• St. Louis Press Pass

    Oct 09, 2015
    Editorial: The Regional Chamber signs on to the Ferguson Commission report
    (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/2/15)
    Last week, in a development that not long ago would have been unthinkable, the St. Louis Regional Chamber endorsed the major conclusions and recommendations of the Ferguson Commission in “Forward Through Ferguson,” the report it released Sept. 14.  >> CLICK FOR MORE

    A few printed copies of the report produced by the Ferguson
    Commission were present at a press conference at Florissant Valley
    Community College on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Photo By David Carson,

    Ameren pledges $2.5M to aid in priorities of Ferguson Commission report
    (St. Louis American, 10/5/15)
    On Saturday, October 3, Ameren Corporation announced it will provide the St. Louis community with $2.5 million to support “signature priorities” outlined in the Ferguson Commission report, including programs for child well-being, education and job readiness. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Congress should reauthorize the Export-Import Bank
    (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/9/15)
    St. Louis was founded in 1764 as a trading center, and since then our region has relied on manufacturing and trade to fuel our economy. Thanks to its strong manufacturing base, our bi-state region — representing 15 counties in Missouri and Illinois — is an economic powerhouse helping drive both states’ economies. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Why St. Louis Is the Ultimate Baseball Town
    (The Wall Street Journal, 10/7/15)
    All-star shortstop Jhonny Peralta figured he would attract plenty of offers as a free agent in 2013, but when the St. Louis Cardinals expressed interest, Peralta told his agent to stop shopping him around—just close a deal with the Cards as soon as possible.  >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Cardinals playoff games to have big impact on economy
    (St. Louis Business Journal, 10/5/15)
    The St. Louis Cardinals kick off their 2015 playoff schedule Friday at Busch Stadium. That and other games in the first round (against either the Pittsburgh Pirates or Chicago Cubs) will generate $5.9 million each in economic benefits for the region, according to an analysis by Ruth Sergenian, the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s director of economic research. >> CLICK FOR MORE

    Matthew Hibbard
    Stadium Sponsor Unveiled in Move to Keep Rams in St. Louis
    (The New York Times, 10/6/15)
    National Car Rental has agreed to pay $158 million for the naming rights on a football stadium that is being planned by civic leaders in Missouri who are trying to keep the St. Louis Rams from moving to Los Angeles. >> CLICK FOR MORE

    A rendering of National Car Rental Field, a proposed stadium. E. Stanley
    Kroenke, the Rams’ owner, had announced plans to build a stadium in
    Inglewood, Calif. Credit HOK
    St. Louis City Submits Plan for NGA Site
    (KMOX, 10/9/15)
    St. Louis’ effort to keep the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has taken the next step forward. The city has presented the NGA with what’s called a “briefing book,” summarizing the city’s $1.6 billion proposal for the near-north side site.>> CLICK FOR MORE

    (KMOX/Brian Kelly)
    St. Louis hopes to use billion dollar construction projects to reshape city
    (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/7/15)
    The city wants to bring hard hats and construction cranes to its northern edge as a billion-dollar antidote to a seemingly endless social and economic malaise. In the coming months, officials hope to secure two projects totaling nearly $2.6 billion in construction costs: a federal spy agency headquarters and a new NFL stadium, just miles apart on the northern rim of downtown. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    St. Louis Works to Welcome Refugees
    (The Take Away, 10/9/15)
    In the 1990s, St. Louis, Missouri became a hub for Bosnians, as refugees escaped from war and genocide in their home country. There are now 50,000 Bosnians living in the region, the largest Bosnian community outside of the country itself. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    ‘St. Louis is now home:’ The stories of two Syrians who have settled here
    (St. Louis Public Radio, 10/8/15)
    The crisis in Syria is on everyone’s minds right now—whether for humanitarian concerns, worries over ISIS or Russian involvement. Here at home, several groups have made the call to accept more Syrian refugees to the St. Louis region. So far, 29 have arrived since the beginning of this year. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Missouri Tech Corp. has shelled out $24 million to startups: TechFlashes
    (St. Louis Business Journal, 10/9/15)
    To date, the Missouri Technology Corp. has invested more than $24 million to help over 70 companies in Missouri, with another $6 million going to incubators, accelerators and educational institutions. >> CLICK FOR MORE

    George Paz, chairman and CEO of Express
    Scripts Holding Co., will be one of the speakers
    at Accelerate St. Louis' inaugural #CEO2CEO event.
    Photo: Jeremy DeWeese

