Douglass Hill’s prospective developer, Larry Chapman, wrote that Shady Creek is a “storm water drainage ditch filled with concrete, asphalt … and trash.” Is it?
My husband and I walked along Shady Creek, which would be badly damaged by the Douglass Hill project, to see for ourselves. Our walk along the creek from Gore to the Baptist church was the day after a big rain and the water was a delightfully clear, babbling brook with minimal trash. There were leafy, mature trees all around.
There are problems — the steep hill leading down to the creek is eroded, and the area is overrun with honeysuckle. These problems are not solved by paving the creek and removing the trees. In fact, doing so would worsen flooding.
We think that the Douglass Hill project should be scaled down to a much smaller project. We want to build affordable apartment buildings. This is a great idea! But the buildings should only be three stories tall. The smaller number of new residents would decrease how many cars are added to the already busy streets in the area near the railroad tracks. If we limit the buildings to three stories, they will not tower over Kirkham Road and the neighborhood to the north.
The model of the Douglass Hill project shows the area, which is now a steep, multiple-story hill, as flat. But it also shows Gore and Rock Hill Road level with the land on which the apartment buildings sit. Is the developer going to completely redo the topography of Gore and Rock Hill Road in that area? If not, as those streets approach the train tracks, they will be much higher than the land next to them.
It would take many years for this project to be constructed, and it would not improve the lives of anybody but the developers. Building three-story apartment buildings while keeping the creek and woods intact would be better for Webster Groves’ citizens.
Jackie Schirn & Bob Drzymala