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Historic Preservation Public Policy

Aldermanic Candidates on Citywide Preservation Review

NextSTL sent questionnaires to aldermanic candidates in the St. Louis general election on Tuesday, April 7. Among the questions posed is one of interest to readers of this blog: Do you support city-wide historic preservation review?

Preservation review map from the Cultural Resources Office.

Since the adoption of a new historic preservation ordinance in 1999, the city’s Cultural Resources Office has not had the power to review and deny demolition permits across the city, but only in wards whose aldermen choose to participate. Currently 20 of the city’s 28 aldermen participate — a number boosted by Alderman Antonio French’s placement of the 21st Ward in review upon his election in 2009.

Here are the answers from candidates who chose to respond.

Jesse Irwin, Republican, 10th Ward: “I don’t know enough about this to make a worthwhile comment. I’m for keeping everything worth keeping and building green everywhere else.”

Craig Schmid, Democrat, 20th Ward:”Yes, but individual communities must have a say in this. I sought to include my ward in preservation review and to obtain historic district designations.”

Scott Ogilvie, Independent, 24th Ward: “I believe there is strong support for keeping the 24th Ward in the Preservation District. The historic quality of our neighborhoods is one of our greatest strengths as a City, and we need to ensure that when demolition takes place, a new project of equal or greater value is replacing what is being removed. The fact that much of North St. Louis is not in the Preservation District has led to some senseless demolition of historic buildings of a type that are unlikely to be replaced. I would like to see stronger protection of existing structures and fewer demolitions — but we need to make sure there is support for expanding the Preservation District into new Wards.”

If any other candidates want to answer the question, send a note to us at michael@preservationresearch.com and we will post the response.

One reply on “Aldermanic Candidates on Citywide Preservation Review”

Given the answers above and the status quo on the issue, there doesn’t appear to be broad support of city-wide review. I wouldn’t consider supporting city-wide review while insisting that each community or ward gets to decide is, in fact, supporting city-wide review.

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