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St. Louis City, County, Team Up On Economic Development

Adam Allington
St. Louis Public Radio

After decades and decades of competing against each other for jobs, St. Louis City and County announced on Friday, a decision to partner up to attract new companies.

The proposal, called the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, would merge two agencies—The St. Louis Development Corporation in the city, and the St. Louis County Economic Development Council, under one roof.

Mayor Francis Slay says the move will create a sense of regionalism that has been lacking in economic development.

“Having everyone working together will be the big part of what we need to do,” says Slay. “To have a common vision and a strategic plan to bring jobs here and to stop competing with each other for jobs people and tax dollars and do a better job of competing together against the world.”

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says the merger would help the region speak with one voice and eliminate senseless competition.

“When you leave the St. Louis area, you don’t tell people you’re from St. Charles, you don’t say Town and Country, if you do they don’t know what you’re talking about,” says Dooley.  “What you need to say is 'St. Louis,' that is our brand as a region.  We need to build up on that brand.”

The new partnership must still be approved by the county council and the city’s board of aldermen.

The city’s St. Louis Development Corp. would still retain control of its real estate units, including the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) and the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority (LRA).

The St. Louis County Economic Council would still control some projects in unincorporated parts of the county. Both city and county organizations would keep control of its respective river port authorities.

The partnership will not pertain to municipalities such as Chesterfield, Hazelwood or Clayton — that have their own economic development groups.

Follow Adam Allington on Twitter: @aallington