    Domain Tech Report Nine Network/PBS: Women Entrepreneurs
    (Techli, 10/5/15)
    In the second episode of the ‘Domain Tech Report,’ I spoke with women from Prosper Women Entrepreneurs. They have received national and international attention for their work promoting female entrepreneurship. We also hear from St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan, a ’Why I Became an Entrepreneur’ features Sarah Badahman from HIPAAtrek and we visit Manifest Digital. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    InvestMidwest now accepting applications for March 2016 Venture Capital Forum in St. Louis
    (RiverBender.com, 10/5/15)
    InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum today kicked off its application period for the Midwest's premier venture capital event. Entrepreneurial high-growth companies interested in presenting their business plans to an audience of the nation's top venture capitalists, corporate and private investors and investment bankers are invited to apply.  >> CLICK FOR MORE
    St. Louis’ Latest Tech ‘Gets’ — Pandora, Uber
    (KMOX, 10/5/15)
    Pandora, the music streaming service, is opening its Midwest regional sales office in the Cortex Innovation District, and we’ve learned that Uber, the ride-share service, isn’t far behind in opening a physical presence. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    St. Louis ranks as one of the least expensive cities for medical procedures
    (St. Louis Business Journal, 10/6/15)
    Actual costs for health care procedures are tough to nail down, but a new report from Castlight Health says costs in St. Louis are among the lowest in the nation. The report, titled the Castlight Health Costliest Cities Index, examined actual costs of eight popular health care procedures and found that St. Louis is one of the 10 least expensive for six of the eight procedures among 30 cities. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    St. Louis startup developing powerful epilepsy drug previously only used in hospitals
    (St. Louis Business Journal, 10/6/15)
    Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is one of the world’s most common and most serious neurological conditions, afflicting about 50 million people around the globe. It’s estimated that about 70 percent of the world’s epilepsy patients can control their seizures by using the two dozen or so anticonvulsant drugs that are on the market. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    See the new $50 million South Harbor project on the Mississippi
    (St. Louis Business Journal, 10/5/15)
    More than 300 regional officials and industry players gathered Monday on the new concrete surface of a general cargo dock, part of America’s Central Port new $50 million South Harbor project, to celebrate the nearing completion of the harbor. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Lewis & Clark Branch Library reopens Oct. 14
    (St. Louis American, 10/8/15)
    North St. Louis County public library users are about to experience libraries in a way they never have before, at least not in their neighborhoods. Gleaming new or brilliantly refurbished library branches are opening this fall and winter, starting with the Lewis & Clark Branch, located at 9909 Lewis-Clark Blvd. in Moline Acres, on Wednesday, October 14.  >> CLICK FOR MORE
    First of Six New or Renovated Libraries to Open in October
    (St. Louis Public Radio, 10/5/15)
    The first of six new and renovated St. Louis Country Library branches will open this October. On Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air” Library Director Kristen Sorth will join host Don Marsh to discuss the new Lewis and Clark branch, in Moline Acres, opening on Oct. 14. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Ameren audits saving companies big money
    (Illinois Business Journal, 10/15)
    Businesses throughout Southern Illinois are saving big money on their annual energy bills, some of them thousands of dollars, through a program that’s so simple to participate in, it’s a bit like the proverbial light bulb idea. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Central Corridor Residential Boom Passes 2,000 Units, Reaches Campus Housing
    (nextSTL, 10/7/15)
    The apartment boom in St. Louis City continues. Over the past two years, 963 apartments have been built in the city’s central corridor near Forest Park and the Central West End, with many smaller projects adding more units. By our count, 557 more apartments are currently under construction, and at least 600 more have been proposed and approved. In all, the projects total nearly 4,000 beds. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    More housing coming to Ikea's neighborhood
    (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/8/15)
    Now that St. Louis’ Ikea store is open and drawing the predicted swarm of shoppers, developers are busy with residential and commercial projects near the store at Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    WUSTL Trustees Green-Light $240M Danforth Campus Transformation
    (NextSTL, 10/3/15)
    The Washington University Board of Trustees have approved a $240M transformation of the Danforth Campus east end. The vision mirrors that posted on this site in October of last year (Washington University Set for Major Transformation of Danforth Campus). Groundbreaking is set for spring 2017, with completion planned for spring 2019.. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Improvements proposed for cultural neighbors — Washington U and Forest
    (St. Louis Public Radio, 10/4/15)
    Two of the most important civic, cultural, educational and recreational institutions in the region — Washington University and Forest Park — announced building and renovation plans over the weekend, plans that include transformative changes to come as well as some work already completed.  >> CLICK FOR MORE
    SLU, Wash U among best colleges for entrepreneurship: TechFlashes
    (St. Louis Business Journal, 10/2/15)
    Saint Louis University and Washington University are again on a list of best colleges for undergraduate entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneur.com list puts Washington University at No. 16 and SLU at No. 23. World Wide Technology has been named one of the best workplaces for women. Of the company’s 700-plus employees, 30 percent are women and 30 percent of the company’s managerial positions are filled by women.  >> CLICK FOR MORE
    East St. Louis to get $3.5m for work on Front Street, others
    (Illinois Business Journal, 10/15)
    U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, today announced a grant for $3,587,052 has been issued to reconstruct a stretch of Front Street and related work in East St. Louis. The grant comes via the Economic Development Administration under the U.S. Department of Commerce. >> CLICK FOR MORE
    Stay Tuned: Central Corridor Development
    (Nine Network of Public Media, 10/9/15)
    Driving west from downtown St. Louis through the center of the city gives a much different impression of the city than if you venture to the north. Explains Washington University professor Hank Webber, “The central corridor matters to everyone. It’s a huge source of jobs… . It’s true we’ve made more progress on redevelopment in the central corridor compared to north in particular, but I don’t think you can say that the improvements in the central corridor don’t have a benefit that goes to the whole city and beyond the city.” Adds Preservation Research Office Director Michael Allen, “The central corridor is blessed with institutional and transportation infrastructure. If there is an equity gap it isn’t answered by putting IKEA in North St. Louis, it’s by extending light rail along the North/South line and creating those anchor assets that really generate other economic activity.”

