VIDEO: Mayor Describes Economic Survival, Big Bend Goals

Mayor James Beck of Richmond Heights told the city's chamber of commerce that sales-tax revenues have risen and that numerous business developments are planned.

While the city of has had to make adjustments amid a down economy, it has maintained all of its services and personnel, Mayor James Beck told an audience Wednesday at the Masonry Institute of St. Louis.

Now, the city plans to continue investing in several major corridors—specifically Hanley Road, Dale Avenue and Big Bend Boulevard—in an effort to reinvigorate them and invite businesses to set up shop.

"Compared to a lot of things that are going on in this country right now, we are actually doing pretty dang well," Beck said during his State of the City remarks to the Richmond Heights Chamber of Commerce. The city relies heavily on sales tax revenue, which rose during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

At the same time, the city is concerned about the amount of would-be . Beck said city officials will meet next week with the St. Louis County Municipal League and representatives of other cities in an effort to work on a compromise.

Officials are in the early stages of considering ways to promote an increase in the number of businesses on Big Bend, Beck said. It's challenging because business space along Big Bend lies close to residential neighborhoods, making it difficult for a large commercial development to occur.

Beck said that when he was a kid, more than half of the properties along Big Bend in Richmond Heights were residences. Now, more commercial development is needed there.

"We believe we are business-friendly," Beck said.

The city also will make , Beck said. The goal is to renovate the entire length of the street, though the project will happen in phases. The city will partner with Richmond Heights-based construction company on the project.

Several developments are planned in the city over the coming months, Beck said, including the arrival at the ; the opening of , which ; the second phase of work at The Boulevard-Saint Louis retail area; and the Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel, which would be located near and University Club Tower.

As for , Beck said several people have expressed interest in redeveloping the area. In particular, he said "four very strong groups" have expressed interest in land to the west of The Heights community center. The property is bordered by Hanley and Dale. Beck said he anticipates a plan to be underway for that site sometime in the next two months.

New Richmond Heights restaurant Blue Sky Tower Grill catered Wednesday's meeting.

The Chamber next meets Sept. 14, when members will likely take a VIP tour of renovations at , Chamber President Pat Croghan said.


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