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St. Louis County Council approves $6 million to demolish Jamestown Mall | Politics


CLAYTON The St. Louis County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to set aside $6 million to demolish the vacant and blighted Jamestown Mall, taking a major step toward redevelopment of the North County site.

The council voted 6-0 on a proposal by 4th District Democrat Shalonda Webb to guarantee funding for the project, which the first-term councilwoman had made a top issue in her 2020 election campaign.

The bill was intended to secure a county commitment to demolish the mall, which closed in 2014, while officials seek state or federal grants to reach an estimated total of $10 million to make the site “shovel ready.”

“From the very beginning, the demolition of Jamestown Mall has been an intentional, persistent and demanding request from my office,” she said. It’s probably why I’m in office.

“This is just one leg of this marathon … but man, it’s a mighty leg,” she added. “For more than a decade our community has had to live with this continued unsafe, grotesque, humiliating, demoralizing property.”

District 4: Shalonda D. Webb

Shalonda D. Webb was sworn into office in January 2021. She is a software engineer and is the F/A-18 Mission System Engineering Program Hiring Focal and an HCBU recruiter for Boeing. She is married and has three children.

Political party: Democrat

Contact her office: 314-615-5439; email

District 4 includes parts of Florissant, Bellefontaine Neighbors, and Riverview; Black Jack and unincorporated areas north to the Missouri River.

District 4 Councilwoman Shalonda Webb answers questions on Tuesday, Aug.17, 2021. Photo by Colter Peterson, [email protected]

County Executive Sam Page said he would sign the bill. Page has said the project could also benefit from federal aid to the county under the $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill.

Webb is also working with Sen. Brian Williams, D-University City, to seek matching grants from the GOP-controlled Missouri Legislature.

It’s unlikely the county would issue a request for bids for demolition until fall at the earliest, said John Maupin, who chairs the board of the county Port Authority, which owns the site.

The site is currently under remediation and abatement, necessary first steps to remove hazardous materials from the long-blighted property. But the $6 million goes “a long way,” Maupin said Tuesday before the council vote.

“It would be a huge jump and would lead the way for other partners to see how serious we are to get this job done,” he said.

The mall had been slated for redevelopment into an industrial park under a deal the Port Authority reached early last year with a Kansas City developer. But that plan was scrapped in June over opposition from Webb and residents who said they would prefer a community center or mixed retail site.

Several residents told the Council on Tuesday that they wanted to see the mall redeveloped into something benefiting the surrounding neighborhoods. The mall, which has seen flooding and fires, has been an eyesore, they said.

“Please, please, I implore you to pass this legislation,” Zeneta Bowers said. “It’s for my children, it’s for my community, for the residents, my neighbors, my friends. We want to live there; we want to enjoy our communities.”

The previous developer had estimated paying at least $4 million to tear down parts of the mall and rework other areas, Maupin said.

Full demolition would require additional work, including removing asphalt and pavement and refitting sewers underneath, he said.

Spending $10 million to turn it into a “shovel-ready” site will make it easier to draw developers, Webb said.

The funds approved by the council on Tuesday will come out of $83 million that is left from $193 million in federal aid allocated to the county in the American Rescue Plan Act.

Because of restrictions on how those funds may be spent, Webb’s bill calls for a “revenue replacement” maneuver to place federal dollars into the county budget and use an equal amount in freed-up revenues for the demolition.

More staff for prosecutor

The Council also voted 6-1 to approve $909,000 in American Rescue Plan funding for Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell to add 12 attorneys and seven legal assistants to his office for the rest of the year.

The bill, sponsored by Webb and 3rd District Republican Tim Fitch, is a compromise with Page’s budget request from last year to give Bell’s office $3.2 million to add 13 attorneys and 15 legal secretaries for all of 2022.

Bell said his office, which includes 65 attorneys and 55 other staff members, has struggled to keep pace with a backlog of tens of thousands of court cases that were suspended much of the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If we’re going to be able to keep up, then we’re going to need the bodies,” Bell told the council Tuesday.

The new attorneys will be spread among police offices across the county to help investigators file warrants and process cases, under a new initiative, Bell said.

He said the new hires would be temporary positions that would end once the county no longer has federal funding available.

Republican Ernie Trakas, 6th District, was the sole vote against the bill.

Fifth District Democrat Lisa Clancy did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.


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