City Plan Accomplishments - 1916 - 1947

Much Of St. Louis Transformed In Recent Years

A city plan not merely substitutes orderly development for chaotic growth, it lifts civic vision to higher levels of achievement. Our city today would not possess many of the splendid improvements built in recent years had there been no city plan. The first comprehensive city plan prepared in 1916-1918 not merely resulted in improved land subdivision standards with a better character of housing development but it also encouraged many desirable buildings and improvements in other parts of the city. For the first time in American cities it established capital improvement programs based on a long range city plan as an accepted municipal practice.

Following preparation of the first comprehensive city plan a financial program was worked out and an $87,000,000 bond issue was submitted to and approved by the electorate in February 1923. The program called for issuance of $8,000,000 of 20 year serial bonds each year for eleven years. Virtually the entire city plan was thus financed, some of the projects being paid for partly with bond funds and partly by special assessment. The items in this bond issue and some of the more important improvements since made are shown in Plate Number 30 and are listed as follows:

1. For Establishing, Opening and Widening Streets -
  Ten great new thoroughfares created
  Gravois Avenue-S. 12th Street
  Market Street
  Olive Street
  North 12th-Florissant-Natural Bridge
  Vandeventer Avenue
  Hampton Boulevard
  Chippewa Street
  Watson Road
  Delmar Boulevard (3rd to Spring)
  Easton Avenue (Franklin to Spring)
$8,650,000
2. Union Station Plaza -
  The Aloe Plaza and Milles Fountain make a distinguished
  gateway to the city.
2,600,000
3. Paving and Improving Streets -
5,800,000
4. Electric Street Lighting System -
  St. Louis now has an unequalled system of wide,
  well paved and well lighted major streets.
8,000,000
5. New Civil Court House -
  An important building in the Civic Center
4,000,000
6. Construction and Reconstruction of Sewers -
  A most valuable modernization program
$8,000,000
7. River Des Peres Sewer and Channel -
  Removed a long standing nuisance that had retarded
  development of the whole southwest section of the city. A large
  proportion of all new growth has since taken place in
  this section.
11,000,000
8. New Parks and Playgrounds -
2,500,000
9. Park Improvements -
  Sherman Park
  River Des Peres Parkway
  Kingshighway Northwest
  Ten new playgrounds
  Christy Park
  Penrose Park
1,300,000
10. Aquarium -
  Not Built
400,000
11. Municipal Power Plant and Garage -
  An indispensable adjunct of the Civic Center
1,000,000
12. Public Hospitals -
  Enlarged City Hospital
  Koch Tuberculosis Hospital Addition
  New Morgue
  Saint Louis Training School for Retarded Children
4,500,000
13. Municipal (Kiel) Auditorium -
  A much used community building in the Civic Center
$5.000,000
14. Memorial Plaza -
  One of the finest Civic Centers in America
6,000,000
15. Fire Engine Houses and Equipment -
  A most valuable modernization program
772,500
16. Railroad Grade Separation (city's share) -
  Removal of seven dangerous grade crossings Three
  new viaducts
1,600,000
17. Southwest Railroad Approach to Municipal Bridge - 1,500,000
18. New Railroad Approach to Municipal Bridge through
 East St. Louis -
  Extremely important improvement for freight and passenger
  movement in St. Louis Gateway.
1,500,000
19. Public Markets -
  Union Market and Public Garage
1,250,000
20. Water Works Improvements -
  New Missouri River Plant
  New Stacy Park Reservoir
  New Supply Mains
12,000,000
Total - 1923 Bond Issue $87,372,500

In 1935 the electorate approved a bond issue of $7,500,000 as the city's share of the $30,000,000 Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which was the City Plan Commission's Central Riverfront Plan. Forty blocks of ground, site of the original city, have been acquired and cleared for future improvement. An international competition for design of this project will be held in the near future. The area is now a National Monument under the super vision of the National Park Service. The value of this project to the future city is inestimable.

In 1944 many of the bonds for our early capital improvement program had been retired. It was believed that a new public works plan should be devised to meet new needs and to furnish assistance in any emergency employment. A new post-war program embracing various public works indicated by the city plan as most needed in the next twenty-five years was submitted to and approved by the electorate in August 1944. This program of $63,385,000 is presented in map form in Plate Number 31. It provides for certain new improvements as follows:

1. Hospitals and Institutions -
$3,350,000
2. Parks and Recreation -
  One new large park
  Four new neighborhood parks
   Two new playfields
  Five new playgrounds
  Three new swimming pools
4,150,000
3. Fire Protection -
  Eleven new fire stations
800,000
4. Fire and Police Telephone and Telegraph System -
2,200,000
5. Sewers - 8,000,000
6. Bridges and Viaducts -
  Reconstruction Grand Boulevard Viaduct Five new grade separations
2,285,000
7. Street Opening and Widening -
  Third Street Expressway (City's Share)
   City Limits Highway
   Morganford Road
   North Florissant
   Jefferson Avenue
   Forest Park Boulevard-Market Street Connection
8,600,000
8. Zoological Park Improvements - 750,000
9. Airports -   Enlargement Lambert Field
   New Major Airport (Columbia Bottoms)
   Small Airports
  
14,000,000
10. City Art Museum Rehabilitation - 250,000
11. Water System (from Water Department revenues) -   Modernization Chain of Rocks Plant 19,000,000
Total $63,385,000

Three large-scale public housing projects not requiring bond funds because of Federal financing have been located according to the City Plan. These are:

(Mo. 1-1) Clinton-Peabody Terrace ----------------------- 657 families 23.5 acres
(Mo. 1-2) Carr-Square Village ------------------------------658 families 20.5 acres
(Mo. 1-3) Vicinity Neighborhood Gardens (Land acquired not yet constructed) ------------------------------------ 17.9 acres

At the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 1946) the statutory bonding margin was $35,000,000 which provides sufficient margin for new needs none of which are now in prospect with the exception of the city's share of a large program of reconstruction of obsolete areas and rehabilitation of blighted districts.

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