I grew up in St. Louis and can remember back in 1985 when I was a kid and the newly remodeled Union Station being opened as a tourist attraction and shopping center. For at least several years after the owners/operators kept it up with trendy restaurants, bars, shops and a hotel.
However, my last visit to Union Station, with my husband back in 2005, left me angry and disappointed. I was disgusted at how bad the place has gone downhill. I don't know what happened but whoever owns or operates it now clearly does not care. I was so disgusted with the state of a once proud civic jewel, I wrote a letter to the City of St. Louis and the Mayor's Office to complain. So what was wrong with the place?
First off, it basically was a ghost town. There were hardly any tourists or shoppers in the once-bustling mall area. However, there were plenty of scary homeless people hanging around. They had clearly staked out Union Station as their hangout. I hate to sound mean, but it really is no place for homeless people to be hanging out. Perhaps this was one of the things that scared all the tourists away?
Another problem was that almost half of the store and shop spaces were vacant! That's what I mean by the place being a ghost town in another sense. Even some of the food court spaces were empty, making the dining choices pretty slim. To top it all off, my husband stated the mens public restrooms were absolutely disgusting and filthy. He went into both locations and adamantly refused to use them (and this is a man who has been to some fairly rough parts of Southeast Asia and China without such great plumbing/sanitation facilities!) so we ended up going back to the Starbucks and using their restroom. The historic old Omni Hotel entrance is still a neat place to walk through. But I am pretty angry that the City of St. Louis has let Union Station become such a boring, run-down and forlorn place. Granted, this was almost 3 years ago and maybe things have changed for the better but I would not hold my breath.
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