"The downtown-revitalization group Metropolis is treading where few other groups will go," Channel 11's spunky co-anchor Kathryn Jamboretz spieled during KPLR's nine o'clock newscast on May 8. "Tonight they took their weekly get-together to the most economically devastated area in our community. The group decided to go deep into North St. Louis near Fairgrounds Park for their weekly pub crawl. The hope is to prove that there's no area of the city that can't be revitalized."
Of course, when you scrape off the TV hyperbole, Metropolis' motive for stopping in for a tipple at Red Bone's Den, the Gateway Lounge and the Copa Cabana Lounge was a little subtler than that. The bar hops are intended to turn young urbanites on to the city's "hidden jewels," says Christina Reid, the group's president. Still, Reid adds, "If it's a big deal that this walk happens, I think it speaks to both the racial divide and openness of people here." According to Reid, Metropolis hadn't sponsored a walk north of Delmar -- "the invisible line," as she calls it -- since 2001.
Starsky Wilson, a Dallas native who heads up the St. Louis Urban League's Young Professionals Chapter, wasn't along for the pub crawl but says his mostly African-American group is in negotiations with the predominantly pale-skinned Metropolis to collaborate on future ventures.
In the meantime, how about an Urban League pub crawl through the hoosier haunts of South St. Louis for a little revitalization tit-for-tat?
Wilson chuckles at the notion, then says in all seriousness, "Going into [the North Side] and spending money through a social effort is great, but I clearly don't see it as revitalization. Yeah, you gotta spend money in the neighborhood -- but it's got to be more than drinks." -- Mike Seely
The baseball season ended this past weekend for Jim Brady's thirteenth-ranked University of Missouri-St. Louis Rivermen. Brady, whose travails at UMSL were the subject of D.J. Wilson's May 14 cover story, "Foul Ball," watched his top-seeded squad drop its first (and only) two games in the double-elimination Division II North Central Regional Tournament.
Though regional tournaments are typically hosted by the top-seeded team, this competition was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of number-two seed -- and eventual champion -- Grand Valley State University. UMSL hosted the Great Lakes Valley Conference tourney two weekends ago, but the field was in such poor condition that a coaches' committee opted for Grand Rapids for the regionals.
Gary Vaught, coach of UMSL rival the University of Indianapolis, calls the facility on the Normandy campus the "worst field by far" of any of the eleven teams in the GLVC. In addition, Vaught complains, the GLVC tournament was poorly organized.
"If they're not going to pay 350 bucks to have a phone line so we can have our games on radio, why would you think they'd pay the money to fix the field up?" an irked Vaught posits.
Brady's squad finished the year with a record of 39-15 -- the most wins of any baseball team in school history. Amid the divots of their home turf, the Rivermen's record was an imposing 17-2. -- D.J. Wilson