A Pledge to the St. Louis Community; Missouri History Museum; President Promises More Collaboration and Transparency; OTHER VIEWS

Article excerpt

Our community's cultural institutions are some of its most important assets. We have built a world-renowned botanical garden, a nationally recognized zoo, and museums dedicated to history, art and science that are leaders in their fields. Our citizens benefit from them, tourists and conventioneers are drawn to them, and businesses use them to help recruit new companies and employees to St. Louis.

Of course, this did not happen by accident. The fact is, few communities can match us when it comes to investing in our cultural institutions. The funds generated by the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District (ZMD) - combined with the generous philanthropy of corporations and private citizens - enable St. Louis to have world-class cultural institutions that are the envy of many other cities, some larger than us. Just as important, the support of this public/private partnership also ensures that these treasures are free and accessible to all.

Collectively our cultural institutions are a testament to the generosity and wisdom of past and present citizens of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Unfortunately, however, there is a flaw in the public side of the partnership, as recent media coverage has highlighted. A case in point: In 2006, the Missouri History Museum made a major decision about expansion without allowing the Commission of the Missouri History Museum Subdistrict of the ZMD to weigh in. While no policies were violated, no tax dollars were involved, and there was no intent to mislead, it is clear that I should have had better communication with the subdistrict. …