As Clayton celebrates its centennial anniversary, LN asked some longtime Clayton business leaders about their hopes for the city's next 100 years.
Margo Green, Green Cordonnier & House
I would hope that Clayton will develop a nightlife. I believe the city is wonderful during daytime hours. But in the evening, people tend to go all over the county instead of coming to Clayton. I would like to see more entertainment, restaurants and stores open at night. The city should focus on making the business community thrive morning, noon and night.
Robert Morrissey, Clark Graves Antiques
I hope Clayton continues to prosper as the prestigious economic, residential and civic hub that it is today. Clayton is a beautiful city, and I’m proud that Clark Graves Antiques is one of its oldest corporate citizens. As an art and antiques dealer who’s worked in Clayton for 30 years, and whose shop has been here for nearly 65, I have aesthetic concerns for the city. I hope its leaders make careful, thoughtful decisions that will affect the look and feel of our community for decades.
Alisse Camazine, Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal
I would hope that Clayton will be a thriving area with cultural activities that include new venues for music and entertainment. Additional areas for small theater companies would ideally be developed. It would be wonderful if there could be other activities like the Clayton Art Fair that regularly brought people into the area from all over the country and brought the community together. I also envision a high-tech courthouse that would allow the lawyers and litigants to have the courthouse they deserve (and that I will unfortunately miss). And of course, what would the area be like without bike and walking paths! Do we have to wait 100 years?
Stafford Manion, Gladys Manion Real Estate
I can remember the Clayton of the past with a few small shops and Port of St. Louis being the only restaurant in Clayton open for dinner. In the evening, the only cars to be seen were police cars cruising the empty streets. In the recent past, Clayton has flourished into St. Louis' premier business district and one of the most sought-after residential, shopping and dining destinations in the metropolitan area. My hope for the future is to maintain the charm and integrity of the city for those living and working here.
Richard Sems, PNC Bank
I hope Clayton will be the seat of the joint county-city. I also hope that Clayton continues to become a financial services juggernaut—it really has the opportunity to be that in the Midwest. I also have a hope for Clayton that there will be a lot more buildings like the Centene building. In the downtown, I envision greener skyscrapers—with green parks on the roofs—replacing old skyscrapers. Clayton also has a great school system and visionary leaders, so my hope would be to continue its core competency. And I’m hopeful that Annie Gunn’s will put a place in Clayton.
Gene Diederich, Moneta Group
A century from now, my wish is that Clayton will proudly celebrate its bicentennial, toasted by the same vibrant, progressive and innovative business and residential community that calls it home today. That its beautiful homes, natural landscapes and recreational resources endure and that it remains a center for commerce, a hub for our bustling dining scene, a steward of our environment and a wonderful mix of families, empty-nesters and corporate citizens.
Sherry Delo, Delo Advisors
To me, Clayton is an almost perfect community. Here, business and residents function together to provide a no-deficit tax base for services that prepare young people for the future by providing superior schools, beautiful green spaces and affordable recreation. My forever hope for Clayton is for the city to retain its common-sense approach to government and to construct a long-term strategic plan to increase diversity of the citizens who live here; convert infrastructure, including residences, to green architecture; eliminate poverty; expand the city's boundaries to allow increasing numbers of people to benefit from the city's schools and services; expand the city's heart—the places where people come together to shop, dine, work and play; and remain solvent. And last, but not least, may Clayton stay friendly.
Sam Hais, Hais, Hais, Goldberger & Coyne
My hope for Clayton is the same as my hope for our nation: Strive to keep government as honest, responsive, professional and unobtrusive as humanly possible. Also, bring back The Branding Iron Restaurant, the Shady Oak Theater and Velvet Freeze.