This weekend Ballpark Village is attempting to reclaim a sliver of the relevance it once had by holding a 3 day music festival on top of the currently constructed softball field slash Busch Stadium parking lot. It's the first attempt to take the large land plot to something, anything, that serves a purpose beyond being a constant reminder of the failure of the Cardinals and the city of St. Louis.
This isn't the first, nor the last time we'll cover the ongoing saga of the failed land mass. (LINK HERE)
It's hard to believe that this is the 6th season for Busch Stadium III and back in late 2004 when the plans for the new stadium were revealed, a part of the excitement was not just a shiny new baseball shrine for the Cardinals, but the bustling city within a city that would stand just outside its left field fence. It was to be like Kansas City's 'Power & Light' or Louisville's '4th Street Live!' only better... because we're St. Louis.
Busch III was built, opened and hosted 2 World Series champions, but still, the best the Cardinals and the city could muster was a softball field that was a temporary fix (LINK HERE). 3 years after that press release, neither side helming this project are ready to admit defeat and sell the land to people able to get progress moving.
More interesting are the stories like below:
That's from the Post Dispatch this week (LINK HERE) and it's a throwaway line in an otherwise fluffy interview about a business owner that "desperately" wanted to be in Ballpark Village, but realized that real monies can't be made in a mythical place.
Obviously, the success or failure of a development can't be bet on a single hardware store. Yet it does speak volumes that independent stores were willing to take a chance on an area without knowing the anchor tenants in advance. More of these stories will be unearthed and the notion that the people responsible for this development are hiding behind now will corrode. After all, you can't say that the interest was there when the interest was there. Just so happens that the interest there wasn't at the right price to recoup maximum profit.
It's America. The Cardinals are free to do what they please with their land.
But the story of Jim Cohen shows that the Cardinals aren't about St. Louis and the revitalization of downtown. We're 6 years behind schedule with no hope for change anytime soon.