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Should Creve Coeur Provide Wi-Fi On Olive?

The city has been reaching out to technology firms to look at ways to foster growth and organization in Creve Coeur.

In 2011, Creve Coeur resident Joe Ashkar moved his Information Technology firm GoINET's corporate headquarters out of a location in the city of St. Louis. While his company's data center remains downtown, that location was no longer convenient for his firm's employees, some who live in St. Charles and would commute downtown, only to service clients in Clayton, Creve Coeur and elsewhere. 

"We need our office to be a little more strategic," Ashkar said on the decision to move to office space on Olive Boulevard near Spoede Road.

The city of Creve Coeur is home to dozens of technology firms, many of whom don't know their cohorts in other companies are in town, according to one City Council member.

Ward 4's Scott Saunders updated the Council last week on efforts underway to connect with a wide range of those business interests, from Information Technology (IT) firms all the way to larger companies like Microsoft.

The city's Economic Development Commission has spearheaded the outreach in hopes of helping that business sector self-organize and network together on issues like workforce development and branding.

The idea of having wi-fi available along Olive is one of many ideas tossed around and is purely in the draft stage, Saunders emphasized.

This businesses sector, like others, are attracted to the city's regional accessibility, and availability of restaurants. Now, the city wants to investigate what kind of resources and ammenities it will take to help them stay here and grow.

Chief among them could be the ability to hire qualified workers.

Members of the city's Economic Development Commission have said that IT firms want to hire, but cannot find employees. Instead, they often end up hiring from rival companies. One broad concept would involve working with local schools to find and train next-generation workers.

The most noticeable idea floated so far in discussions that would stand out to city residents may be the concept of a "flyover" on Lindbergh between Olive Boulevard and Bauer Road.

What do you think? None of these ideas are set in stone, but what would you like to see happen in Creve Coeur to foster business development?

TransducerX February 19, 2013 at 01:50 PM
While certainly a "nice to have" for residents, any functional office space with more than half-a-dozen employees is going to have bandwidth and enterprise service level agreement (SLA) needs that a municipal-based wi-fi system simply cannot (and probably should not) meet. AT&T has a ton of fiber buried along side Olive in that corridor. I would inquire with them what they can offer local businesses in terms of fiber-to-the-curb.
flyoverland February 19, 2013 at 02:24 PM
I agree with TansducerX. This is sort of like the schools latently whining about needing to teach kids to use computers. That ship has sailed. They already know more about it than their teachers. Private companies can buy their own service. Almost everyone has cellular ability on their phone if they need to check email while at Dierberg's (which I think offers wifi anyway). The bigger issue is what does the city get from encouraging more offices? We do not (and should not) have a city earnings tax. We get the exorbitant sales tax from the TIF district when they buy a cheeseburger at McDonalds (or at least we get our muni part, the developers get the premium). Mostly, what we get is more traffic and we still don't even have a hardware store. Cities should stay out of the private sector and pick up the trash and clear the snow.
Robin Tidwell February 19, 2013 at 04:05 PM
My question is "why?" Like others have mentioned, most offices - and many businesses - offer WiFi. You're kinda NOT supposed to be checking mail while driving, right? So if you pull over, you pretty much can find WiFi anywhere.
Stephanie R. February 19, 2013 at 08:04 PM
What bugs me is the city's EDC statement IT firms want to fire but can't find employees. I've applied but never get a call from them. It looks to me like they want the next Steve Jobs and if you're not the reincarnation of Steve Jobs, you're wasting your time with them. flyoverland is right.
David Caldwell February 19, 2013 at 08:31 PM
First things first. Warson Road, the gateway to our biotech center and industrial district, does not have a sidewalk north of the Danforth lot. The Warson Village apartments and the STL Arc office could really use a sidewalk and a covered bus stop shelter.
TransducerX February 19, 2013 at 08:56 PM
While probably needed those are "once-and-done" items. Any public IT service such as the one mentioned in the article will take sustained management and support, the likes of which the city does currently have in-house. Consequently, the conversation will have to be more extensive and robust than what might surround a few feet of concrete and a bust stop.
TransducerX February 19, 2013 at 09:17 PM
If the schools had the curriculum and instructors I'm convinced they need the students certainly would NOT know more than the teachers!
flyoverland February 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Not only that, but a one size fits all wifi system will not suit any particular user. Is this proposed to be free? Would we charge for it? Do we charge by bandwidth used? It isn't like you can't get internet access in Creve Coeur. Anyone can get all the internet service they want. Why would we want to compete with the private sector. Seems like a solution in search of a problem. Dave is right. Cities should do what they have always done. Quit trying to be social engineers.

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