firm’s selection may tarnish city’s bid process, officials say By KARI WILLIAMS Staff Reporter Some Crestwood aldermen raised concerns about the city’s competitive bidding process possibly being tarnished after the board voted 4-3 last week to tentatively select a pool management company that was not the lowest bidder. City staff and the Park Board recommended the Board of Aldermen select the lowest bidder, Midwest Pool Management, or MPM,

instead of the current company, Lifeguards Unlimited, or LGU. The not-to-exceed salary amount from MPM came in at $158,611, while the not-to-exceed salary amount from LGU was $165,130. Over the course of a four-year contract, the city would save roughly $34,000 by selecting MPM. The board conducted a first reading of an ordinance to select MPM on Jan. 23. Due to failure to receive unanimous approval for (See SELECTION, Page 3A)

Mehlville finalizes school start, end times for three-tier bus system Staff Report Mehlville School District officials have finalized the school start and end times for the three-tier bus system for students that will begin with the 2013-2014 school year. The Board of Education recently voted unanimously to operate a three-tier bus system instead of the four-tier system that has

Bernard Middle, Washington Middle, Oakville Middle, Blades Elementary and Beasley Elementary. • The third tier will begin at 8:50 a.m. and end at 3:35 p.m. Schools include: Bierbaum Elementary, Point Elementary, Forder Elementary, Hagemann Elementary, Oakville (See START, Page 8A)

(See LONG, Page 6A)

No ruling in suit seeking to bar Klund from ballot By MIKE ANTHONY Executive Editor A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge had yet to issue a ruling before the Call’s press time on whether Mehlville Fire Protection District candidate Mike Klund will remain on the April 2 election ballot. Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Secretary Ed Ryan filed a lawsuit Jan. 28 against Klund and the county Board of Election Commissioners that seeks to have Klund removed from the ballot. Klund, of Lemay, filed Jan. 15 to challenge Ryan, of Concord, in the April election for a Board of Directors seat. (See SUIT, Page 4A)

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been in effect since the 2011-2012 school year. • The first tier will begin at 7:20 a.m. and end at 2:05 p.m. Schools include: Mehlville and Oakville senior highs and Buerkle Middle. • The second tier will begin at 8:05 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m. Schools include:

Lindbergh Schools paid $850,000 to buy 4.684 acres adjacent to Long Elementary School, 9021 Sappington Road. Construction plans call for an expanded parking area for staff, green space for physical education fields, a nature trail and stormwater control, among other improvements. In addition, the plan calls for the existing Long entrance to remain in place as an entrance-only driveway onto the site and will be dedicated to car traffic. All cars will exit the campus onto Sappington Road through a new exit driveway. The current exit from the parking lot will be closed and a new three-lane driveway will be created roughly across from Banyon

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pass along this information because it has been shared with Mr. Roby.” But Schlink’s remarks came after comments from resident Mary Chubb, who said it appears “a portion of the board wants to sit on its hands and wait for something to change with Centrum.” “Our experience is you don’t sit on your hands and wait, you initiate the action,” Chubb said. “So, I’ve heard it said that the ball is in Centrum’s court. The ball is in Crestwood’s court as well. You have equal needs, equal worries and so to sit on your hands and wait for them to come up with something different isn’t going to happen.” Roby has addressed the board over the past several months requesting updates on the status of the redevelopment. Last week, he asked about the possibility of arranging a town-hall meeting “so Centrum could explain the actual costs” related to “their $17 million requirement for TIF (tax-increment financing) on phase one” of the redevelopment project. “I know that TIF has long been a point of contention with our Board of Aldermen,” Roby said. “However, it is a legal and legitimate tool developed and governed by the state of Missouri statutes for just this purpose — to revive an otherwise blighted property to a state of economic viability for the community in which it is located, but it’s further reaching than that. “It will provide jobs for several-hundred construction workers and then severalhundred full-time and part-time workers to man the businesses that locate here,” he continued. “It will increase commercial and residential property values and provide additional revenues for the Lindbergh School District and current Crestwood businesses that stand to benefit businesswise from the additional traffic that will come to our area. All these things add badly needed revenue to our city.” Roby also said, “... It is not my interest to undermine the Board of Aldermen or your efforts with Centrum Properties, but I will tell you, and which I’m sure you know, I am in the business of construction. My business is calling on developers, general

