The New York Times recently took an honest look at my hometown. The city has serious problems, although the wider Metro area is doing well.
The city is attempting to renew itself....but it is progressing too slowly. The city is not condusive to any real recovery.... the crime, the political foolishness, the severe blight, loss of population, the school system, the red tape...all discourage any meaningful or aggressive investment effort. St. Louis never seemed to learn from other cities that have been more successful....such as Atlanta, Cleveland, Seattle, etc. It takes so long to get anything done in St. Louis....whether it's building a hotel, redeveloping blighted areas, building roads, etc. This is also a town where major projects often seem to fall through. "The Bottle District" project- a major proposal to build new condos and retail facilities near the Riverfront (including new skyscrapers) is the latest big project to collapse. Ground was actually broken on the project a couple of years ago, but no work was ever done. The investors, fed up with red tape, eventually pulled out.
It's still hard to go downtown and enjoy an event. Parking can run from $10-15 (Who the hell wants to pay that much just to park?). And even if you do find parking, you have to walk quite a distance to get to your event. This is why I avoid downtown. The other reason is the crime. Other cities that have been successful at revitilizing their downtowns have tackled both problems.... creating plenty of free parking to encourage more downtown visitors (and new residents), AND dealing effectively with any crime issues.