Such a reset, Kimbrough said, will require breaking down barriers and opening new lines of communication between Black and white, between powerful and powerless.
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He argues that the region has whiffed on past opportunities to broaden its civic base, including the St. Louis 2004 effort of two decades ago. That group organized a World’s Fair centennial celebration and spearheaded efforts to build greenways and redesign the Gateway Arch grounds, but Kimbrough feels it didn’t live up to commitments on inclusiveness.
“What did we learn from St. Louis 2004?” he asked. “If we haven’t accomplished enough from a shared prosperity standpoint, we need to ask why we didn’t.”
Kimbrough’s challenge to the region echoes the inclusive-growth language in Greater St. Louis Inc.’s STL 2030 Jobs Plan. He said he finds the plan encouraging but is waiting to see concrete results, especially investments in underprivileged areas.
“One barrier is access to capital,” Kimbrough said. “We look at certain parts of the region as though they are not worthy of investment.”
He plans to start a series of conversations, inviting geographically and racially diverse groups of non-profit leaders, business executives and public officials to talk with people they might not ordinarily encounter.
Originally Appeared Here