CWEnder Jack Grone’s excellent reporting on 28th Ward Alderwoman Heather Navarro’s bill to amend Argyle TIF

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services  Jack Grone Argyle TIF Alderwoman Heather Navarro

The latest from McPherson STL’s Jack Grone:

ST. LOUIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, CITY HALL’S COFFERS and museums and libraries across the city would get a cash infusion this year totaling over $6 million — with more likely to come in 2020 and 2021 — if a bill to be introduced at Friday’s Board of Aldermen meeting becomes law.

The bill, sponsored by 28th Ward Alderwoman Heather Navarro, seeks to amend a tax increment financing (TIF) deal that diverts millions of tax dollars each year from the Chase Park Plaza hotel and condominium complex to support the city-owned Argyle parking garage. The garage is one block east of the Chase at Lindell and Euclid boulevards in the Central West End.

The bill is the result of an agreement hammered out in recent weeks by Navarro and officials in the offices of Treasurer Tishaura Jones and Comptroller Darlene Green. It would extract money that’s sitting unused in the Argyle TIF fund; this appears to be the first time city officials have attempted to free cash early from one of these instruments. The fund has $11.8 million in available money but needs only $5.5 million to pay its obligations, according to Navarro’s bill, which lays out a process for releasing the remainder.

Here is a link to the article in its entirety. 

Meet the CWE North’s Clean Team

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services  Kate Haher CWE North Clean Team CWE North CID

Meet the CWE North’s Clean Team, Sean Anthony, left, and Christopher Pate, right, whom you have likely spotted clearing  debris and leaves from sidewalks and curbs in the business district, and this past week the unusually large amount of snow that blanketed the area.  (They are photographed above during 2018’s Halloween festivities.)

Sean, who works full time, and Chris who is part-time, are on the job 7 days a week, 365 days a year, except for holidays and inclement weather (though that didn’t prevent them from working last weekend). They are funded by the Community Improvement District North which gets its revenue from a 1% sales tax on purchases made within the CWE North CID district, which extends along Euclid from Lindell north to Washington, and includes commercial properties on Maryland and McPherson between Kingshighway and the residential zones east of Euclid. That includes restaurants, shops, Straub’s and The Chase Hotel.

In addition to the duties mentioned above, the pair is responsible for emptying sidewalk trash cans, picking up litter, removing graffiti and stickers from public fixtures, and similar projects as needed throughout the District.

The friendly pair is always up for a chat and often find themselves offering directions to visitors as well. Whenever I see Chris and/or Sean I always thank them for what they are doing, and they always turn my thanks around and say, “no, thank you (that means all of you) for giving us the work.”

Having clean streets and sidewalks may seem like a small thing, until you travel to other neighborhoods that don’t have the luxury of a dedicated street cleaning crew. Thanks to CWE North CID’s Executive Director Kate Haher and the CID Commissioners, and to everyone who patronizes the businesses here for making it possible.

Please say hello when you see Sean and Chris out and about.

“Compassion is a verb” at Left Bank Books

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Left Bank Books   Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Left Bank Books

Turns out this idea began when Spike the Left Bank Books cat was ill. According to co-proprietor Jarek Steele: “We’ve only had the coats outside for a couple of weeks on and off. It started when I was on my way back from getting medicine for Spike just before he died. I was feeling pretty low & sort of staring into middle distance at a stoplight when I saw a rack outside a clothing store on Delmar (I think). It seemed like such a simple kindness, such a profound singular thing. Then I remembered we have an old tshirt display in our basement.
The next morning I stopped by St. Vincent De Paul on my way to work and bought 7 or 8 coats to give away.
The clerk was frazzled. It was just before Christmas. I waited in line and when I finally reached her we looked at each other, then the coats.
She started to tell me about her dad dying and how that foiled her plan to give away coats to the homeless this year. It seemed like this was a sign from the universe to slow down and listen so I did. We talked for about 15 minutes and when I left I knew this was a way we as a store could mourn Spike, honor the cashier’s loss and do something very quiet and simple that made things just a little easier for someone.
Within a day all the coats were gone. We’ve bought more and had some donated. I hope it helps.
Thanks and take care. Jarek”