contractors and on architects. “And that is how I got involved in this project and got involved with this developer. So to insinuate that I am, in any way, trying to interfere with your efforts is incorrect.” Centrum, the mall’s owner along with Angelo Gordon Co., proposed an open-air entertainment and retail venue last June that would include restaurants, a movie theater and a bowling concept. As proposed, the total redevelopment cost is roughly $121 million, with economic assistance in the form of TIF, a transportation development district, or TDD, and a community improvement district, or CID, reaching roughly $34 million, according to revised numbers presented to the city. Centrum’s initial plan listed the total cost at roughly $102 million, not including the second phase of the project, and economic assistance for both phases at nearly $42 million. Sol Barket, of Centrum Properties, told the board during a work session in November that Centrum reduced its CID and TDD sales-tax requests to 0.75 percent from 1 percent. Resident Jacqueline Stockhausen told the board she spoke for “many residents” in saying they are “still interested in the redevelopment of Crestwood Court.” “Therefore, many of us residents would like to request another town-hall meeting be held about this matter,” she said. Before announcing Centrum’s intention, Schlink said Pildes and he were trying to “pin down a date in the month of March” for a town-hall meeting. Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel said the proposal from Centrum “lacked specifics,” which is why he voted against previous motions related to the redevelopment. “When Centrum can come back with specifics, such as we have a Menards that is interested in moving in, then I’m very interested in sitting down,” Miguel said. Until Centrum is able to come forward with specific companies that could produce “the revenues to pay off the tax support” Centrum is requesting, the redevelopment “is just not financially viable,” according to Miguel. Centrum and Angelo Gordon purchased the mall property from the Westfield Group in 2008.

• Start Return to three-tier system will require additional buses (Continued from Page 1A)

Elementary, Rogers Elementary, Trautwein Elementary and Wohlwend Elementary. At the John Cary Early Childhood Center, the morning session will take place from 8:15 to 11:15 a.m. and the afternoon session will take place from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Early childhood times for Forder, Hagemann, Point, Rogers and Wohlwend have yet to be determined. For the three-tier system, 12 buses will need to be purchased in 2014, four buses in 2015 and four in 2017; as opposed to six buses in 2014, four buses in 2015 and four in 2017 for a four-tier system. The total

cost for the lease-purchase of 20 buses is $1,525,055. The district has buses dating back to 1993 models, and four buses are “out of commission” and two are close to being out of commission, according to Superintendent Eric Knost. Transportation Director Dan Gilman told the board last month he found three-yearold used buses in Bethalto that Mehlville can purchase for $62,000. New buses cost roughly $90,000, according to Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch. Knobloch said the district received a $20,000 grant toward the purchase of buses and has applied for four additional $20,000 grants, which could be put toward new bus purchases in 2015. The grants are through the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Gilman.

Volume 16, Number 13

2 Sections, 40 Pages

Thursday, March 28, 2013

9977 Lin Ferry Drive St. Louis, MO 63123

Klund challenges Ryan for MFPD board seat By GLORIA LLOYD Staff Reporter Mike Klund, who ran unsuccessfully in 2011 for the seat of Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer, is challenging incumbent board Secretary Ed Ryan for his seat in the Tuesday, April 2, election. Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, Ryan responded: “Keeping the board responsible to the taxpayer. Five

boards in the 1990s and 2000 to 2005 showed a complete lack of responsibility to the taxpayer and made a long list of bad decisions that almost bankrupted the budget.” Klund did not reply to a Call questionnaire. Klund, 54, of Lemay, is a small-business owner and is endorsed this year by the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, the South County Legislative Labor Club and International Association of Fire Fighters (See MFPD, Page 17A)

Board candidates debate the issues at Mehlville forum

By KARI WILLIAMS Staff Reporter Three Mehlville Board of Education candidates outlined their varying positions on construction of the district’s first auditorium, funding school safety improvements and teaching evolution at a candidate forum last week. Board Secretary Larry Felton, board President Venki Palamand and challenger Lori Trakas are seeking two seats on the Mehlville school board in the Tuesday, April 2, election. Felton and Palamand were first elected to the board in 2007. The two seats carry three-year terms. The candidates fielded about 25 questions during the March 18 forum at the Mehlville Senior High School Library. Roughly 60 people attended. Auditorium The three candidates agreed an auditorium is a good curricular piece for children, but Trakas questioned how the district is funding the construction. Though she said auditoriums are “wonderful, beautiful things” that every child desires, the “challenge is how we went about attaining the auditorium.” Trakas noted the auditorium is being funded through the refinancing of bond-like certificates initially issued by the district as part of Proposition P, a $68 million bond issue approved in November 2000 to fund a districtwide building improvement program. (See DEBATE, Page 7A)

