St. Louis Public Radio Seeks to Add Perspective to NorthSide Coverage With Four-Part Series

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The full line-up of St. Louis Public Radio reporters will tackle the issue of Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration proposal this week. Although the reports are not overly extensive, they should provide some perspective on North St. Louis. The first segment, “Planning promises on the north side, from Pruitt-Igoe to Paul McKee” is now available on-line here.

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This week, St. Louis Public Radio news is examining developer Paul McKee’s plan to rebuild more than two square miles of north St. Louis near downtown.

McKee wants to build 10,000 new homes there, along with parks, schools churches and three major employment centers.

McKee says his $8 billion, 23-year proposal will not only revitalize downtrodden neighborhoods, but boost St. Louis’ place on the world stage by attracting international trade.

McKee’s vision covers a huge swath of North St. Louis and would affect the lives of many residents and business owners. And he’s also asking for an unprecedented amount of public money, including city, state, and federal tax dollars. The project’s success or failure would have lasting effects for not just north St. Louis, but the entire region.

On Monday, reporter Maria Altman looks at the legacy of a failed housing complex in North St. Louis called Pruitt-Igoe. While many former residents say Pruitt-Igoe was a good home at first, problems with design, maintenance, increasing rent, and a decreasing population led the government to destroy the 33 buildings two decades after they went up. The memory of Pruitt-Igoe has not faded for north side residents, and many meet developer Paul McKee’s ambitious plan for their neighborhoods with skepticism.

McKee has had a successful run as a developer in suburban St. Louis. On Tuesday, reporter Rachel Lippmann takes us to WingHaven, a mix of homes and offices that surround a golf course in O’Fallon, Mo., and looks at the challenges McKee could face building in an urban area.

On Wednesday, Matt Sepic examines the issue of eminent domain and the uncertainties many residents and business owners in north St. Louis could face if city officials allow McKee to proceed.

Paul McKee is seeking an unprecedented amount of public money for his project: $397 million in tax-increment financing, plus funds from a new state tax credit he helped create. On Thursday reporter Adam Allington looks at the financial aspects of the project.

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