Recently, the City of Maplewood stated that they have a million plus dollars to spend and are open to suggestions. Now I understand that I am not involved with our leaders on a daily basis, but it seems ironic to me that they are making this statement on the heels of asking us to increase our taxes for both a fire station and to support the lateral program…
I also find it ironic that instead of ramping up the resurfacing of our neighborhood streets, they are looking for ‘projects’. Why? So many of our residential streets are in terrible shape – which not only harm our cars, ruin the ascetics of our neighborhoods and drive property values down, but also discourage home buyers. Those same people who are drawn to drive around to see what they can find in our charming areas, make a bee-line for the main arteries (or Richmond Heights) after bumping and bobbling down our side streets.
The city is repairing streets in order of a study completed over a decade ago (a study, by the way that they paid tens of thousands for). And let’s not forget, the city Maplewood consists of much more area than simply the blocks south of Manchester close to the business district…all the updates, cute street name signs in the blocks surrounding the strip, do not carry across the entire city – why not areas north of Manchester or west of Big Bend? Why not the poor souls who are now facing the back side of a Walmart?
Finally, if we aren’t going to have our taxes lowered or fix the streets that are in obvious need, or continue the beatifications that have only landed in and near the business district, then how about taking a cue from other cities and improve our ‘name plates’?
By this I mean the signs posted around our borders that declare “Maplewood”. Why not take pride in these and instead of just sticking them in the ground and walking away? Invest some money in making them a statement!
How many readers have noticed the Brentwood sign/fountain at Hwy 40 and Brentwood? It is beautiful and classy and announces you are in their city. The fact that it grabs your attention while in the shadow of huge flyover ramps proves the impact a thoughtful piece can have no matter where it is placed.
So I wonder, who owns that small piece of land on the northeast corner of Manchester and Hanley? If the city does, why not try to mimic something similar to that Brentwood piece? It could even contain an element to post events in the city. All that traffic at that intersection…talk about making ourselves known!
Too big of a project? Then take it down a notch—how about the smaller city markers scattered around? To know what I am referencing, take a quick drive down West Bruno to the Lindbergh intersection. Richmond Heights has a carved stone maker that is artfully landscaped—directly across from that Maplewood has a white wooden sign, seven feet up in the air with a few tulips and a bush or two that pop up at its base.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe those white and teal Maplewood signs have great potential. But how about lowering it, how about getting a true landscaper in there, adding a self-sustaining water feature? Just enlist someone (anyone) who has a better eye for aesthetics than whoever stuck those in the ground. Have a contest, have people submit ideas, get the community involved…
I think claiming our city and borders would be a good idea to build business development (not only in the business district)—especially before the county continues to push and dumps all that traffic on us from the proposed South County Connector. Brentwood developed and thereby negated the continuation of I-170 down the middle of their city—maybe we could be fortunate enough to do the same.