Ed Ryan

Clock ticking on mall plans, Centrum official tells citizens By MIKE ANTHONY Executive Editor Time is running out for Crestwood officials to make a decision about Centrum Properties’ proposal to redevelop Crestwood Court, a Centrum representative said last week. Unless the mall’s owners see serious progress within the next few months, the current proposal likely will be taken off the table and the redevelopment could be placed on hold for as long as 10 years, Centrum Properties partner Sol Barket said at a March 20 town-hall meeting that drew more than 100 residents to the Community Center. Centrum’s plans remain unchanged from the proposal it unveiled last June. Centrum, the mall’s owner along with Angelo Gordon Co., proposed an open-air entertainment and retail venue that would include restaurants, a movie theater and an upscale bowling venue. As proposed, the total redevelopment cost is roughly $121 million, (See TICKING, Page 3A)

McBride, McDaniel challenge Lindbergh board incumbents

Oakville student starts business

An Oakville High School student has definitely taken a class on entrepreneurship to heart — she used it to start a bakery business. In a district news release, Melina Delkic, above, says she learned how to bake at an early age and spent hours in the kitchen with her mother. In the entrepreneurship class, students create a ‘pretend’ company and set up a business plan, so Melina naturally decided to build her business plan around a bakery. To read more and view a video, visit

Last of two parts By GLORIA LLOYD Staff Reporter Two incumbents on the Lindbergh Board of Education are being challenged by two newcomers in the Tuesday, April 2, election. Adam McBride and Adam McBride Cindy McDaniel Cindy McDaniel are seeking seats held by board Treasurer Kara Gotsch and board President Vic Lenz. The seats carry three-year terms. This article will feature McBride (See LINDBERGH, Page 10A)

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Call Publishing, Thursday, March 28, 2013 - Page 3A

• Ticking ‘Shelf life’ of Centrum’s plan ‘over,’ Barket tells residents (Continued from Page 1A)

with economic assistance in the form of tax-increment financing, or TIF, a transportation development district, or TDD, and a community improvement district, or CID, reaching roughly $34 million, according to revised numbers presented to the city. After a presentation from Vic Pildes, of Centrum Properties, Mayor Jeff Schlink said the comment has been made that he and some aldermen are not in favor of the redevelopment, but that’s not the case. “... Where the issue comes down to is ... the actual use of TIF. We have some people that oppose the use of TIF,” he said. “We have some people that are in favor of the project as is, and then we have some folks that are in the middle — the majority of the people that’d like to see some different flavor of what we have today, whether it’s dollar amount. Whether it’s type of development. Whether it’s duration of anything. It’s those types of things, and in no small part the types of businesses that would be moved in as well. “One of the things to keep in mind about the current development that we have — and I agree with Centrum’s analysis that the area is saturated with retail and to put another strong retail component into the Crestwood area would probably be very challenging. But keep in mind, the planner that the city hired also said that this development would be challenging as well, in part, because of its location. In part, also, because of the mix that it is,” Schlink said. Centrum and Angelo Gordon purchased the mall property from the Westfield Group in 2008 for more than $17 million. Resident Jan Herrmann said what Centrum paid in 2008 for the mall “was what it was worth at the time, and that’s the cost of doing business for you ... That’s one of the risks that you take and (it) should all be on your shoulders and not the citizens of Crestwood ...” Barket said, “... Your first comment was, it’s my problem. We bought the mall. We’re big boys. We’ve lost a lot of money before. We’ve made a lot of money. You’re a hundred percent right about that. It’s also your problem, in that what if I just say, “You know what, let’s just — Vic (Pildes), let’s just put this in our back pocket. Ten years from now, the environment’s going to be different. Ten years from now, I think it’s going to be a different world ...’ “The mall’s being shut down in a couple of months ... We would love to keep it open, but it doesn’t make sense. So our option is — listen, I’ve bought plenty of land and properties in the past and sat on (them) for 10 years ... At the end of the day, you as a community through your council members may say, ‘We’re better off. It’s their problem. Let them sit with an empty mall for 10 years ...’” Not everyone would agree with that course of action, he said, “But we’re willing to face that option. I mean, we know we don’t have to do anything. Nobody is obligated to do anything for us. We bought this with the expectation that there was a TIF available. That’s how the brokers marketed it ...” TIFs are abused “in a notorious way,” Barket acknowledged. But of Centrum’s

