St. Louisans have read about him in the newspaper and seen him at events around town, but what do we really know about City of St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay? This week, Community Manager Abby S sat down with the Mayor to find out more about the man behind City Hall!
AS: Congratulations on the city's launch of the single stream recycling program! For those who aren't familiar with the initiative, can you tell us more about it?
FGS: Recycling is a big deal and residential recycling isn't something we've had available to city residents until now – by Spring 2011, over 2/3 of the city will have residential recycling. We also have 58 drop-off locations as well. It's going to be a learning process for City residents, but once they get used to it, they'll find that they can recycle more and more.
AS: Way for STL to finally go green! You are obviously a busy guy! How and what do you do to relax after a long day?
FGS: With cell phones and email, it's tough to find time to stop working, but there are a few things I do to unwind: 1) Either a bike ride or a walk in Carondelet Park; 2) A light, hour-long workout at Powerhouse Gym in Shrewsbury; or 3) Walk my dog.
AS: Last meal on Earth (in St. Louis). Where would it be and what would you eat?
FGS: St. Louis has so many great places to eat, it's hard to choose just one! But I would have to say that I'd pick my brother's deli, Tommy's Sandwiches. Would go there with my family and indulge in either a Mediterranean wrap or an Uncle Mike's sandwich.
AS: You went to St. Mary's High School, but in what STL neighborhood did you grow up? What are your favorite things about that area?
FGS: I grew up in Lindenwood Park – my parents moved here in the 1950's and I spent almost my entire life there. My wife and I also raised our children here because it's such a solid, stable neighborhood. One of my favorite things about the area is driving up and down the street and reliving some fond memories of what happened here as a young boy. I did the math one day and realized that I've run up and down these streets about 10,000 times!
AS: Yelp is encouraging everyone to shop local this holiday season. Where are some FGS approved shopping spots in STL?
FGS: There's nothing I hate more than waiting for a spot in a mall parking lot during the holidays! Place I do like are Crown Candy Kitchen, Bissinger's, Merbs for good, quick gifts. Have been meaning to check out STL Style down on Cherokee Street. And if you're looking for an "adult" beverage as a gift, definitely check out Randall's. They have the biggest supply in the region.
AS: Agreed! If someone were to review you on Yelp.com, do you think you'd get a 5-star rating?
FGS: I hesitate from reviewing myself, but I would give our City government employees a 5-star rating, especially in the way they've handled themselves during these tough economic times. With all of the tough budget cuts we've had to make, the employees at City Hall are working harder and delivering quality service. Even though there's fewer people working, you wouldn't notice since the quality of service has improved.
AS: What are three things in St. Louis that you couldn't live without?
FGS: It's difficult to pick just three… Can I pick at least four?
AS: For you? Yes, you can tell us about four.
FGS: First, there's the Arch. That monument defines our skyline. Forest Park is another – I go there often for events, my son's softball games, shows at The Muny, brunch at the History Museum. The Botanical Gardens because they're internationally renowned and it's such a beautiful, peaceful place. Finally, our public library system since it's one of the best in the country. One of my favorite branches is the one downtown – the architecture is so beautiful and its history is so rich.
AS: Great answers! Thank you very much for your time and insight. The Yelp St. Louis Community is excited to learn more about you.
FGS: My pleasure.