Metrolink, I-170 Extensions Concern School Districts That Stand to Lose Property Taxes

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Extending Interstate 170 and MetroLink to Interstate 55 in south St. Louis County will affect the tax base of at least four school districts, officials say.

The question is, how much? The districts of Brentwood, Affton, Maplewood-Richmond Heights and Webster Groves may all lose tax money, said St. Louis County Councilman Kurt Odenwald, R-Shrewsbury. He represents most of the areas.

Depending on which route is taken, Affton could suffer "a very significant impact," Odenwald said. Maplewood-Richmond Heights is looking at the possible loss of a Venture store off Laclede Station Road, he said. And a number of luxury condominiums in Shrewsbury that average $200,000 each could be taken out by one of the proposals, Odenwald said. Those are in the Affton district. "We're talking about taking away millions of dollars just from the residential base in Shrewsbury," Odenwald said. Brentwood Superintendent John Cleary said he was still crunching numbers, but he sees three possibilities for the district, depending on whether an interstate or a smaller parkway is built. Cleary said the worst-case scenario shows Brentwood losing 20 homes and 39 businesses. That could happen if an interstate is built along what's known as the Black Creek route. If a parkway is built along the Black Creek route, Brentwood would lose 20 homes and 20 businesses. The best-case scenario has Brentwood losing no homes and 14 businesses. That would happen if an interstate is built along the Burlington Northern right of way, Cleary said. Odenwald has been critical of the proposals and questions whether state officials have thoroughly researched them. For instance, he said consultants mistakenly thought the condominiums in Shrewsbury were single-family homes and so underestimated the number of units that would be knocked down. "One of my major criticisms of this study is that they have not done an analysis of the impact on political subdivisions," Odenwald said. …