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“I see an idle downtown as a troublemaker’s paradise,” Jones said, adding that her administration is seeking to boost events in the neighborhood. “People want and should feel safe here. This is a both-and proposition. The health of our downtown directly impacts the rest of the city, and a strong urban core will help our region grow.” Mayor Tishaura Jones said Tuesday at a press conference in Kiener Plaza that the new group will meet consistently and give public briefings on its plans and progress. She said downtown stakeholders had been working in silos, and that the new meetings would allow action to be taken more quickly. One official compared it with the formation of a task force of health officials that briefed the public on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Her spokesman didn’t immediately respond to questions about who would sit on the new panel, but several leaders were present at Tuesday’s press conference. They included Interim Public Safety Director Dan Isom, Greater St. Louis Inc. CEO Jason Hall, Kwame Building Group CEO Tony Thompson and St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III. The announcement comes as crime has spiked in the central business district amid the pandemic, with high-profile incidents continuing to make news. Police on Tuesday, for example, reported that a St. Louis Blues prospect on Monday night was robbed at gunpoint on the Arch grounds.
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