BOUTIQUE HOTEL ON THE RISE IN THE LOOP
By Linda F. Jarrett
Who could have guessed that when University City visionary Joe Edwards opened Blueberry Hill in 1972, that his vision would extend so far and influence so many?
On June 18th, the day of the full moon, Edwards held the launch for his newest
venture, Moonrise Hotel at 6177 Delmar Blvd.
Situated at the eastern end of the eclectic Loop, this sophisticated, contemporary hotel is but the latest project in the entrepreneur's plan to link the city and county with a string of attractions along Delmar Blvd.
Edwards has teamed with locally-based hotel experts, including Bob O'Loughlin of Lodging Hospitality Management, to create a unique hotel experience that offers the unconventional, while delivering comfort and style pleasing to all types of guests.
The seven-story Moonrise will be the area's first full-service boutique hotel, and will feature 125-guest rooms, 10 suites and 2,000 square feet of meeting space.
"This is something out of the ordinary,
a first-class, upscale hotel with interesting
and quirky design features that will set
it apart from other types of hotels,"
These "design features" include a lobby with an iridescent wall that changes color, and a dramatically angled staircase. An illuminated, rotating moon depicting the lunar phases will top the hotel and point the way to this one-of-a-kind hotel.
Guests can catch a show at the Pageant Concert Nightclub, only steps away, or stroll down The Loop's shopping and entertainment district, named one of the "10 Great Streets in America" by the American Planning Association.
The hotel's proximity to MetroLink means guests can get to Clayton, the Central West End and Downtown in minutes.
After dining in the gourmet restaurant, Eclipse, guests can adjourn to the rooftop terrace and bar to enjoy the St. Louis skyline where, Edwards says, "They can see the moon rise."
Afterwards, rooms outfitted with a 32-inch flat screen HD television and iPod docking stations will await them. High scale bathrooms feature top mount sinks and an array of Aveda bath products. A good night's sleep is insured on the pillow-top beds with luxury linens and oversized pillows.
With its unique location, Moonrise will be the perfect place for St. Louisans to take a "mini-vacation," and not worry about airfares or gas prices.
"I picked a name that people around the country could relate to, and everyone loves the moon," Edwards says. "Plus the word 'rise' is positive, and there are so many things that can be done artistically with it."
Edwards says the hotel will be completed by April 2009.
2008 MEDIA HALLS OF FAME INDUCTS ST. LOUIS MEDIA PROFESSIONALS
On June 7, the St. Louis Mercantile Library and the University of Missouri-St. Louis inducted professionals from the fields of print, public relations/
advertising, radio and television into the Media Halls of Fame during a ceremony at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis. The event honored the following St. Louis media professionals:
Walter "Wally" Armbruster*
Charles Claggett Sr.*
Charles Claggett Jr.
Arthur "Archie" Lee*
The St. Louis Media Halls of Fame were established in 2006 to recognize the market's most influential media practitioners and to provide the public with information about them. Inductees were chosen based on their contributions to and influence in media on both local and national levels.
MASTERCARD WORLDWIDE RECOGNIZES COMMUNITY LEADERS THROUGH UNITED WAY OF GREATER ST. LOUIS
MasterCard Worldwide has teamed with United Way of Greater St. Louis to recognize community leaders who donate $1,000 or more. During the most recent United Way fundraising campaign, more than 8,050 people in 16 Missouri and Illinois counties donated at the "leadership level" of $1,000 or more. These donations totaled more than 32 percent of the record-breaking $68.8 million raised during United Way's 2007 campaign.
Forty-eight of these leaders were selected in a random drawing and recognized at a luncheon at the MasterCard Global Technology and Operations headquarters in O'Fallon, Mo. Each leader received a $1,000 MasterCard prepaid gift card.
"The fact that more than 8,000 people in the Greater St. Louis area donated at the leadership level is an incredible testimony to the generosity of our neighbors," stated Don Ascare, senior vice president of human resources of the MasterCard Worldwide GTO organization. "MasterCard supports the United Way Leadership Giving Initiative to help thank individual donors for their generosity. Leadership gifts enable United Way to do more to provide critically important services and support in our community for those who need it most."
Thanks to the generosity of its donors, United Way is able to put back more than
$1 million each week into the community to help at least one million people this year.
ST. LOUIS FED INTRODUCES BURGUNDY BOOK
OF ST. LOUIS REGIONAL ECONOMY
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has released its first-ever Burgundy Book. Similar to the Fed's Beige Book, the quarterly Burgundy Book will provide a more detailed summary of economic data for the St. Louis region, which covers 71 counties in Eastern Missouri and 45 counties in Southern Illinois.