proposal, he said, “This is a classic, classic example of where it’s needed and Northwest Plaza is another classic example ...” Barket later said, “... If the decision-makers that are in power really think that you guys as a community are better off with an empty mall for 10 years, that may happen. “And if they have other ideas, bring me somebody to pay me — put a check in front of me for half of what I have invested in it, ready to close tomorrow. I might take it ...” Jackie Willey said her business, Sound Stone Massage Spa, formerly was in Crestwood Court, but now is in Watson Plaza. Her clients come from all over the metropolitan area, including Illinois. Many of her clients are younger, she said, and they are looking for entertainment opportunities. “... I was fortunate enough to spend much of my life traveling around the world with large groups. I’ve been to Europe and I can tell you this concept is golden. Do not miss this …,” Willey said. “So I think everyone should not worry about the TIF this, that, the taxes, what’s going to happen. Don’t vote this on the negative. Build it and they will come ...” Former Mayor Roy Robinson also voiced his support for Centrum’s proposal. “... This is a fine development and I think what we need in this community is somebody to — and I’m not criticizing — I just think somebody to grab the bull by the horns and bring these people together, sit down and get this thing going. And stop messing around playing politics and playing ‘I think this is better or that’s better,’” he said. “You run into that in small cities. Everybody thinks they know what’s best for everybody else. What you’ve got to do is bring them together and work with these people. They’ll give you a good project and they’ll make the city again grow over the next 20 or 30 years. I don’t know whether it will go 40 years, but I’ll guarantee it will be around for 20 years, and if we can do that, this city will come back, and my grandkids will be able to enjoy the things that their fathers and mothers did ...,” Robinson said. Former Ward 1 Alderman Rich Bland asked Barket about the “shelf life” of Centrum’s proposal. “... The shelf life is over,” Barket responded, adding the shelf life really ended when city officials decided “even though you’re paying for the independent studies that we need, we’re not going to allow you to spend your money — extremely frustrating. The reverberation that that had with all the retailers, with our financial partner ... who’s sitting in New York. They’ve got 200 partners all over the world, why are we wasting our time ... in Crestwood? “This is a real thing that happened. And because of the fact that they know I grew up here and my father calls one of the head guys at Angelo Gordon when he thinks he’s going to do something that’s not going to support his son and his vision for Crestwood and says, ‘You’ve got to give my boy a little bit more time.’ “I begged for the time that I’m getting now with many other people — (otherwise) this town-hall meeting wouldn’t be occurring. I want to see this happen. If we don’t see positive, major, serious, real movement forward, literally within the next couple of months, that’s the shelf life. “That’s it. We’re at the end ...”

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Volume 16, Number 21

1 Section, 16 Pages

Thursday, May 23, 2013

9977 Lin Ferry Drive St. Louis, MO 63123

Mayor breaks deadlock on initial OK of planner for mall redevelopment By KARI WILLIAMS Staff Reporter Mayor Jeff Schlink broke a tie to approve the first reading of an ordinance selecting the city’s planning services consultant for the proposed redevelopment of Crestwood Court. However, Schlink stipulated that if the measure ultimately is approved by the aldermen, the project will not immediately move to the county Tax-Increment Financing Commission. The Board of Aldermen deadlocked 4-4 last week on the first reading of an ordinance selecting Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets, or PGAV, as the city’s planning services consultant. Ward 1 Aldermen Richard Breeding and Darryl Wallach, Ward 2 Alderman Mary Stadter and Ward 4 Alderman Dan Tennessen voted in favor of the measure. Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood, Ward 3 Aldermen Paul Duchild and Bill Boston and Ward 4 Alderman Mike

Kari Williams photo

Mehlville dedicates new tennis courts

Mehlville School District Superintendent Eric Knost speaks during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week that marked the completion of the district’s new tennis-court complex. The complex has eight courts and will serve as the home for the Mehlville and Oakville senior high school tennis teams. The tennis complex was built in front of Bernard Middle School, which is along Forder Road. To read more and view a video, visit

(See BREAKS, Page 3A)

Crestwood residents speak their minds on mall proposal

By GLORIA LLOYD Staff Reporter When the redevelopment of Crestwood Court appeared on the agenda of a Crestwood Board of Aldermen meeting on May 14, the first time in five months, residents showed up to speak their minds. Crestwood Court’s owner, Centrum Properties, first presented its redevelopment proposal to the board last June, more than four years after buying the mall from the Westfield Group. Many residents, however, said they believe the property had been sitting for years without any action taken by the board to fix the deteriorating mall. “What concerns me is that it’s delay, delay, delay,” resident Anne Milford told the Board of Aldermen. “I’m really concerned a lot of these aldermen have already made up their minds on the TIF. It’s your job to keep this project moving forward.” (See MALL, Page 8A)

