Google “Loop Trolley” and you will come up with this description:

“The Loop Trolley is a 2.2-mile, 10-station heritage streetcar line in St. Louis, Missouri. It connects the Delmar Loop district and the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, serving parts of University City and the St. Louis neighborhoods of DeBaliviere Place, Skinker/DeBaliviere, and West End.”

This sounds like a great asset for a historic city. Most of us don’t want to see this entry disappear from the web, and we certainly don’t want to see the actual trolley stopped in its tracks after less than a year of operation.

Nevertheless, the Loop Trolley is in serious trouble. It needs $700,000 from the St. Louis County Transit Authority to keep the wheels turning, according to Loop Trolley President John Meyer Jr.

Without the money, the trolley could cease operations in a few short weeks. The naysayers are declaring: “We told you so.” The wiseacres are offering some “witty” solutions. For example:

  • Add a club car and stock it with Gateway City delights for passengers and tourists. Stock it with St. Louis favorites: Bud Light, gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, Imo’s pizza and Ted Drewes frozen custard.
  • Add a chess car, sponsored by local philanthropist Rex Sinquefield. Hold mobile chess games that would be played between the University City Library and the Missouri History Museum, courtesy of the St. Louis Chess Mogul, sounds sort of like a plan.
  • Add an elementary school car and encourage every student field trip to the Missouri History Museum to start the learning expedition from the University City Library and onto the museum.

Obviously, there is more work to done at the proverbial drawing boards when it comes to witty and practical solutions for saving the Loop Trolley.

Save the St. Louis Region

A couple of weeks ago, former University City Mayor Shelley Welsch and Rally Gateway STL members announced the new organization’s plans for a regional approach to saving St. Louis and building an economic future.

Why be satisfied brainstorming on how to save the Loop Trolley? Let’s go for the Big Enchilada and save the entire sprawling metropolis from Scott Air Force Base on the east to the defunct Big Boy restaurant on I-70 in Wright City.

Didn’t we have something like this before? I remember covering the rollout of Better Together at the Cheshire Inn back in February. Some of the smart people doing that rollout — on a day that will live in infamy — are now in the slammer. What the heck happened?

Although Better Together may be as defunct now as a Wright City Big Boy, the Better Together critique is still relevant. Never mind the entire region —the city and the county are a patchwork of government and very fragmented.

The immediate St. Louis area is too unwieldy with its more than 85 cities, 57 police departments, 43 fire districts, 81 municipal courts and 52,000 pages of ordinances governing a total of 1.3 million citizens.

A merger of city and county would catapult St. Louis into a top tier city in America and put it far down the list in crime statistics for urban areas. This is not a realistic way to reduce crime, but a more unified effort to address crime does make sense.

We have a lot going in the St. Louis region now to try to make lives better here. The St. Louis County Charter Commission is at work with a mission to make county government more effective and efficient. A Board of Freeholders will soon assemble to explore ideas such as having the city enter into the county.

And now comes Rally Gateway STL with a mission to address the needs of the entire region, which has more than twice the population of a merged city and county.

It’s very easy to be a naysayer and a wiseacre about all the efforts to save St. Louis, but I come to praise Caesar, not to bury him. All of the citizens who have volunteered in these various efforts deserve our encouragement. We should all get on board that trolley.