The St. Louis Fed also released separate detailed reports on the economies in its Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Louisville, Ky. regions. Future releases of the 2008 Burgundy Book were planned for June 25, Sept. 17 and Dec. 17. Each date is approximately two weeks after the release of the Beige Book.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. To access the Burgundy Book online, log on to: http://research.stlouisfed.org/regecon/district.html
YOUTH IN NEED'S 21ST ANNUAL
CELEBRATION OF YOUTH GALA HONORS THE NEWBERRY'S
Youth In Need held its 21st annual Celebration of Youth dinner and auction in the Discovery Ballroom at the new Ameristar Casino Resort Spa. More than 500 guests turned out to celebrate Brenda and Maurice Newberry, the eventÕs 2008 honorees and owners of St. Charles-based The Newberry Group Inc.
Through the sale of tickets, sponsorships and items
purchased in both the live and silent auctions, Youth In Need raised more than $175,000. The agency raised an additional $144,000 in pledges for the Missouri State Tax Credit Program. Funds raised at the event will help Youth In Need continue to provide programs and services that help children, teens and families achieve their goals and build a positive future.
Silent and live auction item highlights included airline tickets, sports memorabilia, a bevy of beautifully assembled baskets, a 60-bottle wine cellar collection, fine jewelry, a suite at a Cardinals game and a custom-built dollhouse.
Youth In Need serves more than 10,000 children, teens and families each year with residential treatment, outreach, early-childhood, educational and counseling programs.
ST. LOUIS FOR KIDS HONORS MATHEWS AND ST. LOUIS BLUES AT 2008 "LIGHTING THE WAY" CELEBRATION
St. Louis for Kids honored Martin Mathews and the St. Louis Blues at its annual Lighting the Way fundraising dinner at 9th Street Abbey in Soulard. Mathews, who is president, CEO and co-founder of the Mathews-Dickey Boys' and Girls' Club, received the Beacon Award. The St. Louis Blues received the Ray of Light Award.
"We are privileged to recognize Mr. Mathews for the forty-eight years of service he has devoted to children and youth in the St. Louis area; not only in sports, but also in academics and character building," stated Jama Dodson, executive director of St. Louis for Kids. "It is also our pleasure to acknowledge the
St. Louis Blues for the variety of community-based initiatives they offer that help improve the lives of children in this region.
St. Louis for Kids is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of programs held outside of school hours for youth in the St. Louis region.
WEBSTER UNIVERSITY SIFE TEAM WINS REGIONAL COMPETITION
The Webster University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team earned the title of Regional Champion following its win at the 2008 SIFE USA Regional Competition in Cincinnati. The team advanced to the national level of competition at SIFE's National Exposition in Chicago.
SIFE is an international nonprofit organization active on more than 1,400 university and college campuses in 48 countries. Working in partnership with business and higher education, SIFE mobilizes university students around the world to utilize knowledge learned in the classroom to address real-world business and economic issues in their communities. SIFE students form teams on their university campuses and develop outreach projects that teach market economics, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, personal success skills and business ethics.
At the regional competition, Webster's SIFE team presented a report on the 10 community outreach projects it conducted over the past academic year to a panel of business leaders. The Webster team's projects included teaching elementary school students the basics of personal finance, helping retailers and service providers in St. Louis' Cherokee Street Business District sharpen their communication and business skills, and advising college students on proper business etiquette.
Team members include Richard Bardenheier, David DeBord, Tim Jackson, Wei Li, Samantha Mills, Amanda Palasky and Jason Pickart.
CORO CELEBRATES 35 YEARS
OF CITIZEN LEADERSHIP IN ST. LOUIS
The Coro Leadership Center-St. Louis celebrated 35 years of preparing individuals to be engaged, responsible citizens and effective civic leaders at its annual Leadership Awards Celebration on June 3.
The organization recognized the following nine community leaders who exemplify what it means to live CoroÕs mission:
James Buford, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc.
Rodney Crim, executive director of
St. Louis Development Corporation
Tracy Hart, president of Tarlton Corp. and chairman of the board of the Associated General Contractors of
Lesley Hoffarth, I-64 project director for the St. Louis Metro District of the Missouri Department of Transportation
Bob Kelley, former president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council
Don Kornblet, author and business consultant
Dan Lee, chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment
Sharon Rohrbach, founder and CEO of Nurses for Newborns
Kim Tucci, co-owner and president of The Pasta House Co.
