I am sick of the us vs. them mentality when it comes to St. Louis (STL) vs. the 91 cities in St. Louis County (SLC). 91 cities! Ever heard of Champ, Missouri? I certainly have not, however, I would welcome them if they wanted to be part of STL. St. Louis has a population of ~355,663, and St. Louis county has a popluation of 1,016,315. The county has largely taken the many, many expatriates from St. Louis over the years. The many cities in SLC have seen HUGE population increases over the years. Looking at the population in the 20th century, 1930 saw a huge increase of 110%. These big gains continued (1960-73.1% and 1970-35.2%). However the 80's through the 00's have seen minimal gains, all below 3%.
SLC nor STL are tearing it up when it comes to drawing new residents to the region. Ideally, we should be working together as opposed to competing against each other.
So it got me thinking about annexation of inner ring suburbs. I actually like the idea of keep the exurbs out of the equation. Sorry, but I don't EVER see Chesterfield, Ballwin, Ellisville, Fenton, Eureka, etc. wanting to associate with STL on any level. I'm not sure the inner-rings would either, but it's fun to contemplate.
So, as far as I can tell, there are 16 cities that border STL:
- U. City pop./area sq. mi. 37,428/5.9
- Spanish Lake pop./area sq. mi. 21,337/7.5
- Lemay pop./area sq. mi. 17,215/4.5
- Jennings pop./area sq. mi. 15,469/3.7
- Bellefontaine Neighbors pop./area sq. mi. 11,271/4.4
- Richmond Heights pop./area sq. mi. 9,602/2.3
- Maplewood pop./areasq. mi. 9,228/1.5
- Shrewsbury pop./area sq. mi. 6,644/1.4
- Glasgow Village pop./area sq. mi. 5,234/0.9
- Northwoods pop./area sq. mi. 4,643/0.7
- Pine Lawn pop./area sq. mi. 4,204/0.6
- Riverview pop./area sq. mi. 3,146/0.8
- Wellston pop./area sq. mi. 2,460/0.9
- Hillsdale pop./area sq. mi. 1,477/0.3
- MacKenzie pop./area sq. mi. 137/0.09
- Clayton pop./area sq. mi. 16,061/2.5
So, if I had my druthers, I'd choose to annex these in order of population gain. I'd keep Clayton as part of SLC, just so new SLC would not have to reinvent their govt. offices/structure.
So if you tiered this in halves, you could have annexation phase I adding U. City, Spanish Lake and Lemay. This would take STL from 355,663 to 431,643. Phase II would add Jennings, Bellefontaine Neighbors, and the rest to bring the grand total to 505,158. STL would go from 355,663 to 505,158!
Think of the tax base increase! Think of the regional power! Think of the consolidation and efficiency! Think of the area! Think of the cultural and identity shifts! Washington University, the Loop, the Galleria, 5 new Metrolink stops...all in St. Louis!
I can dream can't I? Damn it, if Louisville, Indy and KC can do it, why can't we?
Do you see suburban annexation as a good thing for STL, SLC and/or the region? Or, do you like keeping suburbs distinctly separated from the historic city? Or, would you gladly welcome them?