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Support Esley Hamilton, Preservation Historian, St. Louis County, Missouri

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Esley Hamilton is about as great a friend to Route 66 as anyone. He is the Preservation Historian for St. Louis County, and his job is to earmark and to advocate for places of historical significance in St.Louis County. He has always been supportive of Route 66 preservation efforts in St. Louis City and County; some efforts, like getting the Lyceum in Manchester on the National Register and ensuring its preservation (on the original alignment of Route 66) have been successful; some, such as saving the Coral Courts were less so (but not without a fight) and some, such as saving the bridge across the Meramec River at Times Beach, are works in progress. Suffice it to say, however, that much of the "past" of St. Louis County (and City) has been preserved for future generations because of his efforts.


St. Louis County is undergoing severe budget cuts, and unfortunately Esley's job, at least on a full time basis, as well as several St. Louis County Parks, are not set to be spared. Here is an article about the situation, published in Wednesday's Post Dispatch:




It also gives you an idea of his import to preservation efforts in St. Louis.


Simply put, if you could take pen to pad and write a letter to the St. Louis County Council supporting Esley Hamilton and requesting/requiring that he be allowed to keep his job on a full time basis, it would be greatly appreciated.


Here are the people who need to understand:


Executive: Honorable Charlie A Dooley

County Executive

41 S. Central Ave.

Clayton, MO 63105



District 1: Hazel Erby

8340 Fullerton Ave.

University City, MO 63132



District 2: Kathleen Burkett

2023 Huntington Ave.

Overland, MO 63114



District 3: Collen Wasinger

860 Durbin Court

Town and Country, MO 63131



District 4: Mike O'Mara

19 Lowery Estates Court

Florissant, MO 63031



District 5: Pat Dolan

1259 Boland Place

Richmond Heights, MO 63117



District 6: Steve Stenger

9322 Rambler Drive

St. Louis, MO 63123



District 7: Greg Quinn

331 Norwich Court

Ballwin, MO 63011



Here are a few "talking points" (anybody with other ideas chime in):


“The past is not the property of historians; it is a public possession. It belongs to anyone who is aware of it, and it grows by being shared. It sustains the whole society, which always needs the identity that only the past can give.” William Murtaugh



Esley Hamilton has worked tirelessly to document the “architectural treasures” and places of historic St. Louis for present and future generations to share and identify with, and his position as the Preservation Historian for St. Louis County should be sustained for so many reasons:


---he has been the face of preservation in St. Louis, as the St. Louis County Parks and Recreations preservation historian, for over 30 years


---during that time, he has worked tirelessly to catalog and survey buildings through out St. Louis County, and has worked to catalog every church built in St. Louis County between 1940 and 1970.


---he has written numerous nominations to the National Historic Register, including the Lyceum Building and other buildings in Manchester, MO (on the original alignment of Route 66)


---he has led or been active in innumerable preservation efforts, including efforts along Route 66 to save the Coral Court Motel and to save the Meramec River Bridge at Times Beach


---he convinced the Missouri Department of Transportation to re route their proposed renovation of US 40/I-64 to save three houses that were located in one of the first African American Housing developments in the country.


---he has had ample opportunity to retire, and has been eligible for most of this year, but he hasn’t because, as stated in the Post Dispatch, when he asked who would replace him he was told “No One.”


---quoting the Post Dispatch: “You have probably driving on the highway he helped reroute, or walked through a park he helped renovate, or passed a historic building his efforts spared.”


---another person commented on the Post Dispatch Blog: “Esley Hamilton offers a vast and irreplaceable knowledge of St. Louis County and its history, and he has helped countless people in the area for a very modest salary. To those that think his position is useless and only fit for volunteers, may I remind you of the numerous places around the globe that attract visitors precisely because of their rich history. This small investment in our past can be quite valuable for our future.”




In addition, if you are able, there will be a County Council Meeting on the 2012 St. Louis County Budget held at the Council Chambers in the St. Louis County Government Center, 41 S. Central, 1st floor in Clayton, MO, on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. Attendees will be allowed to voice their support for Esley.






I asked Esley for his imput and he sent me the below: not about him, but addresses his concerns about several St. Louis County Parks that may be lost as a result of budget cuts:




Here are some ways you can help and an estimated timeline:



1. Attend St. Louis County Council meetings as an audience member or speaker.


December 6th is the most critical date for you to attend: County Council Chambers, 1st Floor, 41 S. Central Ave. in Clayton, MO 63105.



2. Contact St.Louis County elected officials by phone, email, and letter or to schedule a meeting and make your voice heard. There are 7 Council Members and 1 County Executive, Charlie Dooley.



3. Sign the citizen driven petition Save St. Louis County Parks: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-st-louis-county-parks.html



4. Share this information with friends, family, neighbors, and members of organizations you belong to and ask them to get involved.



Here are a few recommendations that could serve to resolve the critical funding issue for St. Louis County Parks:



Ask the St. Louis County Council to immediately enact an ordinance

that would restrict the sale or disposal of public park land without a

majority vote of the people. Many municipalities, like Kirkwood, already

have a similar ordinance so should St.Louis County. Once sold, our park land

may be impossible to get back.


As proposed, the bulk of the budget cuts are disproportionally and unfairly taken from the parks department while some departments get increases. Ask the St. Louis County Council to spread the cuts over other departments and shrink county government as a whole.


Ask the St. Louis County Council to put a dedicated park sales tax on the ballot for voters in the next possible election. This process may take 12-24 months to generate funding but could solve a long term problem.


Ask the St. Louis County Council to vote NOW to increase an existing dedicated park maintenance real estate tax from the current level of $.05 to $.07. This does not require a vote of the people. It could provide $4M a year but might take a minimum of 12 months to generate funding.


Concerned citizens have already stated:


"A 2008 study shows that 15 millions people used the St. Louis County park system including historic sites. What other business in the County can claim those kinds of numbers?"


"Parks are economic engines, pathways to building healthy communities; they enhance property values and are the field of dreams for families and children."


"I have read the proposal to close and sell off county parks, noting the budget figures for the various departments, and how the parks budget alone is singled out for evisceration to the point of literally treating precious and irreplaceable park land as a bank of capital to fund other ongoing operations. Now we have a government in the County prepared to contemplate selling off parks to fund its own growth and operation."


* Please use this information as a guideline to construct your own comments to the St. Louis County Council and the County Executive. Please do not forward this correspondence to them. Many voices will be needed to reverse this course. You are encouraged to forward this email to your friends & colleagues.






Whatever assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated! SGF, Kip Welborn, Friends of the Mother Road, Inc, Route 66 Association of Missouri, resident of St. Louis, MO.

Edited by rudkipon66

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