Crestwood citizens need to hear directly from mall owner, Schlink says

To the editor:

Like you, I want the redevelopment of the former Crestwood Plaza to be successful.

Unfortunately, Crestwood Mayor Gregg Roby’s approach to the redevelopment effort on the mall property is crushing our chance to be successful. This is evidenced by the very public negative response from Lindbergh Schools and the Lindbergh Board of Education. When I was mayor, after I had my initial meeting with the developer, the next meeting I scheduled was with the Lindbergh School District and the developer.

I explained to the developer that the Lindbergh School District is very influential because it is a good steward of our tax dollars and successful educating the students. The district is managed very well financially and the residents know it.

This is evidenced by the fact that most bond issues and tax increases pass. The Lindbergh School District is very successful in its program to educate the children, as evidenced by its No. 1 ranking in Missouri for five straight years. I explained we will not be successful if we don’t have open and productive discussions with the Lindbergh School District.

This has not been Mayor Roby’s approach, as evidenced by the school district strongly objecting publicly to the use of tax-increment financing, or TIF, for residential apartments. The Lindbergh Board of Education has passed a resolution opposing the use of TIF for residential apartments.

This is a setback for the redevelopment effort. People are saying look at the facts and don’t overreact. We are looking at the facts, because we are looking at their proposal.

Mayor Roby is telling us the plans for the mall property are changing, just as they do when you build a house. It is a mistake for Mayor Roby to be speaking on behalf of the developer. It is interesting he makes these comments on Facebook and at city meetings, but yet he will not be interviewed on television. As the spokesperson for the city of Crestwood, he should be conducting these interviews, not the city administrator.

We need to hear directly from the owner of the mall, UrbanStreet Group, not Mayor Roby, if any aspect of the plan or the financing will change.