The Soulard Community Improvement District (CID) was established in 2019 to further elevate Soulard as a thriving community for people to live, work, and play. It’s funded by a one percent retail sales tax of businesses within the district. The CID Board of Directors, appointed by the Mayor, is empowered to utilize those funds for a wide range of proactive short-term and long-term projects within the CID boundaries.
In the summer of 2021, the CID conducted an online survey to get community feedback to help the CID Board of Directors identify, prioritize and fund future projects. Potential survey respondents were targeted via direct mail, Facebook, Nextdoor, the SRG Blaster e-newsletter, The Soulard Renaissance newspaper and word of mouth. As a result, 565 Soulard residents, business owners, property owners and neighborhood guests participated. The majority of participants were Soulard residents (75 percent). Of those self-identified as residents, 68 percent resided within the CID boundary, 51 percent were homeowners and 50 percent had lived in Soulard for four or more years.
Additionally, 73 business owners (13 percent of all respondents) participated in the survey, including rental property owners as well as proprietors of neighborhood bars, restaurants, retail businesses and professional services.
Respondents were asked to assign an “importance value” to each of ten project categories, including marketing; festivals and events; historical significance; beautification; streetscape; infrastructure; street and alley cleanup; parking solutions; traffic calming; and crime prevention.
In addition to crime prevention (which is spearheaded and funded by the Soulard Special Business District, SSBD), respondents indicated street and alley cleanup, infrastructure, streetscape and beautification as highly important – followed by historical significance, events and traffic calming.
As a step toward cleaning up Soulard streets and alleyways, the CID installed 70+ new trash cans in 2021. The cans are located on street corners throughout the District boundaries, from Broadway to 13th and Sidney to Marion. The CID also contracted with a trash management porter service to empty the cans on a weekly basis, ensuring plenty of capacity for residents and visitors alike to help keep Soulard clean. Residents are now seeing the installation of pet waste bag dispensers throughout the District as well, providing a reminder and resource to the neighborhood’s many animal lovers to pick up after their pet.
To assist with neighborhood safety and traffic calming, the CID, SSBD and Alderman Jack Coatar are also in the process of conducting a traffic calming study, whose findings will result in intersection and street improvements designed to slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety.
As part of the survey, respondents were given the opportunity to provide open-ended feedback and suggestions. Below are a few direct questions / comments (and responses from the CID Board).
Question: “Why isn’t all of Soulard included in the CID?”
Including the entire neighborhood from the CID’s inception would probably have resulted in the CID never being passed. Here’s why: In order for the CID to be approved by the Board of Alderman, it required: 1) signed/notarized petitions from at least 50% of property owners within the proposed boundaries; 2) signed/notarized petitions from at least 50% of the assessed value of properties within the proposed boundaries; and 3) the boundaries be drawn in a contiguous manner. Since the CID relies on retail businesses to generate its tax revenue funding, the current boundaries were designed in such a way as to: 1) maximize the number of retail businesses (thereby maximizing its tax revenue and positive impact to the neighborhood); and 2) minimize the number of parcel properties (thereby requiring the fewest number of signatures). Despite these obstacles, over 60% of property owners (329) submitted signed/notarized petitions in support of the CID.
The Soulard CID is the largest CID in St. Louis (outside of the 180-block Downtown CID) and includes more residential properties than any other CID in the City, making it the most residential-focused CID in the City of St. Louis. The current boundaries represented the most efficient way to launch the Soulard CID and quickest way for the neighborhood to benefit.
In response to a request from the Soulard Restoration Group, the CID’s Board of Directors agreed that the Soulard CID’s boundaries would be reviewed in the future, once revenue streams have been established and CID projects have begun to have an impact in the neighborhood. In the meantime, all of Soulard will continue to benefit (either directly or indirectly) from the activities and investments made by the CID. All Soulard property owners will benefit from improved property values and all of Soulard will benefit from the general improvements that will be made to the neighborhood.
Question: “A little investment in the Market area could go a long way and be a large benefit to the entire Soulard community.”
Soulard Market is not included in the Soulard CID because it is a City-owned property, receives operating and maintenance funding from the City and is eligible to create its own, individual CID, if desired.
Question: “I would like to better understand the relationship of the CID, SSBD, SRG, and SBA. The goals and objectives for each organization seem fuzzy and overlapping”
- The CID is funded by a 1% retail sales tax and its funds can be used for a variety of neighborhood improvement projects within its District boundaries (as noted above). Learn more at www.soulardcid.org.
- The SSBD is funded by property tax revenue and its funds can only be used for crime prevention and safety initiatives within its District boundaries (which are slightly different than the CID boundaries). Learn more at www.soulard-sbd.org.
- SBA is the Soulard Business Association and supports local businesses. Learn more at www.historicsoulard.com.
- SRG is the Soulard Restoration Group, which is Soulard’s volunteer-fueled neighborhood association. Learn more at www.soulard.org.
Question: “I would love to hear when these meetings take place and how residents can be involved.”
Answer: CID board meetings are held the first Monday of each month, 5:00pm at Soulard Station (1911 S. 12th Street). The public is welcome to observe and provide public comment. The seven person CID Board, appointed by the mayor, is made up of residents (Terry Hoffman, Phyllis Young, Mary Hart Burton), business owners (Luke Reynolds, Steve Edele) and designees from the Soulard Business Association (Laura Leister) and the Soulard Restoration Group (John Durnell).