by Aimee Levitt
It's possible this picture says it all, the full thousand words.
But maybe it requires a little more explanation.
This coaster, which you may have seen at drinking establishments around town, was meant to promote Botanical Grove, a new green housing development in the no-mans-land between Forest Park Southeast and Shaw, just south of I-44. It's the work of Urban Improvement Company (UIC), a property developer, and it comprises a block of 31 new and restored LEED-certified houses on McRee Avenue.
Since Chesterfield residents are not known for venturing into the city unless they absolutely have to, we're not sure how they got wind of these coasters. But the outrage has been sufficient that the blog nextSTL was forced to publish an earnest explanation of why it's funny.
Chesterfield is the quinessential St. Louis suburb. Sure, there are land use issues, the flood plain development and competing outlet centers being built, a lack of walkable neighborhoods and the distance to regional cultural attractions, but it's a nice safe place to live. If it weren't, this wouldn't be funny. If someone said, "friends don't let friends live in Velda City" you would think, "where?" If it was Wellston, well it's a bit downtrodden, nothing funny there.
As for UIC, the developer posted a non-apologetic apology on its website:
The campaign is really not about Chesterfield, but what is on the flipside of the coasters: sustainable, walkable, vibrant, urban, neighborhoods. It is about a vision of our beloved central City growing into a marquee diverse urban environment, with an emphasis on green planning and design....So, if we offended you we apologize, but we also believe that our region will never be as great as it can be without a strong urban core.
UIC is planning to build a Montessori school to anchor the new development. But what happens when those kids get old enough for high school? Maybe the money the parents are saving on energy can be re-purposed for private school tuition? Otherwise, it's Chesterfield for you!