Green Park makes right call on any city-county merger

By Mike Anthony

We applaud the Green Park Board of Aldermen for its recent unanimous vote to adopt a resolution opposing “any plan for reunification of the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County.”

The resolution states the board “formally stands in favor of all the accomplishments of the city of Green Park and other municipalities in St. Louis County that, through their elected officials and citizen volunteers, have worked tirelessly to make the St. Louis region an exceptional place to live and work, and, therefore, hereby opposes any actions that would seek to eliminate or consolidate any municipalities without a vote of the residents of each affected municipality.”

Green Park, which was officially incorporated on June 1, 1995, will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.

Has it all been smooth sailing for the city and its residents? No, Green Park did go through a period of growing pains back in the late 1990s.

But the reason a municipality incorporates is to provide superior services for its residents — and that’s what Green Park does. As the resolution notes, the city provides its 2,622 residents and numerous businesses “a high level of service, including a street maintenance program that has successfully replaced all residential streets, Green Park Road and is currently undertaking replacement of its commercial streets; no-cost residential trash/recycling pickup and snow removal; (and) police services …”

Green Park provides all of these services without levying real estate or personal property taxes on residents, and businesses are not charged a license fee to operate in the city.

Green Park Mayor Bob Reinagel and Ward 1 Alderman Tony Pousosa appeared a tad suspicious of Better Together, which touts itself as a “grassroots organization” studying how the city and county could collaborate. Better Together, sponsored by the nonprofit Missouri Council for a Better Economy, contends it is “neither putting forth nor advocating for a specific plan to such end, but rather seeks to act as a facilitator, a resource for information and tools, and a catalyst to spark discussion.”

Quite frankly, we have a hard time swallowing that. We also have a hard time believing Better Together’s claim that it’s a grassroots organization.

In contrast, the effort to incorporate Green Park, led by Fred Hoehn, truly was a grassroots effort by citizens who wanted direct control over their community. The board’s resolution opposing any “reunification” plan simply is another example of that local control.