Citizens Call For Community Benefits Agreement Before TIF Vote

By on May 14, 2018

From University City Patch:  With a public hearing just over a week away, many U-City residents still feel they are in the dark about the proposed redevelopment on Olive Boulevard in the city’s third ward. A special edition of the city’s newsletter has yet to go out to residents, and at least one public meeting (held before the joint city council-school board meeting April 30) doesn’t seem to have been posted on the city’s website in advance. Residents say city officials walked a flyer around their neighborhood just a few days before the meeting, leaving many unable to attend and others unaware it was even scheduled.

Some residents have also raised concerns about the development’s public benefit and racial equity. They are demanding a Community Benefits Agreement to protect the communities in the development’s path.

“A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is a contract between community representatives and a real estate developer requiring the developer to provide specific benefits or protections to the affected community,” Margaux Sanchez writes in the online magazine Dear St. Louis. “It can address topics such as fair employment, affordable housing, youth resources, racial equity, and historic preservation.

“Without a CBA, the playing field is not level, and community benefits are not guaranteed.”

Some U-City residents will hold a press conference prior to the May 15 TIF commission meeting at the Heman Park Community Center to ask that the project be delayed until a CBA can be negotiated.

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