Board eyes OK of third alternate for auditorium By KARI WILLIAMS Staff Reporter Pending Board of Education approval, the Mehlville School District’s new $6 million auditorium could include all three of its alternates when completed — with roughly $200,000 left in contingency. Director of Facilities Steve Habeck told the district’s Facilities Committee last week that he will bring the last alternate — sound equipment, loudspeakers, audio mixing and wireless microphones — to the board when it meets at 7 p.m. today — May 23 — in the Administration Building, 3120 Lemay Ferry Road. That alternate, also known as alternate three, will

cost roughly $71,200, according to Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch. Knobloch told the Call the owner contingency, after approval of requisition No. 14, will be roughly $251,000, and the district expects about $18,000 credited to the district from the soil contingency. If alternate three is approved, Habeck said the auditorium will be completed with all of the district’s initial design specifications. “We did that as a valued engineering, put (the sound equipment, connecting corridor and the installation of gypsum board) as an alternate ...,” he said. “So we can (See AUDITORIUM, Page 6A)

Green Park officials to move City Hall to larger space at existing location on Mueller Road By MIKE ANTHONY Executive Editor Green Park city officials have decided to move City Hall — but not very far. The Board of Aldermen recently approved an ordinance authorizing Mayor Bob Reinagel to execute a five-year lease agreement with the owner of the Green Park Pro-

and 3 — $38,100 per year. Under the new lease, the city will pay $14 per square foot — $70,570 per year. During a discussion of the ordinance, Reinagel noted more space is needed at City Hall. “... As we look at this space, we all know that we’re out of storage back here ... We just have no more room for storage. (See CITY, Page 4A)

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fessional Building, 11100 Mueller Road, for two suites with total space of 5,041 square feet. The Green Park City Hall currently occupies Suites 2 and 3 — 2,540 square feet — of the same building. The new City Hall will occupy Suites 5 and 6 of the Green Park Professional Building, nearly double the amount of space. The city currently pays $15 per square foot for Suites 2

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Call Publishing, Thursday, May 23, 2013 - Page 4A

By Mike Anthony

Centrum’s actions seem to be counterproductive Crestwood Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood was very clear last November when he cautioned his fellow board members about engaging in private conversations with potential vendors or developers. Such discussions are a “bad idea,” Trueblood said at the time, noting that early in his tenure as an alderman, he had been taken aside by a senior alderman, who recommended against such discussions. Trueblood knows what he’s talking about given his longtime service as an alderman — first from 1993 to 2006 when he was unable to seek re-election because of term limits, and since 2012 when he again was elected. And Trueblood, who was elected board president last month, is not the only alderman concerned about this issue. In November, Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild, then serving as board president, issued a memo that stated, “As your board president, it is my responsibility to encourage open and transparent discussion and to avoid the type of misunderstanding or confusion that can arise when aldermen act independently of the board through private contact with any third party conducting business with the city.” We believe the position of the board’s leadership on this issue is clear, yet representatives of Centrum Partners continue to contact aldermen by email with requests to meet privately and to place items on the board’s agenda about the proposed redevelopment of Crestwood Court. Newly elected Ward 4 Alderman Mike Tsichlis raised the issue at last week’s board meeting, saying he was surprised that one of the first emails he received as an elected official was from a representative of Centrum requesting items be placed on the board’s agenda. Tsichlis said, “... I received also a follow-up email requesting a meeting with the developer’s representatives ... just several hours prior to this meeting tonight. And I just want to say, and I don’t know if any of the other new aldermen have anything to say about this as well, I just consider that rather inappropriate ...” While not all aldermen may be in agreement on this issue, it would be logical to expect Centrum officials to respect the wishes of the board’s leadership. To continue to contact aldermen to request private meetings and the placement of items on the board’s agenda would seem counterproductive, especially when asking city officials to approve tax incentives totaling roughly $34 million for the proposed redevelopment of the mall.

Crestwood reaches a tipping point; mall needs to be redeveloped To the editor: As a 17-year resident of Crestwood, I have observed with growing alarm the signs of decline in our community. The steady closure of businesses, the demise of Crestwood Court, reduced property values, and the influx of thrift shops do not bode well for the future of our city. I am even more alarmed by the lack of leadership demonstrated by our mayor and many of our aldermen — particularly on the issues surrounding the redevelopment of Crestwood Court. On March 20, I attended the town-hall meeting held at Whitecliff Park. I was curious to hear what Centrum Partners had to say about their plans for the mall and was dismayed by the negativity and misinformation displayed by several people in the crowd that evening. Many of their questions and comments reflected a complete lack of understanding of real estate, retail development and quite frankly, economic reality. I believe much of this misinformation is coming from a vocal minority of Crestwood citizens and aldermen who are opposed to any form of public economic assistance. Tax-increment financing, TIF; transportation development districts, TDD; and community improvement districts, CID; were all created to enable development of blighted properties. How much more blighted can you get than the current Crestwood Court? Unfortunately, these same aldermen have already made up their minds and are against the use of such economic assistance. Aren’t they supposed to represent the majority of the people in their ward, not just their individual viewpoint or agenda? Centrum has made it clear that it will not redevelop the mall without it. Our neighboring communities have used such assistance for revitalization. Have you driven through Maplewood lately? It used TIF. Northwest Plaza is also being redeveloped thanks to TIF. And let’s not forget Crestwood used TIF several years ago for our now-flourishing Kohl’s.

