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Judy Goodman Reflects on Nine Years as Clayton Alderman

She is leaving the board because of term limits.

After Tuesday's election, Judy Goodman won't serve as a Ward 1 representative on the Clayton Board of Aldermen because of term limits. But she takes pride in the board's accomplishments during her nine years of service.

In an email interview, she reflected on her role and the board's work during her tenure.

How long have you served on the Clayton Board of Aldermen? In what year were you first elected to office?

It’s been an honor to represent ’s Ward 1 and serve on the Board of Alderman since April 2003.

What do you consider to be some of your favorite personal accomplishments while serving on the board?

Over the course of nine years, a lot has happened, both in my ward and in the entire community. It’s hard to isolate personal accomplishments, because most of what occurs is the result of synergistic team efforts on the part of residents, business owners, institution leaders,  elected officials and our stellar staff.  

In Ward 1,  I was pleased to support the construction of the DeMun Pointe project and other numerous neighborhood enhancements within Hi-Pointe/De Mun to better reflect its distinguished history. At the same time, residents successfully listed the area on the National Historic Register as a Landmark. 

Throughout the ward, I worked hard to achieve a sense of balance between the growing needs of our successful, top-flight educational and religious institutions while providing protections for our stately, historic neighborhoods.

In the city, one of my first undertakings was to hear the concerns of retailers and restaurateurs. One priority about which everyone agreed was outdoor dining. We were behind the times, but literally overnight, staff drafted an ordinance and the Board passed it. During the period of development actvity, I was pleased to support a number of projects including the Crescent and creation of ’s , which became one of the largest construction projects in the country when the market slowed.

I am proud to be part of Clayton’s leadership as we  jumped out in front with bold legislation, from to the and ordinances.   During my three terms, I worked along with the Mayor, fellow Board members and staff to ensure that our community continues to provide the highest level of services in public safety, public works, and parks and recreation.

I pushed to revive the Housing Council to closely examine issues related to our diverse and aging housing stock. I chaired the Hanley House Council, and we worked hard to determine the future of the oldest home in Clayton. Most people don’t realize that is one of few Civil War era farmhouses in the nation that remain in an original location now surrounded by both corporate towers and upscale homes.

My term as president of the CRSWC was rewarding, as is an outstanding partnership with the and provides comprehensive wellness activities for all generations.

Regionally, as a member of the Executive Board of the , I gained a deep appreciation for the cooperative efforts of our many wonderfully unique communities and their leaders’ commitment to their residents and businesses.

I am chairing the . Formed in 1876 as the seat of Government, Clayton did not become a municipality until 1913.  That historic event was a game changer, setting the stage for building community identity and meteoric growth. 

The festivities kick off in November 2012 with the publication of a special Centennial Book. I think everyone should know our shared community story; it’s like knowing your family history and passing it on to the next generation.  So, stay tuned.

As a founder, I am committed to the . Community foundations are flourishing around the country, as public-private partnerships help to bring visions to fruition. We are so fortunate to have a philanthropic community that rises to the occasion when asked to support enhancements that keep Clayton in the forefront as a destination. This kind of investment benefits the residents and workforce and attracts visitors to the community.

to support two of our most unique assets, and Hanley House. Shaw Park will be the site of a number of exciting cultural and wellness dedications during 2013, and Hanley House is being preserved to offer “living history” experiences for multigenerational visitors. Other long-standing “wishes” in the city’s Parks Master Plan include the acquisition of green space when available.

What has it meant to you to serve on the board?

Serving on this Board has been a transformative experience in my life. It’s like going back to school, in that I had the opportunity to study many subjects, from urban planning, architectural design, and zoning regulations to economic sustainability and community development. 

Above all, I met and worked closely with a huge network of talented and capable people whom I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to know. I have tremendous respect for them and their work. 

For me, it’s all about relationships. And I have truly come to understand and believe in the benefit of “collective wisdom.”

Which projects, if any, do you wish you could see to completion if term limits weren't an issue?

I appreciate the value of term limits, but many communities do not have them.  One does accumulate an institutional knowledge base. I am always stimulated by challenges and enjoyed rolling up my sleeves to figure out solutions that made sense for the greater good. I learned to be mindful of quality of life issues not only for ourselves, but for neighbors and the region as a whole.  

If I were continuing on the Board, I would work to see visible outcomes of our Downtown Master Plan and add new branding, with helpful wayfinding, enticing promotional efforts and creative special district events.

How would you characterize the economic climate of Clayton? The cultural climate?

The city has healthy reserves, and we are vigilant about the budget. However, Clayton is not immune to current economic pressures, as trends have shown that expenses exceed revenues and the residential burden has surpassed business taxation. Tough times require keen fiscal management and possible difficult decisions. 

The will help to lay a 21st  century path, by enagaging the broader community to help prioritize the allocation of resources.

What are your immediate plans, and do you plan to seek elected office in the future?

I plan to focus on initiatives I started: the Centennial Celebration and the Clayton Century Foundation.  I hope to always find ways to contribute to Clayton’s success and sustainability. 

I am also interested in increased cooperative efforts between the “inner ring” suburbs and regional efforts to promote the many diverse stengths of St. Louis. 

Political office?  Perhaps.

If there's one thing you could change about Clayton, what would it be?

Of course, I would like to see our retail store fronts filled, resulting in greater vitality, increased sales tax and a more interesting walkable experience. By focusing on increased residential density in our downtown area, hopefully, there will be new demand for Mom and Pop shops and services.  

There are no other significant things to change in Clayton; the challenge is to maintain the current high levels of service with less revenue

What makes your ward special? Name an issue that you most often hear your neighbors discussing.

Ward 1 is an incredibly pedestrian friendly area. With its urban feel and multiple green spaces, including proximity to Forest Park, people are out enjoying the environment and business district all the time. Just take a stroll down Wydown.

The one issue I hear about most frequently is that delicate balance between our fine institutions and neighborhoods.  Ongoing outreach efforts  and inclusive gatherings have been effective in furthering positive communication and innovative problem-solving.

How will your ward look 10 years from now? How will Clayton as a whole look in 10 years?

I am confident that our leaders will work together to protect Ward 1 and keep it fabulous. I also believe Clayton will continue to prosper and thrive, with more residents, workers and visitors. Again, it has been a true privilege to serve as an Alderman for the past nine years.

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