Not In My Ward: St. Louis Alderman Slams Possible Port Authority Expansion

By on May 16, 2019

From St. Louis Public Radio:  Brandon Bosley doesn’t want anything to do with the St. Louis Port Authority. He’s been vocal about that fact. Last week, the 3rd ward St. Louis alderman introduced a bill putting that into writing.

If passed, the bill would exempt his northside ward from any possible expansion of the Port Authority. It’s a preemptive measure that comes just a month after a bill that would have broadened the Port Authority’s jurisdiction on the matter stalled. It would have expanded the power of the Port Authority from just 19 miles along the Mississippi River front to the entire city.

The Port Authority is an economic development arm of government that works with the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) to manage public and private real estate development projects in the Port District. It can also apply for state and federal grant money for certain projects. The SLDC and the mayor’s office have previously highlighted the benefits of making Port Authority tools available to the entire city.

But Bosley worries that kind of development won’t be in the best interests of his constituents. And he has reason to fear efforts for expanding the Port Authority are reginiting.

Otis Williams, executive director of the SLDC, is hoping to have a new Port Authority expansion bill back on the table soon. He’s just looking for someone on the Board of Aldermen to sponsor it.

If that happens, Bosley is concerned that would mean giving up his ability to weigh in on economic development in his community.

“Everyone in [my] community is afraid of the developers that are going to come in, and they don’t want to be pushed out or priced out. But if we can help control some of that development because we have development dollars also, it gives us a seat at the table and not just someone who is begging you to do something about the community or build housing and then we can’t afford to live there.”

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