• City Green Park officials eyeing Aug. 1 to be in new City Hall (Continued from Page 1A)

So we need more room for storage,” the mayor said. “We’d like to improve the community room to give people more access. There is a suite down there that has a kitchen in the back that would allow our citizens a heck of a lot more, I guess you would call it versatility as far as what they want to do. “There’s also a suite back there that has a generator, a natural-gas generator, electric, that would allow us to take, if we did this, and turn City Hall into an emergency shelter for all our folks here in Green Park. So there’s an awful lot of pluses to this ...” City Administrator/City Clerk Zella Pope said, “... The generator there is for Suites 5 and 6. So I think that would be a great asset for our City Hall to have the generator in case of a power outage in the city or some

kind of disaster ...” The city’s lease for Suites 2 and 3 ends in 2014, Reinagel said. “... The lease that was signed allows a renewal at an increase over the last five years ... well, it would bring the squarefoot price to $18.76 a square foot instead of $15, which is prohibitive,” he said. “So in talking to Ruby O’Driscoll, the owner of this building, we can move to those two suites for $14 a square foot, which lowers the price by a buck a square foot over what we have right now ...” Board of Aldermen President Fred Baras of Ward 3 asked about the cost of renovations to the two suites. Reinagel and Pope said O’Driscoll has agreed to paint all the existing walls and install new carpet not to exceed $9,500. The city would be responsible for any interior renovations. Pope estimated the cost of those renovations at less than

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Our community has reached a tipping point. The mall property must be redeveloped for Crestwood to flourish again. And until demolition begins and progress is underway, there are going to be very few tenants willing to sign on the dotted line. The only thing standing in the way seems to be our mayor and a few of our aldermen. Now is the time for all of the Crestwood citizens who have been too busy working, volunteering, taking care of homes, children and/or pets, caring for their families and running businesses to speak up and get involved. We have to tell our city administrator, mayor and aldermen that it is time to get to work. We can’t keep slicing and dicing our budget without a plan for improvement. Just like the politicians in Washington D.C., our local elected officials are divided — and nothing is getting done. Let’s awaken the sleeping giant of concerned-yet-busy-citizens and hold our leaders accountable. Call or email your aldermen today and ask them: • What is going on with the mall? When is this item appearing on the agenda of upcoming meetings? • What is their position on the use of TIFs, TDDs and CIDs? • Do they believe they should cast their votes based on the input from their ward or based on their personal feelings? What if the majority of their ward wants public assistance to develop the mall property? • What is going to happen if Centrum walks? Does the city administrator, mayor and/or aldermen have a plan if this happens? • How are they going to maintain services in Crestwood with shrinking tax revenues? • Are they concerned about the lack of raises for city employees and the high employee turnover? Consider attending a Board of Aldermen meeting — at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Let’s tell our leaders it’s time to get to work — and remind them who they are representing. Anne Milford Crestwood

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$20,000 for both suites. Regarding the renovations, Reinagel said, “... We don’t have to do it all at one time. Some of the stuff we should do at one time as we go in, like the electrical and moving a light or two to accomplish things because it will be much cheaper when we do it that way. But we can take it in stages or we can do the whole thing if we decide to take this lease ...” Regarding the time frame, Pope said, “... We’re looking at a target date of Aug. 1 of being in there.” Reinagel termed that estimate “realistic.”


A meeting on the new Common Core State Standards that took place April 30 at the Tesson Ferry Branch Public Library was sponsored by a group of concerned parents and not as incorrectly reported in the May 9 Call.

