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Time running out to weigh-in on Rams settlement money

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ST. LOUIS – Friday is the last day for residents of St. Louis to cast their vote on what should happen with the Rams settlement money.

The city is wanting to hear from St. Louisans and others on how to spend the quarter of a billion dollars the city was awarded in a settlement with the NFL.

Ask five different people in downtown St. Louis how the city should spend it and there might be five different answers. Derrick Croft works downtown and said the streets need work.

“(The city should spend the money on) Fixing these potholes for one. I know it’s costing me and some of my friends a lot of money,” Croft said.

Croft would also like to see the city make upgrades to the riverfront.

“I do a little traveling, and every time I go to a city with a nice riverfront, I’m like, ‘Man, why can’t we do this?'” he said.

The city is also considering subsidizing childcare for city residents. It’s an idea that James Westbury, a resident, supports.

“It’s very important for parents to be able to make sure their kids are taken care of, and they have jobs to get to,” Westbury said.

Replacing old water mains is also a popular choice after a break near Tamm Avenue last May flooded Interstate 64. The survey features 20 different areas people can vote to put money toward.

Ward 14 Alderman, Rasheen Aldridge, said the board hopes to make a decision on how to spend the money this spring, but they are also looking to take a fiscally conservative approach with the funds. 

“The great thing about this Rams money is that we don’t have to be quick about it, nor do we have to use it all up,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge thinks the city would be wise to spend a chunk of the money on infrastructure and transportation. However, the board wants to hear from residents before they make any final decisions.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and so we want to make sure everyone’s voice is lifted and heard in this process,” Aldridge said.

Many questions remain surrounding the Rams settlement funds. As for the prospect of the city spending the money wisely, there’s a lot of different opinions on that, too.

“I think the settlement money is going to do wonders for a whole bunch of different things,” Westbury said.

Croft is less optimistic.

“The money’s probably going to dwindle away, and we’re not going to know where it went,” he said.

The survey closes at the end of the night Feb. 2.

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