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Friday, July 29, 2005

Hyde Park Regression Continues

Hyde Park continues to suffer from stagnation and loss. Look at these proposed demolition plans:

Shreves Engine Company plans to demolish nine houses for some inane "security wall" plan that Alderman Freeman Bosley supports.

The Phillips 66 gas station at Salisbury and Eleventh, owned by Nidal Othman, wants to tear down the Cordes Hardware buildings. Some may recall the days when Cordes was still open with an old-time charm on par with Marx Hardware down in Old North. (Bosley opposes this demolition, although he has offered no substantial aid to the owner or others trying to renovate destabilized buildings in this neighborhood.)

These projects seriously compromise the intact density of historic buildings in this neighborhood. They must be defeated.

There's also a big stir about a development underway between Natural Bridge, Salisbury and West Florissant avenues on the western end of Hyde Park. Here, Bethlehem Luthern Church has financed a development of new houses and apartments -- not urban in character, of course -- that has involved a liberal use of eminent domain. This development has some Hyde Park residents up in arms due to questionable offers made to affected property owners and the attack on poor homeowners the Church is accused of leading. Last night, a group of 25 neighborhood residents joined with the Citizens' Coalition to Fight Eminent Domain and marched to Bosley's home on Bremen Avenue to make their demands.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I agree the Shreves Engine Rebuilders gabion wall plan is lame and ugly. My mother's house in South County backs to one of these gabion walls, built by St. Louis County in the early 1990s to stop a couple of houses from falling off a hillside into Martigney Creek.

The project was NOT environmentally sound, as evidenced by the death of most of the wildlife in that area after workers building the gabion wall hit a sanitary sewer line, which poured waste into the open stream.

What was once a free-flowing stream with frogs, muskrats, etc, is now channelized and even wider than it was before. Of course, the bank on my mother's side has eroded substantially, taking chunks of her garden with it. It's on MSD right-of-way, though, so it's not her property, even though she's always maintained it (she's lived there 35 years!) and they didn't even know there was a sewer pipe leading from a trickling spring under her back yard to that creek.

Anyway, I think these gabion basket walls, while quite cheap to build, are horrendously ugly. Even if CRO has approved the demos, I hope somebody from the fire marshal's office steps in and says - hey, wait, are you crazy? A six-foot tall, freestanding gabion basket wall? That's a recipe for disastrous collapse. A poured concrete wall, or even a true stone wall with mortar holding it together, would be way more attractive.

I would point out, meanwhile, that the CRO agenda item to which you linked for 1125 Salisbury, says that Ald. Bosley opposes the hardware store buildings' demolition for the gas station expansion.