By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Allison Babka
By Lindsay Toler
Tom Huck, St. Louis printmaker
I'd start an immediate de-yuppification program of the "new" Washington Avenue. (i.e. with baseball bats, Tasers and a Motörhead soundtrack). Eliminate parking meters. Eliminate fat-ass parking-meter "cops." Get rid of Imo's Pizza (vomit on cardboard!). Bring back the Checkerdome. Bring back 905 chain liquor stores. I'd probably outlaw every Terry Crouppen advertisement. I'd destroy Ballpark Village. Implode all of the shells of former grocery stores around town, and make 'em into parks. Josephine Baker needs a monument! I'd change my polling place from a pee-smelling old-folks home to Blueberry Hill. Viva la Vintage Vinyl. Don't even get me started on the Highway 40 extravaganza...or the public schools!
Carolbeth True, jazz pianist and professor, Webster University
St. Louis has a rich history in the arts and many fine artists continue to live here and perform periodically. If one thing could change here, I would hope that St. Louisans would show greater interest in attending musical and theatrical events similar to the interest shown for athletic events. Help would come from greater corporate and business support for the arts, which increases general awareness and interest with the public.
Charles Oliver, Ferguson barber and former boxer
To make St. Louis a better place to live, my No. 1 choice would be to change the way people think. I would start with people in the highest authority from all aspects of life and work my way down to the least. I would set up seminars on building strong character and teach people ways to be impeccable with their word. I would explain the importance of not taking anything personally, whether it was meant for good or bad.
Rollin Stanley, outgoing St. Louis planning director
St. Louis has a rich history of architecture, including the Wainwright Building, a landmark in high-rise construction; the Arch and many wonderful historic structures. St. Louis leads the country in the rehabilitation of historic buildings; a number of the city's architectural firms are leading the way in green renovations. We now have a number of new green residences with many innovative features. It would be great to see more innovation, including more groundbreaking green features in architectural styles of all kinds here in the city. As we cross the frontier from historic rehabilitation to new construction downtown, we have new opportunities to display our creativity to other cities.
Saskya Byron, gallery manager, Regional Arts Commission
I'd like to see better public transportation. An expansion of MetroLink would be fantastic. As a native of Amsterdam, I've been pretty spoiled — I could jump on the bus or tram anywhere in the city and it would get me anywhere I wanted to go. Of course, most of the time I'd be on my bike, which brings me to the other thing I'd like to see improved: We need bike paths and people on bikes! As to accomplishing the change — I have no idea how to get better public transportation, but I try to use my bike as much as I can. I bike to work and basically anywhere within an eight-mile radius of my home. You'd be surprised how many hills St. Louis has!
Deb Peterson, columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
I would change what I perceive to be a culture that is intolerant of difference. I would like to see people travel through the various geographic areas of the St. Louis region more so that they could become more familiar with people who are different than they are. I mean this in terms of economic backgrounds, religious differences and race. The problem is, I don't know how to accomplish this. I know there have been many groups and committees and organizations that have tried to bring people together here, but I sense the efforts all too often flounder. I try to introduce all types of people in my column so that St. Louisans may see themselves there. That's the best way I have found that I can do to try to achieve this goal. Maybe as an incentive, someone could develop a coupon book that you get stamped if you shop outside of your zip code and then you wind up getting something for free or discounted once the book is full?
Matt Strauss, director, White Flag Projects in the Grove
I don't understand why the different creative communities here are so estranged from one another. For the most part, music people seem to go to music things, art people go to art things, writers go to writing things. Maybe it's just part of the very real and pervasive laziness that exists here, but I don't think there are so many full-time creative people in St. Louis that we can afford to be this segregated. If there were more interaction across genres and more active curiosity in the work other people were doing in other fields, nothing but good things would come of it.
Linda Weiner, sex therapist, St. Louis
Since I'm an avid gardener, I'd like to continue to green up St. Louis. I would do that through collaboration, with federal money, state money, city money, corporate money and volunteers and bring all those together with public and private grants.