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Airport group expands survey seeking input on possible Lambert privatization

After many delays, the city's contract with consultants to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport may be official soon.
David Kovaluk
St. Louis Public Radio
A group exploring airport privatization is conducting door-to-door survey of St. Louis residents to inform and solicit input on the process.

A group working with FLY 314, the non-profit overseeing the possible lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, plans to knock on 100,000 doors to survey city residents about the airport.

The goal is to get 20,000 residents, representing all of the city’s wards, to answer a 23-question survey. The questions have not been made public, but there is an interactive map indicating where canvassers have been and how many doors they have knocked on in each ward.

LeJuan Strickland, whose company Metropolitan Strategies and Solutions is conducting the survey, said it’s designed to inform the public and seek input about airport privatization.

“People in the field are not leading the questions in any way,” he said. “They are objective. Their job is not to sway opinion.”

A grassroots group called STL Not For Sale has criticized the survey as being biased. Alderwoman Megan Green, D-15th Ward, said last month that the door-to-door effort appeared to be a campaign to promote airport privatization.

FLY 314 survey of residents about airport privatization
Credit Melody Walker |St. Louis Public Radio
The door hanger that is left on front doors when no one answers the knock from FLY 314 survey team.

Strickland said they are open to input and have actually tweaked some of the questions on the survey.

So far, he said, his 40-member team of paid workers has knocked on more than 25,000 doors and talked to almost 2,500 residents. Census and election records were used to establish the canvassing areas in each ward.

Residents take the survey, which takes about 15 minutes, on a mobile device or paper if they are not familiar with cell phone use.

“We’re just trying to make sure it’s objective,” he said. “It’s a little long, but there is good information that’s in it. It’s going to help us move forward.”

The survey is part of the current communications outreach phase of the airport privatization exploration. Strickland said after the city survey is complete, a telephone poll of residents throughout the region will be conducted, if approved by the Airport Working Group.

Strickland said FLY 314 will also sponsor informational meetings in St. Louis neighborhoods starting in October.

Follow Melody on Twitter: @melodybird