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Call Publishing, Thursday, May 23, 2013 - Page 3A

• Breaks Tsichlis surprised to receive emails from Centrum official (Continued from Page 1A)

Tsichlis were opposed. Schlink told the board May 14 he has not broken ties in the past because he believes it should be the majority of the board’s decision to move, or not move, the project forward rather than his. In December, the board deadlocked 4-4 on the ordinance selecting PGAV and Schlink declined to break the tie. As a result, the ordinance was not approved. Before last week’s vote, Schlink told the board if a tie occurred he would break it in favor of PGAV, but with the understanding that the project would not yet move to the county TIF Commission — a stipulation he discussed with City Attorney Rob Golterman, Centrum Properties partner Sol Barket and Jim Mello, Centrum’s attorney. Moving to the commission is required because Centrum is requesting TIF assistance, among its other tax-incentive requests, for its proposal to redevelop the mall. Centrum’s plans remain unchanged from the proposal it unveiled last June. Centrum, the mall’s owner along with Angelo Gordon Co., proposed an open-air entertainment and retail venue that would include restaurants, a movie theater and an upscale bowling venue. “... If there is a tie tonight, I will break that tie in favor of it with the understanding, and being briefed by Mr. Golterman, the decision to move forward to the TIF Commission is entirely up to me,” Schlink said. “Now the board can compel me to do it, but litigation can’t compel us to do that ...” Golterman told the board the agreement before the board last week was “modified slightly to reflect a reduced scope of work.” PGAV previously performed a preliminary analysis of Centrum’s proposal, Schlink said, noting the measure before the board called for more thorough analysis that would cost $29,000. “... What we’re talking about next is the $29,000 plan that’s more thorough ...,” he said. “What would happen then is that plan gets presented to the county TIF Commission, and .... I would be very surprised if based off of the history and other actions of the county TIF Commission, I’d be surprised if the county TIF Commission would approve this proposal for a movie theater and restaurants. “If that were to happen, then it comes back to our board. Then we’re still not talking about breaking a tie. We’re not talking about five votes to approve it. To overrule the county TIF Commission, you need six ‘yes’ votes for that to move forward. So there’s a lot still that has to happen ...” Regarding PGAV’s preliminary analysis, Trueblood said, “We had their representative (John Brancaglione) speak to us clearly and he said ... their (Centrum’s) plan was extremely risky and he didn’t think it would work. He thought it was going to fail. Now I don’t know why we want to pursue anything further than that on that basis. The person you’re asking us to hire tonight told us it’s a bad plan.” But Grant Mabie, who ran unsuccessfully for a Ward 3 seat in the April 2 election,

later questioned Trueblood’s characterization of PGAV’s preliminary analysis. “... My recollection — and I might be wrong, I’d have to look at the minutes — of PGAV’s view of the project was a little different,” he said. “I don’t think they characterized it as a failure. I think they criticized Centrum’s order they wanted to build — (it is) my understanding they wanted to see phase two built first and anchored by a major tenant, or something along those lines as opposed to calling the project a failure ...” Trueblood later said, “The other thing that was told to us was that ... after spending $33 million, if what we had was a level lot, we should consider ourselves lucky and have had a home run ... He (Brancaglione) made it clear that that would be the best we could expect after spending $33 million, and I’m not real anxious to put that kind of money into someone’s pocket (to) level the ground and that’s it. And then they sell it to somebody else and we have to get another TIF? That’s my concern ...” Some aldermen, including Tsichlis, questioned how the ordinance came to be placed on the agenda. Tsichlis, who was elected in April, said he was surprised that one of the first emails he received as an elected official was from a representative of Centrum requesting items be placed on the board’s agenda. He asked Golterman and City Administrator Mark Sime about the process in setting agenda items. Golterman said, “The normal procedure is, is to have the agenda determined and prepared by the city administrator in consultation with the mayor and not necessarily from any outside parties.” Tsichlis said, “Yeah, that was really surprising to me and I received also a followup email requesting a meeting with the developer’s representatives ... just several hours prior to this meeting tonight. And I just want to say, and I don’t know if any of the other new aldermen have anything to say about this as well, I just consider that rather inappropriate. “Yes, I’m a new member to this body — four of us are — and I can understand somebody who’s in a position such as developers are to want to introduce themselves to new members. But I have to say that given what this issue’s about, and this issue, as you know, is something that’s dominated the city for quite a while, its agendas, I would rather speak with developers and engage with them in an open forum such as this one before all of you people — before our public — because sometimes I get very concerned that the public is not fully engaged on this issue as they can be and should be ...” Regarding how the item got on the agenda, Schlink said, “... One person asked me and Mr. Sime if it could be on the agenda. And even though I’ve said publicly and I’ve done it in the past, I haven’t broken a tie because I don’t believe it should be my decision as to whether or not this project goes forward. It should be the majority of the board. “Having said that, I believe it’s beneficial to have the discussion. That’s one of the reasons that it’s on the agenda tonight ...” The second reading of the ordinance could be considered May 28 by the board.


