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Page revamps county board that owns more than 150 Wellston properties

Page revamps county board that owns more than 150 Wellston properties

Wellston land

An aerial view of the industrial parks in Wellston owned by the St. Louis County Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority. In the foreground is the Wellston Industrial Park. In the background, to the south of Page Avenue, is the Plymouth Industrial Park. (photo provided by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership)

CLAYTON — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page on Friday replaced the board of a key economic development body that has major real estate holdings in the north St. Louis County community of Wellston.

The appointments to the St. Louis County Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority will reshape oversight of a body that was at the center of a real estate deal with political donors to former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger — a deal included in the former county chief’s pay-to-play indictment.

The LCRA is also the largest landowner in Wellston, and officials in the inner-ring suburb have grown impatient with the LCRA and its maintenance of some of the 150 or so parcels it owns.

“I’m excited about the new future of the LCRA and its partnership with the city of Wellston,” said Wellston Mayor Nate Griffin.

Griffin said that Page’s revamp of the board shows that the county views the city as a “partner” in redevelopment efforts. The Page administration this summer blocked a federal plan to demolish public housing units in Wellston and has worked with the city to find a developer to rehab the units.

The county LCRA is operated and managed by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. The three LCRA board members Page replaced — Christopher James Becker, Jack Kirkland and Sandra Parker, who recently stepped down — were all serving terms that expired in 2014. The board can have five members, but in recent years only three served, sometimes making it difficult to reach a quorum.

Page’s four appointees to the LCRA board, which do not require approval from the St. Louis County Council, are:

• Chesterfield resident Jami Dolby, the development director at Maryville University.

• South St. Louis County resident Thomas Madden, a union plumber at contractor Murphy Co. and a member of the board of Lemay nonprofit The Housing Partnership.

• Wellston resident Samuel Shannon, a longtime member of the Wellston City Council and a retired machinist who worked at a Boeing subsidiary.

• Glendale resident Lynn Goessling, an Armstrong Teasdale attorney who specializes in real estate.

Hundreds of positions on St. Louis County’s dozens of boards and commissions were vacant or filled with members serving on expired terms when Page came into office.

Page spokesman Doug Moore said Page has made more than 200 appointments since taking office. Moreover, Moore said, the administration is now tracking demographics, and half of the 100 appointments made last year were women and 33% were racial minorities.

“We have aggressively been working to fill these positions,” Moore said in a statement.

The revamp of the LCRA board isn’t the only change there: The Economic Partnership manager who oversaw the LCRA during the last two years, Erica Henderson, left her job at the beginning of the year to become a full-time consultant, according to an out-of-office message from her former Partnership email address. She took the position following a host of staff departures in the wake of the Stenger scandal.

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