Coro is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving civic engagement through nationally recognized training that emphasizes experiential learning.
SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM RECEIVES $1.75 MILLION GRANT FROM THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION
The Saint Louis Art Museum has been awarded a $1.75 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to endow two full-time assistant or associate curator positions.
The Mellon grant will enable the museum to deepen its curatorial ranks and to provide significant new opportunities for mid-level curatorial professionals. These positions will not be restricted to a specific field and will therefore allow the museum the flexibility to attract young and mid-career curators who are of the highest caliber in any of the museumÕs collecting areas.
The grant must be matched dollar for dollar through new contributions to the Saint Louis Art Museum Foundation for this purpose. The search for candidates will begin after the required matching funds have been secured.
GARDEN PARTNER ON
In an effort to attract a more diverse pool of job seekers to the field of horticulture, the Missouri Botanical Garden has partnered with St. Louis Community College to establish a scholarship program in horticulture.
The program will support students from underserved and minority populations who are interested in pursuing an associate degree in horticulture at
St. Louis Community College-Meramec. Up to four scholarships will be available each year (for a total of $14,000 per year) to cover the cost of tuition, fees, supplies and transportation for qualified individuals. The Garden also will provide a paid part-time internship to allow students to gain hands-on experience.
"The Missouri Botanical Garden is committed to supporting the development and education of a diverse population, including the underserved and African-Americans, in the field of horticulture," stated Robert Herleth, executive vice president. "We are hopeful that over the long run this scholarship program will increase the number of employees dedicated to horticulture, both at the Garden and in the community."
The scholarship is renewable each year as long as a student maintains a grade-point average of 2.5 or higher and demonstrates satisfactory academic performance and internship performance at the Garden.
SPORTS TRIVIA CHAMPIONSHIP RAISES $900,000 FOR ST. PATRICK CENTER
The 5th Annual Sports Trivia Championship, presented by Budweiser, raised $900,000 in revenue and contributed goods and services to benefit St. Patrick CenterÕs homeless and impoverished clients. The 2008 event was held at the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis.
"Five years ago, who would have known the Sports Trivia Championship would grow into so many individuals and businesses helping us accomplish our mission," stated Dan Buck, CEO of the St. Patrick Center. "We are blessed with many sponsors and trivia teams, as well as companies like Budweiser, Scottrade Center, Emmis Communications and FSN Midwest that generously donate venue, airtime, food, beverage and other goods and services to keep our expenses down for the direct benefit of our clients."
Chris Rose, host of Fox Sports' "Best Damn Sports Show, Period!" served as host and first-time honorary chair of the 2008 event. Sportscaster and former St. Louis Ram D'Marco Farr and national touring comedian John Caponera co-hosted the event with Rose.
Out of 120 trivia teams, Lawyers, Guns & Money took the Grand Prize with a score of 87. These players will be enjoying season tickets to St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, as well as tickets to races at Gateway International Raceway. Regular Guys claimed second place with a score of 79, while Chico's Bail Bonds took third with a score of 76.
AFRICAN AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION
ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP TO DEVELOP DROUGHT-TOLERANT MAIZE
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation, an African-led charity, has announced a public-private partnership to develop drought-tolerant maize varieties for Africa. The partnership, known as Water Efficient Maize for Africa, was formed in response to a growing call by African farmers, leaders and scientists to address the devastating effects of drought on small-scale farmers and their families.
The foundation will work with the nonprofit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Monsanto and the national agricultural research systems in the participating countries. The new drought-tolerance technologies have already been licensed without charge. In the next five years, the partnership will develop the new maize varieties, incorporating the best drought-tolerance technologies available internationally.
"This partnership fits well with the AATF mandate of facilitating innovative public-private partnerships that bring to smallholder farmers in Africa the tools needed to increase productivity for better food and income security," stated Mpoko Bokanga, executive director of AATF.
Maize is the most widely grown staple crop in Africa and is severely affected by frequent droughts. More than 300 million Africans depend on it as their main food source.
ST. LOUIS REGION WINS 2008 ALL-AMERICA CITY AWARD
The St. Louis region, represented by a diverse contingent of 20 citizens and leaders, won the 2008 All-America City Award on June 6th, presented by the National Civic League, at an awards ceremony in Tampa. St. Louis was the only region to make the finalist group from among more than 100 nominees, and is the only metro region in the nation this year to be designated an
"This is a great, great moment for the
St. Louis region. As I noted in the June 7th
St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, this award means that the citizens of the St. Louis region, both in Missouri and Illinois, can be very proud of the many positive developments in the region over the past several years. Being recognized as a region that is building a stronger community by tackling challenges through collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation underscores the theme of our region's branding effort, 'St. Louis: Perfectly Centered. Remarkably Connected,'" says RCGA President and CEO Dick Fleming.
