The St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 last night to put on hold construction of the new St. Louis Blues practice rink that, it turned out a few days ago, is destroying public parkland without the required permission of the National Park Service:
“When council members called the developers of this project, they were told that the land disturbances that were taking place in Creve Coeur had nothing to do with the ice rink, it was for stormwater,” [council char Sam] Page said. “We know that now to be false … It’s important to tell the truth and follow the rules.”
The council’s decision to put the rink — sorry, it can’t be avoided — on ice came despite heavy turnout by youth hockey parents, who Blues execs had asked to come show support for their construction project, which would also include amateur rink space. More than 17,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the rinks not to be built in the park.
Meanwhile, the cost of the rinks appears to have gone up, from $59.3 million to $66 million, including $38.3 million in public bonds, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The bonds would be repaid via a complicated series of lease agreements with a nonprofit organization — I still haven’t been able to find all the details, though the Post-Dispatch does report that the county would be on the hook for as much as $450,000 a year in “backstop payments” if money fell short. Seems like lots of reasons to call a timeout on this one, really — now let’s see how everyone does going forward on that whole telling the truth and following the rules thing.