Reducing Crime To Make Our Ward Safer
Crime is one of the greatest threats to our ward and the entire city. Judith plans to make crime reduction a top priority in Ward 18. Our St. Louis Police Chief says his strategy is concentrating resources in violent areas of the city. This strategy has led to a nearly six percent drop in crime in areas with concentrated police presence. However, Ward 18 is not part of this strategy even though our neighborhoods show overall significant increases in crime, 35 percent in Vandeventer/Gaslight and 13 percent in Lewis Place. Although crime dropped in the Central West End, the Gaslight Square/Maryland neighborhoods of the 18th Ward experience significant increases. With the exception of property crimes in Fountain Park, other neighborhoods in the 18th Wards show a small crime decrease. Residents have voiced a need for more police presence. Our entire ward needs crime reduction. The 18th Ward is in the 5th Police District. The Commander of the District has considerable authority to devise a patrol plan for the District to apportion resources.
Judith will work to insure a greater police presence in the ward.
Judith will continue her personal with the current Commander to insure continuing communication and priority over the design and execution of a policing plan for the 18th Ward.
Judith has prioritized the formation of the North Central Special Business District which will become a slightly higher property tax area. The purpose is to enhance safety and security, infrastructure, beautification, and marketing services on both sides of Delmar Boulevard. Specifically, the boundaries of the initiative are Taylor Avenue on the west, Vandeventer on the east, Finney Avenue on the north and Lindell Boulevard on the south.
Judith wants to use public funds from the police department to put cameras in 3-4 critical spots in the Ward.
Judith has prioritized the proposed Hodiamont Greenway to include safety measures in the design, such as patrols and security cameras in and around the area.
Judith has prioritized the removal of neighborhood blight. Property improvements through renovation and demolition when needed will position the ward to reduce opportunities where criminal activity is likely to take place.
Citizens approved Proposition N, a $6M bond issue to create funding to help make vacant buildings owned by LRA more saleable. Currently, LRA does not have a plan in place to use this money. Citizens should know that any plan will be equitable for neighborhoods with vacant buildings. The 18th Ward is such a neighborhood and deserves its fair share.
Judith believes that as a City, we must use every public safety tax dollar effectively, with services to positively redirect minor criminal behavior, because we cannot incarcerate our way to becoming a safer community.
Judith believes that proper incentives should be in place to attract and retain police officers. An example would be paying down student loan debt. Communities across the country are paying educational bills in exchange for taking up residency and working in certain fields. Reducing student debt may be a good way of recruiting and keeping locals in the city rather than talented people moving away.
Judith also believes that the Civilian Oversight Board is important to ensuring community confidence by enabling transparency and accountability of the St. Louis Police Department.
Reducing A Property Tax Burden of Elderly Homeowners
While many communities provide property tax exemptions for elderly homeowners, the City of St. Louis does not. Property taxes are a burden for seniors residing in the City of St. Louis neighborhoods. Many seniors have said they want to live in their homes as long as they can. Cities in Illinois and New Jersey are two of twelve (12) states that authorize some form of property tax freeze for elderly homeowners. Five (5) others extend the freeze to taxpayers with disabilities regardless of age. Missouri has the Circuit Breaker Program that does not go far enough.
Judith wants seniors to live in their homes as long as they can without a burden of additional taxes as the ward improves.
Missouri can freeze property assessment of seniors. Freezing assessments limits the extent to which homeowners’ annual taxes can increase, regardless of property value increases. Strategies like these allow senior homeowners to live in their neighborhoods as long as they can, even when substantial neighborhood improvements take place. Introducing these solutions will ease the effects of gentrification.
Judith has prioritized the reduction of property tax burdens of senior homeowners by introducing legislation to freeze assessments at the city level and lobbying for legislation at the Missouri state level.
Judith will work with our State Senator to gain support to freeze taxes for elderly homeowners.
Increasing Improvements to Make Our Ward More Sustainable and Attractive
Judith will work with City Development Officials to create a strategic improvement plan with resident input. This plan will be reviewed at neighborhood meetings to gauge progress. This plan will be funded from the capital allocation for the 18th Ward.
Judith will continue to advocate and add her voice to the of residents to improve the Hodiamont Tracks from a vacant corridor into an attractive asset for the 18th Ward.
Judith supports the formation of the North Central Business District as a tool to spur economic development and job opportunities for the 18th Ward.
Judith will support resident-driven initiatives to decrease the number of vacancies in the 18th Ward.
Judith supports resources for business improvements that meet the needs of the 18th Ward.
Judith will ensure the continuation of home repair funds.
Judith supports pending legislation to allow private lawsuits against slum landlords.
Judith will use Prop N resources to reduce the number of LRA vacancies.
Judith will not allow community building plans to displace residents.
Judith wants more street, sidewalk, tree planting, and light enhancements for the 18th Ward.
Enhancing Support Services for Children/Youth
- Provide Ward 18 children with opportunities to flourish and succeed
- More financial support for after-school programs, parks, and recreation facilities.
- Support for private-public efforts to create additional facilities and provide more youth programming and jobs.
Uniting Neighborhoods In the 18th Ward
Judith convinced the Great Rivers Greenway officials to study the Hodiamont Track for a possible greenway to tie directly to the Chouteau Greenway already in the design phase. This will transform a barren stretch of land into green space for walking, biking, and other outdoor pursuits. She is passionate about the proposed space, and she will ensure extra effort here as a top priority capital project for the ward. The 3.5-mile space was once a private right of way for a bus route that has since become a barren stretch of land.
Judith prioritized a vision to create a greenway that connects the Grand Center Arts District to six Ward 18 neighborhoods north of Delmar: Vandeventer, Lewis Place, Fountain Park, Academy, Visitation Park, and the West End.
Judith promotes equitable public service and resources to break the “Delmar Divide.”
Judith will arrange quarterly town hall meetings in the Ward.