    In tonight’s Stay Tuned, broadcast on Nine PBS at 7:00 p.m., Webber and Allen, as well as Otis Williams from the St. Louis Development Corporation and Dennis Lower from Cortex, discuss why there is such a boom in construction and development in the central corridor, and how to translate those wins to the entire city. The entire discussion can be viewed at  
  • Our Response to Forward Through Ferguson Calls to Action

    Oct 07, 2015

    Our Response to Forward Through Ferguson Calls to Action

    The Call

    On September 14, the Ferguson Commission released its final report, titled Forward Through Ferguson, which identifies the signature priorities we must consider as a community around justice, youth, opportunity and racial equity.   

    The full report can be found at http://forwardthroughferguson.org

    In Forward Through Ferguson, the Commission identified over 40 “Signature Calls to Action” -- changes and best practices to put us on a stronger path. The Chamber fully participated in the inclusive democracy that resulted in these Calls to Action.  We contributed to the discussion, sometimes in support of ideas, other times in opposition, and always with respect for the people who expressed the ideas.  The Ferguson Commission created a robust, transparent, inclusive and respectful process.  The way they went about their work is as much a best practice as any of their recommendations.

    The Challenge 

    The promise of Forward Through Ferguson is only realized by accepting the shared reality the report clearly communicates. Our region must accept its shared accountability for positive change. Accountability is the word. 

    Our Response

    We accept our accountability for embracing Forward Through Ferguson’s Calls to Action and bringing about this new reality for St. Louis with its priorities of: 

    • Racial Equity
    • Justice for All
    • Youth at the Center
    • Opportunity to Thrive 

    Our Accountability

    Many of the Ferguson Commission report’s Calls to Action, especially those around education and employment, echo strategic priorities in the Regional Chamber’s own One Plan, and its vision for regional prosperity. These include:

    • Enhancing Collaboration Between Educational Institutions and Employers
    • Implementing Work-Based Learning Opportunities
    • Creating an Innovative Education Hub
    • Expanding Internship and Apprenticeship Opportunities
    • Creating a Rating System (for diversity)
    • Create Individual and Family Development Accounts

    We support several policy changes called for in the report.  Many of these policies are focused on state government, though not exclusively.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon convened the Ferguson Commission.  Therefore, the Commission’s focus was understandably Missouri.  Our focus is St. Louis – the entire bi-state, metropolitan region.  We embrace the same priorities for every one of us – the 2.8 million people who call the St. Louis metropolitan region home. 

    Illinois, which is home to nearly 800,000 of us, has already adopted some of these policies.  Whether the changes should occur at the state or local level, the St. Louis region must take accountability for these policies and find ways to make them reality.  It can be done.

    • Implement a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (Already adopted by Illinois)
    • Updating Use of Force Statute (Already adopted by Illinois)
    • Expanding Medicaid Eligibility (Already adopted by Illinois)
    • State-Supported Funding Plan for Public Transit
    • Identifying Priority Transportation Projects for the St. Louis Region
    • Supporting Early Childhood Education
    • Revising School Accreditation System

    There is a shared accountability for additional Calls to Action. We need to fully understand what these recommendations entail before we can appreciate exactly what our responsibility is.  We have invited the other organizations identified by the Commission to come together and discuss the ideas and concepts, including:

    • Launching an Employer Grading System for Economic Mobility
    • Creating a 25-year Managed Fund (for racial equity infrastructure)
    • Encouraging Paid Time Off for Volunteering
    • Creating the Spirit of Missouri Fund

    Moving Forward

    We want the St. Louis region to be the best.  We measure that by where we rank among the top 20 metropolitan areas of our nation.  Our intent is for St. Louis to be a Top 10 Metro, one of the top ten most educated communities, with a growing, prosperous population, with successful employers creating jobs while they grow in the global economy. 

    We will not be the best if we do not close the economic opportunity gaps in our community.  To underscore this fact and focus our accountability, we have added “economic mobility,” to the other seven macroeconomic performance indicators we use to define regional prosperity.  We seek prosperity for people in every neighborhood throughout our entire region. 

    The Forward Through Ferguson report was released digitally to increase its accessibility, and as co-chair Starsky Wilson said, “you can’t forget a digital report on a shelf.”  The report, according to co-chair Rich McClure, is designed to be a milestone, not an end.

    We are responding.  We are acting.  We are communicating.  We are “buckled in” and “buckled down” for the generational work ahead.  Together with the vast majority of good-hearted St. Louisans, who now realize our community has much work to do, we begin with unflinching resolve and stamina to see the positive change begun become the positive reality for all of us.