Now in its 59th year, the award is considered a 'Nobel Prize' for constructive citizenship and recognition for civic progress and improvement. It is the oldest and most prestigious civic recognition in the nation. This is the first time since 1956 that St. Louis has been recognized as an All-America City.
As the Civic League itself notes, winning the All-America City Award reinvigorates a community's sense of civic pride. All-America City winners and finalists also experience heightened national attention—since the award announcement in Tampa, coverage of the St. Louis award has generated 86 separate media stories nationally and locally (including Forbes.com) a proven boost for the recruitment of industry, jobs and investment to an area. Perhaps as important as the tangible benefits of being named an All-American City, are the benefits a community derives from completing the All-America City Award process. The application process presents a unique opportunity for communities to evaluate themselves and foster new community partnerships.
Most importantly, All-American Cities teach and inspire communities throughout the nation that are struggling with similar issues, how to face difficult situations and to meet those challenges in innovative and
The region celebrated the All-America City Award at the grand opening of the McKinley Bridge Bikeway and Trestle at Branch Street. The bikeway is the latest addition to The River Ring—a unique, 600-mile web of 45 biking trails and greenways that will encircle and criss-cross the St. Louis region. The River Ring played a key role in the regionÕs winning nomination for the All-America City Award.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay noted, "It has been more than 50 years since St. Louis won this outstanding award. This is a strong acknowledgement by an objective source of the improvement in the quality of life in both the City of St. Louis and the entire region."
Over 100 communities submitted applications this year for the All-America City Award presented by the Denver-based National Civic League. St. Louis was one of 16 communities named as finalists in March.
Spearheaded by RCGA Vice President of Economic Development Linda Leonard, the St. Louis region'sÊnomination and presentation focused on the challenges of revitalizing the region's central city, the need for connecting the region through trails and parks that was holding the region back from competing with other metro areas in environmentally-friendly mobility, and the need to empower youth to succeed in the arts and business.
All-America City Award "A Nobel Prize For Constructive Citizenship": Back in 1949, Gideon Seymour, managing editor of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, appointed reporter Jean James to cover the annual National Conference on Government in St. Paul. In addition to covering the event, James was assigned to ask the National Municipal League, now known as the National Civic League, to support an award to recognize the best-governed cities in America.
Instead, it was suggested that the award recognize citizens where citizen action had succeeded in making these communities
better places to live. Thus was born the
All-America City Award.
George Gallup Sr., the renowned public opinion pollster, served as president of the National Civic League and chaired the jury that selected the winning cities in the first several years. Gallup described the award as, "a Nobel Prize for constructive citizenship." In the beginning, winning cities were often those that had demonstrated local
government reform and efficiency, as well as improvements in the city's infrastructure, including housing, public works, and education. But, more recently, the focus has shifted to broader community initiatives, such as economic development, health, youth projects, and efforts to improve race relations.
"There is a great deal of forward momentum in St. Louis' economic development, and it's time to celebrate the St. Louis region winning its first All-America City Award in 52 years," says Fleming.
Three successful initiatives were
highlighted in the finalist presentation:
Project 1: Downtown Now! is a public/private partnership formed in 1997 to develop a seven-year plan for revitalizing downtown
St. Louis. It was developed and implemented by a diverse region-wide coalition of government officials, private citizens, entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, and community groups. Over $4.25 billion has been invested downtown in the past seven years, with another $1 billion currently underway. This level of investment in historic restoration and adaptive reuse has led to Missouri becoming the number one state in the use of federal tax credits.
Project 2: The River Ring is a unique, 600-mile web of 45 biking trails and greenways that will encircle and connect the St. Louis region, it is being created by the Great Rivers Greenway District. Both the Great Rivers Greenway District and the Metro-East Park and Recreation District were established in November 2000 by the successful passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Trails Initiative (Proposition C) in St. Louis City, St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri and Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois. Together the Great Rivers Greenway District and the Metro-East Park and Recreation District make up the nation's first bi-state, multi-county park district to develop an interconnected trail system.
