New Stadium | St. Louis Public Radio

New Stadium

Jim Kavanaugh of SC STL, the investment and ownership group trying to bring an MLS team to St. Louis, is shown after a news conference Tuesday, March 21, 2017, announcing the group's planned investments in community development. (March 21, 2017)
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

An ownership group that’s trying to persuade St. Louis voters to help fund a professional soccer stadium said Tuesday that it will invest millions of dollars in youth soccer and job-training programs.

The ownership team, SC STL, along with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and nonprofit organizations at a news conference detailed the potential benefits of attracting an Major League Soccer team. Slay called the Community Benefit Agreement negotiated between SC STL and the city a “first-of-its-kind deal” that promises millions of dollars for more than a dozen organizations and initiatives — and shows their request to voters isn’t just about sports.

Mayor Francis Slay signs legislation that will ask voters to approve a sales tax increase to fund a Major League Soccer stadium and a north-south MetroLink line. (Feb. 3, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If there’s one issue that’s provoked more fiery passions among St. Louis politicians, it’s using their constituents’ dollars to fund sports stadiums.

From the unsuccessful venture to keep Rams football in St. Louis to a pending proposal to nab a Major League Soccer team, there’s little question that opponents and proponents of the funding method have strong opinions — including the Democratic candidates seeking to become St. Louis’ next mayor.

A rendering of the proposed St. Louis soccer stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Public financing for a soccer stadium near Union Station in downtown St. Louis is unlikely to appear on the April ballot.

Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, confirmed Tuesday that she will not move forward legislation that would have asked voters to chip in $80 million in tax revenue for the stadium. The money would have come from an increase in the use tax that would be triggered by a separate measure.

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The Foundry St. Louis

One of two groups that want to bring major league soccer to St. Louis will hold a public forum Tuesday night.

Foundry St. Louis is a group of mostly St. Louis residents attempting to secure an MLS Soccer franchise and stadium.

The group is offering people the chance to give their input on initial plans for a stadium that could possibly be built near the Saint Louis University campus in the city of St. Louis.

Foundry St. Louis President Nicholas Mahrt says St. Louis deserves an MLS team because of the area’s history with the sport.

Antonio French 2016 photo
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The race to be the next St. Louis mayor is getting more crowded.

A day after St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson jumped in the contest and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced that she had filed paperwork to race money for a mayoral bid, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French revealed he too would seek to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay back to the program for the second time.

The Democratic citywide official has been in office since 2001 and already is the longest-serving mayor in the city's history. Slay has developed a sophisticated and successful political organization, and he’s often played a big role in helping other candidates and ballot issues succeed.

Alderman Megan Green speaks to reporters after Friday's Board of Aldermen meeting. The 15th Ward Democrat alleged that "bribes" were offed by a proponent of a riverfront stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated 3 p.m. Feb. 19 with Green's statement - Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green on Friday apologized to Alderman Sam Moore in an ongoing dispute over allegations of bribery.

"I have come to understand that he felt personally attacked by my comments," Green said. "My only intent was to refer to his testimony from the Dec. 11 Ways and Means meeting. I felt that his personal experience lent credibility to some of the other things I thought were going on."

A rendering of the proposed riverfront stadium
Courtesy of HOK

Two more ethics bills are headed to the Missouri Senate after passing through the House today. That makes six that have gone on to the Senate. 

These are both sponsored by Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, and fit into a stated legislative goal of improving government oversight and accountability.

Nick Perryman motions at passing cars as he stands across the street from the Edward Jones Dome on Jan. 13, 2016 showing both his displeasure with Rams owner Stan Kroenke and love for his hometown team.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

“St. Louis on the Air” is starting a new segment on Fridays called “Behind the Headlines.” Every week, we’ll feature several reporters on the show to discuss the week’s best, most interesting, most talked about, or quirkiest stories the St. Louis Public Radio newsroom is covering.

If you see a topic that you’d like to get more depth on, or hear a piece from one of our reporters you’d like to know more about, please email us at talk@stlpublicradio.org with what you’d like to hear in this recurring Friday segment.

