St. Louis — Last Minute Protest
As the Delmar Loop heritage trolley project moves toward groundbreaking at the St. Louis inner ring suburb of University City, there is 11th hour opposition by critics who want to stop or modify the plan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Objections include "unsightly" overhead wires, impacts on auto traffic flow and parking, and a potential for tax-supported operating subsidies, according to the paper. However, it says there appears to be little opponents can do to stop the $44 million project which includes $25 million in federal funds.
"Building the Loop Trolley will not only create a more desirable area in the Delmar Loop, but it will also encourage economic development along the entire 2.2-mile route," Jessica Bueler, a business owner who is president of the Loop Special Business District in University City told the Post-Dispatch.
But recently some homeowners on Lindell Boulevard and in University City have signed petitions and are sending letters to more than 15 federal and local agencies and officials to try to get the project killed or changed.
Some of the residents are opposed to overhead electric wires for the trolleys across Lindell Boulevard and around the Missouri History Museum. They say the wires will be unsightly and hurt property values. Sean Gannon, a Lindell neighborhood trustee, said at a meeting last week that the project was 'steamrolling its way through and residents were being completely left out of the process." Others feared traffic congestion, possible loss of parking, and high operating expense.
Supporters say there had been many open houses and public meetings about the project for several years.
According to the Post-Dispatch, there's apparently little that can be done to stop the $44 million project. With the money already approved or in hand, the project also has the main necessary approvals. The largely federally funded project is due to start construction late this year or early in 2013 and be completed in about a year.