pre June 14 2014 419As part of my work (now a year at it) I receive weekly the St Louis Business Journal.  Business interests me though I wouldn’t claim expertise.  Each issue of SLBJ teaches me something; it also brings enjoyment in the Mark Vittert column.

This “economic growth is bypassing St. Louis” article from the June 27-July3 issue caught my eye.

economic growth bypassing St Louis

I enjoy being here in St Louis.  But it has taken me a year to almost have a grasp of ‘where am I?’  There’s City of St Louis.  And there’s St Louis County.  The City is not part of the County.  Unlike Chicago in Cook County.  Or my Minnesota hometown of Duluth in a county also named St Louis.

I choose to believe Wikipedia which claims there are 41 independent cities in the USA.  38 in Virginia (what’s that all about?), Baltimore, Carson City, and St Louis.  St Louis has a most interesting story as to its non-county existence.

Sorry, SLBJ restricts access to the Greg Edwards article.  But it reports Rick Bagy of First National Bank of St Louis as saying St Louis’ many municipalities with so many different rules, regulations and paperwork make starting a business here difficult.

I heard from a major retailer with quite a few locations who wishes they hadn’t come here because of how hard it is to open another location … How many municipalities do we have?  They all have their own rules.

It can also make it confusing to know where one happens to be.

There is no confusion as to where a person may be when one crosses the Missouri River on I-64 or I-70.

Several months ago I attended a large gathering of business leaders in St Charles County.  It is a population and economic powerhouse neighboring St Louis County to the west.  The two are separated by the wide Missouri.  They are also separated by politics, and race.

The gathering grew respectfully quiet as a prominent St Charles business figure made clear that the river and its bridges were valued for their important role in ensuring continued separation.

I’m not convinced all who grew quiet at that gathering agreed with the speaker’s philosophy.  But I’ve picked up in my twelve months here that such thinking can substantially define life in St Louis City, County and our region.

And I’ve also suspected that as beneficial some might find this separation it’s not in the best interest of metropolitan St Louis.

I think what Mr. Bagy points out about a passively balkanized St Louis is becoming more seen.  And less helpful.

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