Although Board Bill 118, which authorizes redevelopment of the Flying Saucer (Del Taco) with demolition "necessary and desirable for the redevelopment of the Area under this Plan", was passed without any changes by the Housing, Urban Development & Zoning Committee by a vote of 5-2, the archaic concept of Aldermanic Courtesy was not the rule of the day. While other items on the meeting agenda were cleared by about 10:40, sometimes heated debate over BB 118 pushed the vote well into the early afternoon.
Committee member Jennifer Florida asked several pointed questions about the bill and was of the two nay votes along with Committee Chair Fred Wessels. Lyda Krewson also had several strong questions about the bill, but unfortunately had to leave before the vote.
While not on the HUDZ Committee, Scott Ogilvie grilled developer Rick Yackey about his receiving Missouri and Federal Historic Tax Credits for his part in $60 million of rehabilitation and adaptive re-use for housing of the adjacent Council Plaza buildings, then seeking public funding for demolition of the Flying Saucer which is also part of the Council Plaza National Register Historic District. While the National Park Service, which oversees National Register districts unfortunately would allow this, Ogilvie made it quite clear that he believes it would be inherently wrong. Shane Cohn also raised some good points and went so far as saying that if demolition cannot be stopped, that he would like to see the building moved, and would be willing to help.
Those of us that live in the City of St. Louis are not each residents of a village of 11,400 people, we are residents of an entire City and of a larger metropolitan region. Great leadership does not look inward and to be a great Alderman means always looking at the big picture of the entire City, understanding that things that happen from Carondelet to the tip of Baden affect us all. To the five of you who stood up, spoke out, made great arguments and asked the tough questions: THANK YOU!!