Electrical Connection hosts fundraiser to energize restoration of St. Louis’ architectural heritage

VINCE SCHOEMEHL (right), former St. Louis mayor and former president of Grand Center, spoke at the fundraiser for Historic Revitalization for Missouri, which was sponsored by the Electrical Connection. The event was held at the Henry Miller Museum, the birthplace of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. – Electrical Connection photo

The Electrical Connection recently hosted a fundraiser for Historic Revitalization for Missouri (HRM) to engage developers and the union construction industry in the non-profit organization’s mission to breathe new life into St. Louis’ landmarks.

The event was held at the Henry Miller Museum at 2726 Martin Luther King Drive. The museum itself is an example of successful landmark revitalization. It is the birthplace of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which was founded 130 years ago in St. Louis.

HRM, which works with state and local elected officials, economic development officials and historic preservation organizations, is dedicated to the revitalization of town squares, downtown commerce and neighborhoods. It promotes the continued use of the Missouri Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which brings economic benefits to local communities.

IBEW Local 1 partners with St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to form the Electrical Connection. The building trades and contractors joined the Electrical Connection at the fundraiser to support the organization.

HRM President Jim Farrell said that since 1999, historic tax credits have supported more than $6.1 billion in private investment revitalizing 2,500 St. Louis buildings and landmarks to sustain the area’s rich architectural heritage.

Farrell and other speakers noted that historic revitalization projects are extraordinarily complex and rely on the highly skilled and safe union construction workforce to deliver with exacting standards required for historic tax credits.

Others providing perspective on the value of historic tax credits were:

  • Steve Smith, Lawrence Group CEO
  • Amrit Gill, Restoration St. Louis president and chairman
  • Tim Hudwalker, a BSI Constructors project executive, who has revitalized a number of projects in St. Louis
  • Kevin Bryant, Kingsway Development president
  • Vince Schoemehl, former St. Louis mayor and former president of Grand Center, Inc., who remains active in efforts to revitalize St. Louis

Among Labor-management leadership attending was Frank Jacobs, IBEW Local 1 business manager, Doug Martin, St. Louis NECA executive vice president, and Tim Green, IBEW/NECA director of government affairs, who set up the networking event connecting the trades and contractors with development leadership.

John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, led a contingent of trade union leadership at the meeting including:

  • Steve Straatmann, of Operating Engineers Local 513
  • Joe Mueller, Painters District Council Local 58
  • Curt Kimbrell, Glaziers Local 513
  • Jeff Crowe, Ironworkers Local 396
  • Ted Ramsdell, Sheet Metal Workers Local 36
  • James Renick, Cement Masons Local 527

Also attending were Tim Wies, president of TJ Wies Contracting, Inc.; Brian Murphy, president of BAM Contracting LLC; Al Purcell, executive committee member of the Hawthorn Foundation; and Joe Schoonover, senior vice president of the Bank of Labor, which funds a number of union-built projects.

For more information on HRM or to support the organization, visit historicmo.org.

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