December 6, 2019

Guest Commentary: A call to civic action

Guest Commentary By Barbara O’Malley, Associate Vice President and Chief Communications Officer

The Webster Groves City Council provides a forum for community engagement in the form of public comment on pending city ordinances. A current ordinance under consideration, Bill 8753, has negative implications for Webster University and Eden Theological Seminary. I encourage all faculty, staff and students to attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. It will be an opportunity to learn more about this proposed ordinance and show your support of Webster and Eden.

Bill 8753 singles out Webster and Eden and impairs their ongoing operations. Both institutions have master plans that we are trying to move forward and this ordinance:

  • Introduces restrictive leasing regulations in a manner that impedes progress for both institutions
  • Treats Webster and Eden in disparate ways by singling them out for over-regulation and government control
  • Has serious implications to the rights of all property owners and partners, not just Webster and Eden

Webster faculty, staff and students invest heavily in the community. We offer significant contributions, both monetarily and through donations of time, talent and outreach programs. Each year Webster is one of the largest single sponsors of community events in the City, having invested approximately $20,000 each year in annual community sponsorships since 2004. The list is long:

  • Webster Groves Farmers Market. The University stores the tents for the Farmers Market at no cost to the City.
  • Webster Arts Foundation (Paint Webster and Art and Air Festival)
  • Old Orchard Gazebo Series
  • Webster Groves Community Days – sponsor since 1998
  • Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival Stage Sponsor
  • Make a Difference Day
  • Art on the Town
  • Shepherd Center of Webster Kirkwood
  • Webster Chamber of Commerce Heart of Community Awards Dinner
  • Webster Groves Chamber of Commerce Guide and Directory
  • Webster Chamber of Commerce Sustaining membership
  • Webster Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament

We like giving back to our community and we would like the support of City Council for our future development. I invite you to join us in this civic cause.

We urge you to contact Webster Groves City Council members and encourage them to vote no on Bill 8753. Here are some options:

  • Send a letter or email to each member of Webster Groves City Council indicating your support of Webster and Eden and encourage them to vote no on Bill 8753.
  • Send a letter to the editor of the Webster Kirkwood Times, 122 W Lockwood Ave. 63119, or email
    mailbag@timesnewspapers.com and the Webster Groves Patch, sheri.gassaway@patch.com, indicating your support of Webster University and Eden Seminary.
  • Call City Hall (314) 963-5300 and leave a message encouraging City Council members to vote no on Bill 8753.
  • Send a fax to City Hall at (314) 963-7561 requesting City Council vote no on Bill 8753.
  • Come to the Webster Groves City Council meeting at City Hall, (4 E. Lockwood Ave. Webster Groves, MO, 63119) on Sep. 4 at 7 p.m. (meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and voice your support for Webster University and Eden Seminary.
  • Submit a letter online and it will be sent directly to City Hall.
Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor on this topic may also be sent to The Journal at websterjournal@gmail.com. The Journal is on online publication and a print newspaper. The next print edition will be out on Sept. 4. 

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