The last great swath of undeveloped bottom land in St. Louis County is set to become history–at the hands of Maryland Heights. As the continued balkanization of St. Louis County tax revenues continues, the “city” apparently believed it had to compete with nearby Chesterfield Commons in the Gumbo Flats along Highway 40. Below, you can see why this new project in the Howard Bend area of Maryland Heights is now moving forward: the Page Avenue sprawl connector seen from the overpass of River Valley Road.
Why should preservationists care that the farmland of Howard Bend remain agricultural?
Firstly, it encourages local produce to be grown close to home, cutting down on shipping costs during the growing season since your tomatoes don’t have to come from Chile.
Secondly, the development is more of the same sprawl economic model that has currently pushed gas prices up over three dollars because America has created cities (for the first time in human history) where walking is next to impossible if not outright ridiculed.
On a more personal level, I love the Howard Bend area because of its beauty: fields of corn, tree covered bluffs in the distance, and the knowledge that this little bit of rural St. Louis County is right in the middle of the metropolitan area.
Oh and by the way, when the levee fails twenty years from now, your tax dollars will go to the reconstruction of development that never should have occurred in a flood plain. Whether you live in the city, Wentzville, Collinsville or even Seattle, you should be angry that the government is insuring businesses and municipalities who built in an irresponsible manner.
There is history down here still as well, as you can still see the Howard Bend Pumping Station, where much of the City of St. Louis draws its water from the Missouri River.