Another Sunday morning and another hagiography of the great and powerful McKee, a man who has promised since 2009 a vision of a Utopian village on the north side to answer all the problems with the power of redevelopment ("Building a future for Pruitt-Igoe").
Paul McKee said that Pruitt-Igoe site is "like a blinking light for everything that's been wrong with St. Louis. It's a symbol of 'tear it down, let it sit and don't worry about it.' ” Is that not what he has done with his property for the past seven years? Is the light still not blinking?
Seven years into this project, have we seen anything other than pretty pictures from architectural companies and $400 million in TIF money, and has there been one block with a model home? One block with new street lights, sidewalks, curb cutouts?
Seven years and have there been any infrastructure upgrades? New sewers? New gas lines? New water mains? Has there been any real physical expression of his vision?
The brief history lesson of Pruitt-Igoe was interesting but not really pertinent to the current discussion surrounding McKee's plans. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of urban planning in the last 20 years has seen Pruitt-Igoe used as a case study of how not to do public housing. This article read like a press release from McEagle Properties.
The story I want to read is of ripping away the curtain and exposing the old man pulling strings and blowing smoke, and telling us to believe in the great and powerful McKee.
Thomas A. Doss • University City