January 25, 2022

Acqua NYC

Fit And Go Forward

Nicklaus: Ehlmann letter could launch a healthy conversation over regional jobs plan | David Nicklaus

Ehlmann’s letter caused a stir when local news website McPherson made it public Dec. 10, but it doesn’t appear likely to disrupt the STL 2030 planning process. Ehlmann says he wants to be helpful and Jason Hall, chief executive of Greater St. Louis Inc., says he’ll meet with Ehlmann and discuss his concerns.

Bruce Katz, the plan’s lead author, views the letter as constructive. “It’s already changing how I’m thinking about the final deliverable here,” said Katz, who works for consulting firm New Localism Associates. “I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job reflecting the assets of the metropolitan area and how they’re distributed across the metropolitan area.”

Ehlmann’s criticisms were partly about process. The draft report’s cover features a map that doesn’t extend west of Interstate 270, and he complains that too few people outside St. Louis and St. Louis County were consulted as the plan was being written.

He’s not the only one with that complaint. Tim Brinker, Franklin County presiding commissioner, said he had “no input whatsoever” into the planning process. “It’s lacking content from the region, especially from collar counties such as Franklin that contain a large part of the workforce,” he said.

Brinker intends to submit detailed comments, and wants the effort to succeed. “We all both benefit and suffer from the reputation that St. Louis has,” he said.

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