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City Residents, Aldermen Gather To Criticize South County Connector

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St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie speaks on July 8, 2013

St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie speaks on July 8, 2013

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Several dozen St. Louis residents gathered at Southwest Baptist Church in south St. Louis Monday night to discuss the South County Connector project and ask Mayor Francis Slay to stop it.

The meeting was for informational purposes but it was clear most citizens there already knew about the project and its plan to cut through a city park.

“It seems to me that this is a project that they’re going to spend 110 to 150 million dollars on that doesn’t take people anywhere they already can’t go,” one woman said.

“Well, the primary concern is the amount of traffic increase that’s going to be basically dumped on River Des Peres Boulevard,” a man added.

The plan calls for a four-lane, divided roadway to connect mid- and south St. Louis County. Maplewood’s City Council last month officially came out against the proposal and Great Rivers Greenway has also expressed concerns about what is being branded as a “boulevard” which would run from Hanley Rd. through River Des Peres Blvd.

Resident Ron Zimmer says he is concerned that more roadway negates the chance of any future MetroLink expansion.

“A MetroLink extension would address the very problem they’re talking about because people could then get to south [St. Louis] County by MetroLink, all the way into Clayton,” he said.

Zimmer says the Connector project would undermine the $700 million the city and county have already invested in MetroLink.

St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie ran the meeting and says he thinks public engagement could halt the project.

“In my opinion, because of the city’s charter – taking park space takes a public vote in the city charter – I think it requires a public vote and I think this would be a tough sell in a public vote in the city,” he said.

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