CRESTWOOD, Mo. – Members of the St. Louis County and City NAACP want county officials to drop a TIF request in support of a Dierbergs grocery store in Crestwood.
County and City NAACP Presidents John Bowman and Adolphus Pruitt gathered outside the St. Louis County government offices Wednesday in opposition of current plans for tax increment financing.
The presidents say the Dierbergs TIF in Crestwood will divert taxpayer dollars for a luxury grocery store in an area that already has enough stores.
“The NAACP opposes this development because it diverts taxpayer dollars that would otherwise go to policing, schools and fire districts and other taxing districts,” said Bowman. “And it gives those dollars to Dierbergs and its developers for the purpose of yet building another luxury store on the site in Crestwood that was far from blighted.”
According to Bowman, the city of Crestwood had plans in 2016 to redevelop 29 acres around the former Crestwood mall site using tax increment financing. That plan did not move forward. A plan then advanced five years later to use that same source of TIF funding for a Dierbergs, though Bowman notes it happened without taking proper action for a public hearing over the use of TIF dollars.
The NAACP presidents contend that TIFs should be reserved for blighted areas in St. Louis City and County.
“TIFs should be reserved for blighted areas, not luxury grocery stores,” said Bowman. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of blighted areas in St. Louis County, and they need a TIF. But not this site in Crestwood.”
Pruitt noted that at least 100 TIFs approved in St. Louis City and County have diverted $2.5 billion in taxpayer dollars for development. In recent weeks, a proposed TIF package in Chesterfield has pitted the city against two St. Louis County school districts.
“If we’re going to continue to allow TIFs to move ahead when they’re not necessary, when those dollars aren’t necessary, then it might be time to revisit TIF, period, in Missouri,” said Pruitt.
While opposing the TIF request in Crestwood, NAACP leaders add that North County and St. Louis City have many areas that could also use more grocery stores, calling on the grocery chain to invest in both areas.