Citizen input needed on redevelopment issues

To the editor:

When the new 30-day request for proposals for the Watson-Grant Road area was reported in the local newspapers, I decided to talk to some of my friends and neighbors about it.

I talked to at least 10 people, asking them what they thought of the Watson-Grant Road RFP. Here’s some of the emotions I sensed and the comments I received:

• Frustration: You don’t know what to believe. It’s like the sales tax. We were told that if we don’t pass the sales tax, services will be cut.

• Anger: How would you like it if someone came up to you and said: “Jerry, we’re going to use eminent domain to kick you out of your house.”

• Cynicism: They changed the RFP to avoid getting sued; there’s no way a developer can respond to the RFP in 30 days; a developer needs at least 90 days to respond to an RFP; Mills has a lot of political connections.

I asked each person what he/she thought of rental units versus condominiums. I heard minimal support for and a number of objections against a 240-unit rental apartment complex. On the other hand, I found strong support for owner-occupied condominiums, like Pardee Forest at Rock Hill and Pardee and the Courtyards on Eddie and Park, across from the Truman School.

The proposed apartments are being promoted as luxury apartments similar to Boulder Springs at I-270 and Page. In my opinion, the monthly rentals of $1,000 to $1,500 of Boulder Springs will not fly in Crestwood.

It’s just too out of line with rental prices in the Crestwood area.

Based on the July 22 Board of Aldermen meeting and recent newspaper reports, city officials strongly favor the Mills proposal. Why, then, would other developers spend their time responding to a 30-day RFP if they feel the outcome of the process has already been decided?

In conclusion, I feel this project is facing a lot of problems: from adverse citizen support to possible legal challenges.

Therefore, I feel it needs to be put on hold in order to inform the people of Crestwood, especially the residents in the Watson-Grant Road area, and to determine what is in the best long-term interest of the community.

I propose public forums to inform the people about various alternatives for the property and to solicit feedback. And the project needs to be on a level playing field.

Then, perhaps, developers would be interested in making presentations and submitting proposals, including detailed financials as to how the city of Crestwood and its people would benefit.

What we do today will have a major impact on the future of Crestwood and its people

Let’s get the people of Crestwood in-volved and do it right.

Jerry Miguel