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• Mall Mall symbol of city’s failure, planning panel member says (Continued from Page 1A)

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Centrum attorney Jim Mello also said he hopes the board moves forward with the project. “... We are working with tenants. We own the property ... We don’t want to see it sit unproductive, but it’s a chicken and the egg situation,” he said. “We have good tenants that are interested in this project, but they’re not going to sign up. They’re not going to give a letter of intent. They’re not going to give any indication as long as we’re stuck in the mud because there’s no timing. When can we tell them that the project will be delivered? We have no clue ...” After several comments on the board’s perceived inaction, Mayor Jeff Schlink said Centrum only brought the redevelopment plans to the board last June and then withdrew from further talks after the December board meeting when the board deadlocked on hiring a consultant for planning services related to the project. Four new board members took office after the April election. “Really, what everybody has in their mind is five years, eight years, but nothing happened during that entire period,” Schlink said. “So it’s been less than a year that something’s been in front of us.” Ward 3 Alderman Bill Boston, who was elected April 2, said, “... When I did campaign, I said I want the mall to move forward and I do. But a couple people brought up the same thing I’ve been hearing over and over, they want the mall redeveloped. There is not going to be another mall. They’re going to tear the whole mall down and there’s going to be 48 acres, and then they’re going to have to decide what to do on that 48 acres to make it work ... We’re never going to have another mall. We’re going to have to get something in there that’s going to work in place of the mall. “And I think everybody on this board wants this to happen — not just a few. I think everybody wants it to happen, but they want it to happen in the right way ...” Centrum is requesting tax-increment financing, or TIF, which Centrum owner Sol Barket said in the March town hall meeting would give Centrum a larger profit. At the May 14 meeting, resident Carol Wagner noted that Barket is using some of his own money for the redevelopment. “... Why would he put his money into something that’s going to fail?” she asked. “The other point of that is Crestwood mall is not just something that’s here, it’s something that reflects Crestwood throughout this whole community. The way people talk about the city of Crestwood right now, I’m ashamed to live here. They talk about a dump on Watson Road … We’ve got to move forward. You’ve got to make a decision. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to get the TIF Commission going. As it is now, even if you decided something tonight and got the ball rolling, we’re still three, four years down the road ...” Jim McHugh, who serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, said aldermen should not be “so overly cautious” that the city misses a “great opportunity,” though he understands the argument

of not moving too fast. “... I know many people in business have been successful because they took some amount of risk,” he said. “Now, I understand you can’t be irresponsible, but for God’s sake, let’s just not look at this like every single piece has to be in place because I’m telling you, and you guys who have been in business know that if you do that, opportunities go away and they never come back ... ” He later said, “... Everyone who looks at Crestwood, the first thing they think of is that mall. It is a symbol of failure for our city. I don’t think Crestwood is a failure, but perception is important ...” Resident David Brophy said, “... I’ve seen many projects come before the board. I’ve seen at least two TIF projects — Watson Plaza and Kohl’s — come before the board. Once this issue of starting the ball rolling starts, it becomes virtually impossible to stop it. “The fact of the matter is, is that we are always told that a little further down the road, you can make a decision to stop it. Somehow, it never gets made. The fact of the matter is, is that the decision should be made now whether to go forward or not ...” Ward 4 Alderman Mike Tsichlis said he was concerned about the lack of transparency shown in Centrum’s plan and the company’s actions. A week before the meeting, the company’s consultant, Vic Pildes, emailed the entire board and asked board members to meet in pairs before the meeting with himself and Barket, “(in) order to comply with open meetings requirements.” After former Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan met privately with Centrum last year, Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild, then serving as board president, issued a memo strongly urging other members of the board not to meet with developers outside of public meetings. “As your board president, it is my responsibility to encourage open and transparent discussion and to avoid the type of misunderstanding or confusion that can arise when aldermen act independently of the board through private contact with any third party conducting business with the city,” Duchild wrote to the board Nov. 7. “What a great company,” resident Don Clark said of Centrum after Tsichlis said the board had been contacted again for private meetings. “Kind of reminds me of the Chicago mob.” The Call asked all board members if they met privately with Centrum before the May 14 meeting. Three board members, Daniel Tennessen of Ward 4, Tsichlis and Tim Trueblood of Ward 2, said they did not meet with anyone from Centrum. Tennessen said he received a phone call from Centrum and referred the caller to Schlink. Ward 1 Aldermen Richard Breeding and Darryl Wallach, Ward 2 Alderman Mary Stadter, Duchild and Boston did not get back to the Call before press time. During the board meeting, Mello requested a work session May 21 so that Centrum representatives and the board could discuss the proposal. The meeting would be public and residents could attend, he added. On Monday, City Clerk Tina Flowers said no such meeting was scheduled.

Crestwood mall — 1  
Crestwood mall — 1