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Councilmember Terry Crow Talks Registry, Loop Curfew and Driving Range Lights

In an email letter to his constituents, Councilmember Terry Crow hailed the new Domestic Partnership Registry, and called for council involvement in the decision to turn off the driving range lights.

On Monday, May 9th, the University City City Council passed a for University City.

When I first moved to St. Louis 17 years ago, I chose University City as a place to live because it is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community. Our community has always been identified as one that encourages and welcomes all families, and Monday night’s action is a testament to that fact. 

A domestic partner registry creates a system where individuals in committed and caring relationships can make their relationship a matter of record. It can also make it easier for couples to receive benefits such as hospital and jail visitation, employers’ health insurance benefits, and access to recreational facilities. Our city joins St. Louis City, Kansas City, Columbia and Jackson County which already have similar registries.

We continue to work on issues surrounding pedestrian traffic in the Loop. As you may recall, over the past several summers we had issues in the Loop on weekend evenings normally involving youth making their way through the Loop.

Last year we instituted a , but we still have some issues to resolve. We are trying to strike a fair balance between individual liberties and the need for our visitors to the Loop and our business owners to feel secure in the Loop and enjoy the time they spend there.

If you have any suggestions as to how we can proceed, in a balanced manner, regarding this issue that is important to all of us, I welcome your input. 

Several citizens have about the unilateral decision made by the city manager to permanently turn off the lights at the . You may recall that the decision to install the driving range has always been a somewhat contentious issue, and one that was made prior to me joining the council. Our city applied for county park money to install the driving range and the lights. You may also recall that we agreed to allow Clayton residents to pay the same fee to use the driving range as University City residents.

I actually believe the driving range has been a benefit to our community. It helped make Ruth Park Golf Course more self-sustaining. In order to determine whether or not the lights were impacting neighbors immediately surrounding the driving range, the former parks director had a lighting study conducted which said that the lights were not impacting the homes surrounding the golf course. I would tell you to judge for yourself, but you won’t have that opportunity since the city manager has ordered the lights off.

I believe this decision is one that needs to be made by the City Council, not the city manager. At a time when we are constantly searching for revenue, and for opportunities for family activities in our community, the city manager simply turned the lights off. The city manager even created a committee which voted to keep the lights on and he disregarded their input. The University City Park Commission has not been asked to weigh on this important issue either.

Whether or not you agree with the driving range or the lights, this is a policy decision that needs to be made by your elected officials. We should work together to come up with a solution to accommodate evening users and neighbors of the Ruth Park Driving Range. Once again, I would value your input. 

As always, there are opportunities to serve our community in many ways, if anyone is interested in joining a commission, please let me know.

Thanks, 

Terry

Gregory Pace May 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM
A light meter showed no ambient light spillage from the range lights to the adjacent property on Groby. I stood on the south side of Groby and the pings were barely audible. A cedar fence along the north sidewalk would basically eliminate all sound from reaching across the street. Groby is 30mph and has a line painted down the middle. It is not a residential street. The houses on Groby were built in 1950. The golf course opened in 1931. The driving range was not built *in* a residential neighborhood. It was built in a park. Look at the U City Zoning map. The driving range makes money. U City needs revenue. The driving range provides entertainment and recreation. It also annoys some of its neighbors. Those are the facts as best I can determine.
Barbara Heise May 13, 2011 at 03:53 PM
I agree with every one of your points, Gregory, and couldn't have stated it better. I can only add that I live in the neighborhood and am thrilled to drive home and watch the young families who are using the driving range as a family outing. The decision to turn off the lights appears to be politically motivated
Lisa K May 13, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Thanks for posting this, Mr. Pace. Unfortunately, it seems that the facts (and the committee's findings) had little to do with the decision to turn off the lights.
Ed Reggi May 14, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Say no to Bill 9112 and say yes to University City Council members on using existing University City laws to help solve the issues of overcrowding sidewalks. Sign our online petition and send a message directly to University Council and the Mayor. http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-university-city-to-use-current-laws-before-they-ban-standing-on-sidewalks
Nick Frederiksen May 15, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Driving Range Light issue. That is a reasonable presentation of the facts. I have been very critical of some of the negative, irresponsible attacks on City Manager Lehman Walker, but do understand what the substanative complaint is. Deragatory comments about Mr. Walker seem to be politically motivated, but this issue stands alone. Don't judge the man on this decision or get caught up in those who post for political reasons. I would like to know what Political reason that Mr. Walker would have for making the decision to turn off the lights and disregard the committee's suggestions. I can't think of how that benefits him or his political supporters. On the loop. The wording of the bill seems like it could do without the single person reference. The main problem that I have encountered was groups of people totally blocking sidewalks and store fronts as well as taking up most of the outside seating in front of restaurants in the loop. Restaurant owners are reluctant to call the police on the matter because there is a fair chance of direct retaliation in the night hours. Hope this issue can be worked out to get the job done more efficiently. I would like to see more people with strong opions on this matter, especially City C ouncil members walking in the loop during the peak problem hours. If the responsible community does not take a stand on going to the loop, the irresponsible people will fill the void and ruin the reputation of a great entity and community.
Nick Frederiksen May 15, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Paullette Carr was kind enough to e mail me and to point out that the suit I referred to was not one that cost 146K. Turns out there were several suits that were filed against U City in regard to employee related firings or transfers. If it turns out that I am wrong about the large settlement figure that I used. I will research further and if apologies are in order I will make them. The fact that there were several law suits that were vague is an issue in itself. Lights on or lights off there was a lot of very shady moves made by Julie F. with no council interference.
Dave Olander May 19, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Sent to his constituents? I know from receiving Terry's emails in the past that he has my address. Why was I not included in "his constituents" even though am I one? Would it be because I did not support his bid for mayor? That would be petty!
Steve May 20, 2011 at 02:03 PM
http://www.ucitymo.org/index.aspx?NID=452 This is the contact page on U-City's Website. If you need to make sure you are on Mr. Crow's e-mail list, just let him know. Or you can read this infromation here.

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