Alex Ihnen, the creator of the popular development, transportation and design website nextSTL.com, will soon move to Cincinnati with his family as his wife begins a residency in pediatric neurology.
Ihnen started the website in 2008, steadily gaining followers and a reputation as a go-to source for development news in the region. Recently, Ihnen held a Kickstarter and exceeded a $20,000 fundraising goal to redesign the website, update branding and contribute to the sustainability of the business.
"From the very beginning, I started the website anonymously because I wanted the policy discussions to be just that, not who is saying it," Ihnen told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. "The whole idea is that this is not Alex's thoughts, it is a platform for civic engagement. That's been my focus. That's what the Kickstarter will enable. With that successful campaign, we've been able to invest in the site so it will continue. From the outside, no one saw me at 1 a.m. cobbling together code to make sure the website lived another day. We were really at that point every six months."
Ihnen said the funds still went to updating the design of the website and technology supporting that.
"The Kickstarter saved the website and made sure it will live on," Ihnen said.
What’s next for the site? Ihnen will stay a part-owner of the website and will contribute to the site when he can. Developer Jason Deem, owner of Nebula Coworking space, will become the site’s publisher, editor and owner.
"As I talk to people about the transition and finding a home for the website, a big priority for me, I wanted it to continue and to continue its purpose and not deviate from the civic purpose it serves," Ihnen said.
The website will include more face-to-face engagement, political discussions, policy initiatives and monthly meetups will be a part of the site's next steps.
Listen as Ihnen discusses what he learned from the process of starting and running the website and what he hopes for the future:
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