an the St. Louis metro area come together in a “regionalism” way to promote growth, well-being of the people, governmental cooperation and above all, unity? It’s a tremendous challenge!

An organization called Rally Gateway STL is going to take a stab at bringing the region together with the objective of jumpstarting growth. The objective goes beyond just trying to bring St. Louis City into St. Louis County, which was the objective of Better Together, which failed before takeoff.

Uniting the region in a common cause is no small task. One roadblock is that many people in the counties in Missouri that make up the metro region are of a mindset that it’s great to live near St. Louis with all that the city has to offer but to be part of it in any other way — no thanks. The problem is conditions in St. Louis City, with crime one of the great fears.

ith Franklin County being next door to St. Louis County and St. Louis City, the nearness has had an impact on the increase of crime in Franklin County. We have our own criminals, too, but many of the crimes here have a relationship in being near St. Louis, especially the crimes involving drugs. Criminals have “discovered” Franklin County, and other counties in this region, and they make the mistake in believing they have less chance of being caught when committing a crime here.

t is true that how St. Louis goes so goes the region. But not all people in the region are of that mindset. To sell that concept is a major challenge. In fact, that mindset is shared by some people in St. Louis County and its numerous municipalities, or little kingdoms. The promoters of Better Together knew they didn’t have the votes in St. Louis County to merge it with St. Louis City and that’s why the tried to sell the idea of a statewide vote on the merger.

It’s a good idea to bring the Missouri people together in the St. Louis metro area to begin discussions about the future of the region, and to try to lay the groundwork for a regionalism solution to problems. If Rally Gateway STL can accomplish the framework for unity, that’s a positive beginning. Someone has to take the lead in regionalism. An educational program is needed to convince people that regionalism can be a good thing.

Bringing people together to talk can lead to understanding the problems, benefits and possible solutions to common challenges.

Rally Gateway STL plans to discuss and analyze what the regional organizations are working on, issues such as education, economic development, health care, transportation, crime and other issues. All recommendations and information gathered by Rally Gateway STL will be given to governmental and nongovernmental leaders throughout the region. Rally Gateway STL wants to be inclusive — that’s a goal. Its objective is grassroots, listening to people and acting in the interests of people. It hopes to unite leadership also.

The first meeting is set for Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Louis Public Library, 1301 Olive St., St. Louis. Franklin County should have representatives at the meeting.