From tiny acorns mighty oak trees grow. Who was it that said that? It doesn’t matter; we all know that trees are a metaphor for life.
The reason we bought our house in the center of town, which didn’t make sense after living in the country, was because of the trees in the front yard and back. When we first saw this yard it was shaded to a fare-thee-well and Ches Somers’ roses were overgrown in snug corners, reaching over fences, so the whole place looked like a Southern garden, a place where you would want to be.
And that, my friends, is the essence of hometown pride. You need to like the place.
You ask yourself, who should care if property owners on East Osage vote to approve a community improvement district (CID) to help pay for pretty street improvements along their business corridor?
This has been on my mind these past couple of weeks as the small saplings on West Osage have started to leaf out and blossom. Like beautiful children, they give the promise of what we can expect to see in the coming years.
When the promised sod replaces the stretch of raggedy grass between the sidewalk and street the area will look even more appealing.
When whoever is in charge of how the vintage streetlights learns how to turn them all off in the daytime it will allow our eyes to settle on the new sidewalks and tiny trees.
One merchant worried that some young trees were planted directly in front of traffic signs, or vice versa, the signs were placed next to the trees. As the saplings grow and branch out, the signs will need to be relocated so drivers can see them.
This can all be worked out with a little housekeeping. Even a small community can stand up to a contractor who has promised to come back and finish the job and mighty MoDOT, whose permission is needed to relocate some signs — when it is in the interest of good community planning.
I have it on the very best authority that smooth sidewalks, good lighting and greenery are the basis of pedestrian friendly streets in any community. It makes all the difference in whether you want to be there or not.
So . . . if property owners on East Osage do approve the formation of a CID for their neighborhood things will get even better in our town.
The city will pursue improvement or transportation grants to replicate the West Osage Street improvements all the way to St. Louis County and the results would change the way the city looks.
The entrances to Pacific from Interstate 44, both ends of Osage and South First Street will all be dressed up with similar if not entirely identical vintage streetlights and pedestrian friendly sidewalks, creating some continuity to the impression the city makes.
Osage Street, from Gray Summit to St. Louis County, has the potential to be one of the most stable commercial corridors in the city. There are developable parcels all along the thoroughfare. Someday, maybe sooner than we imagine, the Lazy Larry property will be developed.
The developers of the Route 66 Business Park on East Osage were ahead of the game when they cleared an appealing parcel in front of the bluff and old mine openings that have taken on the identity of caves. With an improved streetscape lighting the way to that end of town, the business park will be even more inviting.
So here we are enjoying the first spring after the West Osage improvements were installed — all except the promised sod — so we’re getting the first look at our new look.
It’s a sign of things to come.
Contact Pauline Masson at 314-805-9800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.