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Loop trolley takes small step forward

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis, MO – The area's regional planning agency Wednesday gave its approval to the route and basic design of a proposed trolley through the Delmar Loop. The route approved by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments would run from the History Museum in Forest Park to a stop just east of University City's city hall.

Supporters of the trolley, led by Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards, secured federal money for a feasibility study and preliminary engineering and design work. But that's all that's available, said Terry Freeland, who led the project for East-West Gateway.

"After that, we are going to have to find some funding to take the project to final design and then ultimately to actually build it," he said. "At this point, we don't know where that funding's going to come from."

Freeland said other cities tapped in a variety of federal pots to fund their trolley systems. He expects the same thing to happen here, he said. The 2.1-mile route will cost about $50 million to build, and $4 million a year to operate. Freeland said

Also at the meeting, commissioners paid tribute to Les Sterman, who left as the organization's executive director last Wednesday after 31 years. Sterman, an engineer by trade, is joining the Southwestern Illinois Flood Protection District Council, which is looking at the state of the levees in the Metro East.