St. Louis' Prop P Endorsed by Wildwood City Council
One of the April 2 ballot items about funding for parks, trails, St. Louis Arch grounds and wildlife habitat is being supported by Wildwood Mayor Tim Woerther and city council members. It would increase sales tax by 3/16th of 1 cent.
Wildwood Mayor Tim Woerther recently led city council members in discussions about endorsing a St. Louis public parks initiative that will be decided on next month. He said he believes Wildwood may benefit from additional funds that would be available to St. Louis County for maintenance and improvement of its park properties in and around Wildwood.
On April 2, voters of St. Louis County and the city will vote on Proposition P, a ballot initiative to increase sales tax and funding available to improve parks and trails and the Gateway Arch grounds. The initiative also includes elements to protect natural areas and wildlife habitat throughout St. Louis.
The initiative is officially referred to as the Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks Initiative. Supporters indicate the proposal will increase accessibility to Arch grounds and Mississippi riverfront, making it easier for visitors with disabilities, the elderly, and families with young children.
Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) is presently supported by a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax imposed on retail shoppers in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County. Together, these three jurisdictions comprise the GRG District. The 1/10th tax was imposed in 2001, and has no sunset provision. Half of the tax’s proceeds accrue to GRG itself and the other half accrues to the three counties (the City of St. Louis is a county unto itself) and their component municipalities for parks, trails, greenways, recreation as well as related facilities and services.
Voters in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County will be asked on April 2 if they want to approve increasing the sales tax that currently supports GRG, by 3/16 of one cent, which would raise about $31.4 million each year under terms of the enabling legislation.
Sixty percent of the new funds, if approved, would go to and be managed by GRG, according to the Prop P website. Forty percent—estimated at $12.6 million per year—will be returned to St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis. County Parks would benefit from $6 million, while municipal parks in St. Louis County would share $4 million and St. Louis City would receive $2.6 million for local park improvements.
Woerther, in support of the resolution passed by city council members at the March 11 meeting, said Wildwood and its citizens would benefit from the additional funding the city would be eligible to receive from grants for park improvements and trail construction.
Wildwood's resolution states Prop P would "generate an additional $4 million annually available for municipal park improvements, provide $9.4 million annually to the Great Rivers Greenway for trail construction, and provide $6 million annually to St. Louis County for county parks improvements."
The official ballot language will read as follows:
For the purpose of increasing safety, security, and public accessibility for the Gateway Arch grounds and local, county, and regional parks and trails for families and disabled and elderly visitors, and for providing expanded activities and improvements of such areas, shall St. Louis County join such other of St. Charles County and the City of St. Louis to impose a three sixteenths (3/16) of one cent sales tax in addition to the existing one-tenth (1/10) of one cent sales tax applied to such purposes, with sixty percent of the revenues derived from the added tax allocated to the Metropolitan Park and Recreation District for Gateway Arch grounds and other regional park and trail improve- ments, and the remaining forty percent allocated to St. Louis County for local and county park improvements as authorized by the County Council of St. Louis County, with such tax not to include the sale of food and prescription drugs and to be subject to an independent annual public audit?
Campaign co-chairs of this initiative listed on webpages dedicated to the proposition include:
- Joe Buck, Fox Sports broadcaster
- Henry Givens Jr., president emeritus, Harris-Stowe State University
- Steven Harris, partner, RubinBrown, LLP, and Chair, Young Professionals Network, Regional Business Council
- Erin Moloney, director of digital and social media marketing, Perficient, Inc. and Social Media Club of St. Louis president
- Kerri Morgan, U. S. Paralympics national team member
- Peter Raven, president emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
- Ozzie Smith, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and former St. Louis Cardinals player