Sam Sextro lights candles across the street from the Edward Jones Dome while mourning the city's loss of the Rams. Sextro and a friend, who ran a St. Louis University High Rams fan club, met outside the stadium Wednesday for a "final tailgate."
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Stan Kroenke ended his self-imposed exile from the media yesterday, he wasn’t bringing good tidings to St. Louis sports fans.

The taciturn billionaire owner of the St. Louis Rams had plunged the region into a yearlong whirlwind after unveiling plans to build a lavish stadium in Inglewood, Calif. And NFL owners overwhelmingly approved his vision during a special meeting in Houston.

Stan Kroenke at a 2012 press conference at the Rams practice facility in Earth City.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI

As many of you are probably well aware, Stan Kroenke wants to move the Rams from St. Louis.

In a blistering letter, he cited almost every flaw he could think of with the city. The mayor of St. Louis fired back, noting "multiple inaccuracies and misrepresentations of St. Louis and our community's relationship with the Rams."

Cara Spencer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On another edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Alderman Cara Spencer to the program for the first time.

Spencer represents the city’s 20th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. The ward includes several south St. Louis neighborhoods, including Gravois Park, Marine Villa, Mount Pleasant and Dutchtown. And it takes in part of Cherokee Street, one of St. Louis’ most eclectic business districts.

The Edward Jones Dome has been home to the St. Louis Rams since 1995.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with reaction from officials. When it became public knowledge that the St. Louis Rams had applied for relocation to the Los Angeles area, the team provided a brief statement that didn’t reveal much about their rationale for leaving.

Well, the Rams elaborated on their reasons for relocating on Tuesday night. And the team’s decision not to pull punches about why they want to leave St. Louis may have massive consequences — even if their bid to move is rejected.

Sen. Joe Keaveny
Caleb Codding I St. Louis Public Radio

This week on the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Joe Keaveny to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat serves as the leader of the Senate Democratic caucus, a group that has consistently shrunk in numbers over the past few election cycles. But even though there's only eight members of his caucus in the 34-member Senate chamber, Keaveny and other Senate Democrats still have the power to block legislation as they see fit.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File Photo

After months of speculation, intrigue and public policy contortions, the St. Louis Rams have officially filed to move to the Los Angeles area.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not all of the news that you see and hear featured on St. Louis Public Radio comes from the St. Louis region itself—some of it comes from our reporters located in Jefferson City and Washington D.C. That would be Marshall Griffin and Jim Howard, respectively.

On Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” the two discussed the year’s biggest news from our nation’s capital and the capital of Missouri. 

Here’s some of what they discussed:

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Typically when December ends, journalists tend to become reflective about the highlights and lowlights of the past year. This reporter is no exception, as the scandal, tragedy, transition, conflict and hilarity of the past 12 months gave everybody who covers Missouri politics a lot to think about.

So yes, this is an article rounding up all of the big moments from the past year. But renowned financier Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson inspired me to take this retrospective in a different direction.

Moose Winan, "Rolling Thunder & Hills," Ozark Mountains
Moose Winans | Flickr, Creative Commons | http://bit.ly/1YyPCLb

One word comes to mind when we think about the environmental news that’s been a conversation starter in St. Louis in 2015: landfills. Specifically, what is going on at the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills north St. Louis County. On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” St. Louis Public Radio’s science reporter Véronique LaCapra joined the show to discuss the evolution of the landfill situation and other big science, environmental and wildlife news of the year.

Some of the topics we discussed:

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis speaks to demonstrators in the Board of Aldermen's balcony. The Board passed a financing plan aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave its blessing to a measure aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town.

Now, it’s up to the NFL’s owners to see if this potentially expensive gambit paid off.

Grace Kenyon walks her dogs, Lhenny and Brown, near the Ashley Street Power House, a city landmark that developers have said could become a team store in the proposed stadium plan.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As debate continues over the proposed riverfront football stadium, those who live and work within the planned footprint have obvious reasons to pay attention.

A few of the area’s historic buildings, including the Ashley Street Power House, are set to be spared. But others face uncertain fates if the new stadium actually becomes a reality.

