Riverfront Development Key To City’s Future

By Mike A. Bozarth

St. Joseph has a strong asset, yet we hesitate to capitalize on it.
Our city was founded on the river largely for transportation. Two hundred years later, most of our populace only think of the river when it floods.
That’s unfortunate because it has such potential to boost our local economy.
In St. Joseph, riverfront development also means downtown redevelopment. City officials and many community leaders recognize this; which is why we included a new dock between downtown and Heritage Park in the last Capital Improvements Project sales tax.
Those promoting a marina/safe harbor point to the positive financial incentive it would have here.
The Sioux City chamber of commerce reports its marina gets multiple repeat visits. They have a 220 boat slip facility that each slip has a $7, 500 yearly financial impact for their city.
The indirect financial impact is estimated at $14, 000 per year.
A river advocate pointed out there are five marinas along the Iowa/Neb-raska stretch of the Missouri River. Yet we do not.
Everything Is In Place
City planners and local elected officials have built a great foundation to build upon.
We benefit from having the St. Joseph Regional Port Authority on the river and waiting for business.
We have a casino, showcase Heritage Park ballfields and the Remington Nature Center at the northern end of the city and a park and a trail that stretches along the river downtown.
I’d like to throw an in-your-face slap at those who have the gall to suggest our downtown is still dead. Our downtown is alive and thriving like no time we have seen since Urban Renewal.
There are negativists and wishers who long for the downtown of the 1950’s. Those days are gone. Department stores have gone to the suburbs and malls.
Downtown St. Joseph. What do we have?
Our crown jewel is an Entertain-ment District. We have the Civic Arena, Missouri Theater and arts offices, Joyce Raye Patterson Senior Center, the downtown library, the gazebo at Felix Street Square in Coleman Hawkins Park (we need to do something about that name), a pool hall, YMCA, YWCA, a coffee shop, a hotel, bed and breakfast, two museums, several fine restaurants and bars to apeal to nearly any taste.
There are several churches, including several in historical buildings and a number of clubs and organizations downtown.
Specialty Shoppes. There are art,
(Above: Sioux City, IA. marina)
clothing, health, beauty and a number of different specialty shoppes.
Education. Both Missouri Western State University and Northwest Missouri State University have a presence downtown, along with the St. Joseph School District offices and a library.
Factories. Hillyard Chemical and a wire rope factory downtown provide jobs that take people downtown.
Governmental. The Buchanan County Courthouse, State Office Building, Federal Building, Law Enforcement Center, St. Joseph School District offices, City Hall, Job Service, MO-KAN, St. Joseph Convention and Visitor’s Bureau are downtown.
Professional Services. Several banks and credit unions are located in the downtown area. A number of attorneys, computer services, doctors, dentists, accountants, printers, architects, plumbers, electricians, and more have their offices here.
Residential. In the last 5-10 years a major push was made to get people to move back downtown. It’s worked. We have a number of fine loft apartments, senior apartments, low-income apartments, historical homes, and still more planned at the old Heartland campus.
Retail. A number of fine retail stores are downtown, such as furniture, appliances, fast food, health food, one or three convenience stores (depending on the boundaries you use), and more.
Our downtown and riverfront go hand in hand. Both hold a lot of promise for St. Joseph. We should get behind what we have, rather than whimper about what we don’t.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 and is filed under Consider Liberty |Mike A. Bozarth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Riverfront Development Key To City’s Future”

  1. AutismUnied Foundation on March 24th, 2011 at 4:04 am

    WOW I like your articles , saved to my bookmarks ! .

  2. Shelby Reed on April 4th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I agree. St. Joseph seems to have turned it’s back on one of it’s greatest assets–the Missouri River. There is much business and recreation potential that is going untapped. I hope St. Joseph’s leaders read this.

  3. Debbie J. on April 5th, 2011 at 3:07 am

    Mike, you make a lot of sense. I know Atchison, Kansas has spruced up their riverfront with a nice park and boat ramp and that helped attract some business to the downtown area–which is on the river like St. Joe’s downtown.

    The Missouri River has brought forth it’s fury with floods over the years, but it’s value for transportation and recreation far outweighs the bad.

    A safe harbor has worked well upstream in Nebraska and there is no reason it would not work in St. Joe.

    Keep pushing!

  4. Tony D. on April 10th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Too many people would rather see what is wrong and complain than appreciate what we have and try to make it better.

    Your column shows you have some vision, something St. Joe has been lacking.

  5. Lloyd on April 11th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    You Have a lot of useful ideas!

  6. SHELBY on April 17th, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Good Morning, Thanks for the Informative article, I dont usually leave comments but your article inspired me! Keep up the good work and look forward to more articles

  7. James on April 22nd, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    St. Joseph’s founding on the Missouri River was with good reason. It provided cheap transportation for people, goods and services.

    Today it could again serve the city for not only transportation, but recreation.

    The question is, what civic leader (s) will work to make it happen?

  8. Becky on April 23rd, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Mike Bozarth, you should still be on the City Council. I hope you run again next time.

    Some people look to the past when they think of downtown. We need to appreciate what we have, and build on that. I think getting more residents downtown was crucial to the improvements we are seeing now. Now the city needs some prominent investors with vision.

  9. Tim on April 25th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    The river and downtown st. joe are tied hand in hand. If you promote things along the river, it will help revitalize downtown.

  10. Rosie Durke on April 27th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Hiya! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice information.

  11. Lucila Goettman on May 12th, 2011 at 4:38 am

    One again, your article is very nice

  12. EUNICE on May 12th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Nice column. I like the way you look to the future. Saved to my bookmarks .

  13. Vernon on May 12th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    You make some good points. The Downtown folks should appreciate you.

  14. kenneth w Reeder 220 boat slips means 220 boaters that are not going some where else match that with 220 camping spaces and you have something that does not exist in a raduis 250 miles. it is our Niagia Falls,Grand Canyon,Moutain Range,Oceanfront, from on May 20th, 2011 at 2:42 pm


  15. river on May 20th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    220 boat slips means 220 boaters not going someplace else, match with 220 camping spaces, no place like this exist anywhere for a 250 mile radius, it is our Niagia Falls,Grand Canyon, Yellowstone,Great Lake,Mountain Range, Oceanfront, 1 of the 3 largest river systems in the WORLD, it does not roll by everywhere,from our stjo Riverfront you can sail around the world.


Judge Andrew Napolitano - What if We Didn’t Live in a Free Country