Treatment of Shanahan Tests Civic Progress

By Miklasz, Bernie | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 1, 1993 | Go to article overview

Treatment of Shanahan Tests Civic Progress


Miklasz, Bernie, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The term "Civic Progress" can fill the mind with images of the bogyman. We picture a bunch of rich and powerful men, pounding their fists on a conference table, weighing decisions that make, or break, the mere mortals of St. Louis.

Civic Progress, a consortium of executives from the area's 26 largest companies, is responsible for many generous deeds in the community. Driving on Highway 40, sports fans can see one valuable project, the new Kiel Center, taking shape.

Civic Progress also is capable of burying a guy such as Bill Bidwill, freezing out Jerry Clinton, swooping in to take over the Blues or generally making life miserable for outsiders or dissidents. CP is like any powerful group: The clout works both ways. Nice and nasty.

When Stan Kroenke arrived late in the process as the lead investor in a second group vying for a St. Louis NFL expansion team, his emergence was a Civic Progress production. Kroenke was recruited by CP.

Kroenke seems solid. But we don't know if the National Football League will give St. Louis an expansion team Nov. 30 or if Kroenke will own the franchise. (Instead of Clinton and Fran Murray).

If Clinton - who may be close to lining up a new money man - can come up with the cash to realize his expansion dream, we'd be happy for him. We would support him. He carried the project most of the way. But if the NFL chooses the Kroenke group, the presence of Civic Progress raises questions.

First of all, how active would Kroenke be in supervising the franchise? He lives in Columbia, Mo. His business is commercial real estate. He probably will delegate authority.

And if the team becomes a Civic Progress enterprise, is this positive or negative? Obviously, it's hard to say. We don't know who will be hired as general manager or how much freedom the football side would have in making major decisions.

However, Civic Progress took control of the Blues in June 1991 as part of the new Kiel Center deal. And the results have been better than expected. Blues chairman Mike Shanahan was retained on a three-year contract. …

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