Are these buildings worth saving? As expected, opinions differ.

After heated debate, Alderman Sharon Tyus, D-1st, left, voted against the stadium funding bill, while Aldermen Antonio French, D-21st, center, and Jack Coatar, D-7th, voted for.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday with Board of Estimate and Apportionment vote - St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green voted against the stadium financing deal Wednesday afternoon as expected.

The comptroller is a member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, along with the mayor and president of the Board of Aldermen. Mayor Francis Slay and President Lewis Reed both voted for the deal.

These renderings show what it would look like in National Car Rental Field. The car rental company forged a $158 million deal to name an in-flux riverfront stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Updated 1:31 p.m. Dec. 15 - Backers of a proposed new NFL stadium for St. Louis have an extra $3 million at their disposal, thanks to the state of Missouri.

The Missouri Development Finance Board voted 9-1 Tuesday to grant a line of credit to the St. Louis Convention and Sports Complex Authority.

Alderman Megan Green speaks to reporters after Friday's Board of Aldermen meeting. The 15th Ward Democrat alleged that "bribes" were offed by a proponent of a riverfront stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A St. Louis alderman is contending that debate over a proposed riverfront stadium plan took a corrupt turn when a “loved one” was offered a political favor in exchange for her dialing down her opposition to the project.

But Alderman Megan Green’s charges are getting pushback – especially from her colleagues on the Board of Aldermen.

Steve Tilley and Jamilah Nasheed
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to host a special edition* of the show with former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley and Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.

(*From a technical standpoint, all Politically Speaking podcasts are recorded live and then disseminated throughout the Internet. But this week's show was recorded in front of an audience in St. Louis Public Radio's community room at Grand Center.)

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, left, talks with Aldermen Sam Moore, center, and Antonio French about a stadium funding deal. All three voted in favor of the proposal aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:15 Friday -- Plans for a $1 billion riverfront stadium cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a financing proposal passed out of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee. And the measure passed with a big assist from one of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s biggest detractors. The full board will consider this bill next week.

A member of the St. Louis stadium task force places signage in the room before the announcement that National Car Rental has agreed to pay $158 million over 20 years for naming rights for the proposed NFL stadium in St. Louis on October 7, 2015.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | October 2015

Updated with committee vote - The aldermanic Ways and Means Committee has sent the NFL stadium plan to the full board for consideration. The 7-2 approval means the aldermen could take an initial vote on the measure tomorrow.

Most observers agree that Reed doesn't have a majority of the Board of Aldermen aligned with him. That means he's sometimes at the losing end of some big-ticket issues -- or he ends up supporting initiatives from Slay or other aldermen.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee expected to vote on a stadium financing package on Thursday, Alderman Chris Carter is getting pressure from unusual sources – like the general manager of his gym.

This artist's rendering shows an aerial view of the massing model of the new football stadium, looking southwest.
HOK | 360 Architecture

The fight to force a vote on funding for a proposed new football stadium in the city will now be fought solely in the courts.

The Convention and Tourism committee on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have put the proposed financing plan on the March ballot. The vote was 5-3 in opposition.

Jeanette Mott Oxford
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s political duo of Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomes Jeanette Mott Oxford, head of Empower Missouri, as our guest on the latest edition of the Political Speaking podcast.

Oxford is a former Democratic legislator from St. Louis and has been active for more than 25 years in anti-poverty and social-justice organizations.

Empower Missouri is the latest moniker for a progressive advocacy group that’s been around since 1901 under various names.  Most recently, the organization was  known as the Missouri Association for Social Welfare.

Art by Susannah Lohr, Rendering Courtesy of HOK

From the moment a proposal for a riverfront stadium was unveiled nearly a year ago, the roughly $1 billion facility provoked probing questions about the future of professional football in St. Louis. Some of the queries revolved around the intangible benefits of remaining a NFL city. Others asked whether voters or legislative bodies should approve public commitments to the facility. 

As those debates continue to play out,  the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is wrestling with something more tangible: How much is it going to cost the city to build the facility and how much will a stadium bring into city coffers?

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