Crestwood board won’t cut any slack to animal shelter nonprofit


“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony
Executive Editor

Mike Anthony

Crestwood Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding folded like a house of cards last week after Ward 3 Alderman Grant Mabie questioned his motion to reduce the rent a nonprofit group is paying the city.
Discussing a five-year lease extension for the Friends of Animal Control and Rescue, or FOACAR, which has rented the former city animal shelter at 9225 Whitecliff Park Lane since animal control was eliminated from the city’s budget, Breeding sought to reduce the organization’s rent payment to $1 per month from $50.
But Mabie voiced his opposition to reducing the rent payment, citing a memo written by City Attorney Lisa Stump when the board considered a lease extension for FOACAR in 2015.
Mabie noted that there are “constitutional infirmities” that prohibit the city from providing “basically free services to private actors, whether they’re not-for-profit or not.” While he acknowledged FOACAR provides a worthy service, he said, “We’re basically giving them a lengthy extension with no inflationary increase.”
Huh? Let’s not cut any slack to an organization that relies on fundraisers to provide an essential city service.
Unfortunately, Breeding withdrew his motion after Mabie’s remarks and did not take up Mayor Gregg Roby’s offer to possibly make a motion to reduce the rent payment to $25.
The irony’s not lost on us that aldermen wouldn’t cut a nonprofit organization a break, given their track record of subsidizing for-profit businesses.
Consider the $25 million in tax incentives aldermen awarded last year to a Chicago-based developer, UrbanStreet Group, for the redevelopment of the former Crestwood Plaza site.
Or consider the sweetheart lease the board awarded to Karen Mott, owner of The Barn restaurant at the city’s Thomas Sappington Historic Site.
Under the 2016 pact with Mott, the city is responsible for replacing a number of major appliances should they fail, not to mention that the city is obligated “to periodically place information regarding ‘The Barn’ in its city of Crestwood Parks and Recreation brochure, newsletter, website, electronic message board and other social media outlets at no cost” to Mott.
Listen to Karen Mott explain to Crestwood aldermen that she needs the city to pay to replace appliances that stop working at The Barn, especially a refrigerator.

We’re sure other Crestwood restaurants would love to have some of their major appliances replaced by the city and receive free advertising courtesy of the city.
But why is that permitted for The Barn since the city can’t provide “basically free services to private actors, whether they’re not-for-profit or not”?