Rally Saint Louis has announced the first set of crowd-voted ideas to move on to the budgeting stage. The 5 ideas to move forward were the ones to receive the most votes on the Rally website over the past month. The Rally team will now look at the logistics and potential or necessary partners for the top vote getters, set budgets, then put them back out to the public for funding. Ideas that did not make it into the top 5 will remain on the site and continue to accumulate votes.
Some of the reaction has been, well, typical St. Louis reaction. Actually, let's reframe this: typical human reaction. "Those ideas are too unwieldy" "who's gonna run them when they are done?" and, my favorite, "three out of 5 of these ideas are sports related - really? we need more sports?"
No, literally, I laughed out loud about that as I typed that. Here is why:
1. This is a sports town. So, given that this was an open, institutionally funded initiative, promoted through traditional channels and open to public vote, this should not be surprising. What should be surprising, perhaps, is that there was nothing to do with the Cardinals in the top 5. The people told us what we already knew.
2. This was never put forth as a platform for solving St. Louis's problems. This platform is called "Rally" St. Louis, not "fix" St. Louis. So maybe we do not need more sports, but that was not the point of this. Actually, I think when you look closely at the details of the sports related ideas, they contain elements that will address issues facing St. Louis.
3. This is my favorite. The top vote getter, a good 500+ votes ahead of the closest idea, is for organic urban farming. Hello. This flies in the face of every sweeping generalization you hear about St. Louis. It is the opposite of the Cardinals. This is what everyone should be talking about. The general traditionally reached public in St. Louis gave the most votes to a progressive, urban-centric sustainability initiative. That speaks volumes.
So let's reframe this, y'all. Because, really, the mere fact that such an idea was the top vote-getter in this specific process tells me that St. Louis has moved far beyond step 1 of becoming a city of the future. Let's get our self image caught up.
Related: A look at St. Louis-based crowd funding initiatives.