Project 3: The Boomerang Press, a division
of the community-based arts collaborative
St. Louis ArtWorks, was launched after
winning the 2007 Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition at Washington University in St. Louis' Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Boomerang Press provides meaningful employment and job training, enabling students aged 14 to 19 to produce commissioned art with real-world clients in paid positions under instructor guidance.
The Washington Post, as well as several hundred newspapers, ran Neal Peirce's weekly online column on June 22. Neal is the nationally-syndicated urban affairs columnist. His column chronicles the St. Louis region's recent winning of the 2008 All-America City Award.
ST. LOUIS: AFTER 52 YEARS, "ALL AMERICA CITY" AGAIN
By Neal Peirce
Imagine a bunch of curious Japanese tourists stepping gingerly through the ruins of a once-grand avenue of urban America, gawking at deserted and burned-out hulks of historic buildings, wondering how a great city could have sunken so low.
Eleven years ago, Washington Avenue in St. Louis was declining rapidly, the downtown prospects grim. And the rest of the
St. Louis region didnÕt seem to care.
So in a 1997 series for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, my Citistates Group coauthor Curt Johnson and I arbitrarily picked 2010 as the year foreigners might come poking through the ruins of Washington Avenue. They'd be witnessing, we suggested, the tragic end point of the flight from of Americans from their once-proud cities.
The good news is how wrong we were. Reel forward (or back!) to this June 7. The yearly competition for one of the National Civic League's coveted "All America Cities Awards" is taking place in Tampa, Fla. There's huge suspense—which cities (out of 100 original entries) will a critical jury select to receive the coveted awards?
St. Louis makes the cut! It's received its first All America City award since 1956. And what's the top talking point St. Louis used to win? It's the downtown, focus of our dire warning of 1997.
That year the "doers" of the comeback—public officials, entrepreneurs, investors, community groups—were just assembling in a group called Downtown Now! They focused heavily on restoring the city's grand architectural legacy, tapping a landmark state historic preservation tax credit.
And the "going back to the future" strategy paid off handsomely. Richard C.D. Fleming, president of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Assn. and a leader in getting the Missouri Legislature to pass the credit explains: "The total new investment in downtown is almost $5 billion. And close to 90 percent of it is historic preservation— great old structures rehabilitated for offices, condos and more—not just a bunch of new megastructures."
The downtown residential population, close to zero in 1997, is up to 10,000, and growing.
But St. Louis, for decades bedeviled by deep population loss and widely scattered suburban sprawl, also won its award by pointing to a stunning regional advance. It's the new River Ring project, which eventually will be a 600-mile web of 45 biking trails and greenways designed to encircle and connect the entire region—a big "green" advance and also a way to help the metro
St. Louis compete with other areas in environmentally-friendly outdoor life.
Just completed: a renovation of the historic McKinley Bridge across the Mississippi River, with a 6,600-foot bikeway and pedestrian way offering spectacular views of downtown St. Louis and its landmark Gateway Arch. The remade bridge will be connected in the next 12 months to a converted railway trestle going five more miles into the heart of the city.
Yet the greenway advance wouldn't have happened unless both the Missouri and Illinois legislatures, along with the voters of St. Louis, two adjacent Missouri counties and four in Illinois hadn't agreed in 2000 to fund a bistate regional park district to set up the interconnecting parks, trails and greenways.
But there was a third side to the St. Louis All America City award—an ingenious arts and youth breakthrough. A community-based collaborative, St. Louis Art Works, helps aspiring artists place their work in public spaces of corporations—where it's offered for sale. In the last two years, Art Works reached out to help inner city high school artists form a nonprofit subsidiary— the Boomerang Press—producing commissioned art.
Four of the student artists traveled with Mayor Francis Slay, CEOs and civic leaders to make St. Louis' presentation in Tampa. One can only imagine what an amazing experience it was—only one student had ever been on an airplane before. Yet sources tell me their presence was critical to St. Louis' victory.
And that wasn't the end of the story. Through St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, the students were granted a client interview with leaders of Busch Gardens near Tampa. Result: they came home with a contract to design and provide holiday cards for Busch Gardens this year.
Several other exemplary towns won the All America City Awards, among them New Haven, Conn., Akron, Ohio, and Aurora, Colo.
But St. Louis was the only winning region. And its victory says something significant about America today: Recovered and triumphant downtowns—provided there's visionary local leadership—are on a roll. Without the special "green" value incorporated in new parks, greenways, natural settings, no metropolitan area can draw the best talent and become truly competitive. Arts, livability are in—all the more exciting if they can be inclusive too.
Finally, it takes a whole region—cities, suburbs working as a team—to produce the most glowing results.