First, the goat. Yes. A goat. We found her (she had udders) living in the only house on Manteca. The reaction: “Holy Sh*t, there’s a goat!” Of course, I did not believe it when my eyes met the white and brown spotted creature staring blankly out the front door. I swore it was a statue. Until, she moved… and walked around the house. I kept taking photo after photo at this beyond-strange anomaly, completely baffled about how a goat wound up living at 4228 Manteca. Did it stray from a farm off Missouri Bottom Road? Was it abandoned, left here to fend for itself off of Carrollton’s vastly mowed acreage? The udders made me most worried about it… where was her kid? How long ago did she have it? She also had some bands around her legs which were also of great concern for her past conditions, where ever she came from. She was no stranger to humans, but she didn’t trust us enough to get within arms’ reach. She watched us for a long time, then turned and went into the basement.
So I left our new friend, but not without leaving a message with the Missouri Humane Society to let them know about a stray goat in an abandoned subdivision. I decided to take my usual exit route through Asherton. Once again my eyes were lost in the vast blankness of the area until my eyes rested at the shiny silver gates that blocked our exit from Asherton onto Brampton.
“When did this get here?”
“How did we get on the wrong side of the gate?”
“I don’t know….”
“Did we pass any others?”
“There were no others… we came in off of Natural Bridge!”
Yup, directly in front of us was a gate that, once I got out and inspected the sign facing Brampton, it said, “Road Closed. No Trespassing. Property of City of St. Louis.” They must have put up late in the first week of September. The odd thing is, we were on the wrong side of this gate, and we certainly did not see or go through any other gates until this very point. So I did the only thing legally I thought I should- take the car over the grass and go around it to the correct side. I stopped and took some shots. There were gates on the next street, Lyford, both ends of Marburn Ct., then posts on Chartley and open gates on Woodford Way at Weskan. As I drove around more, we saw gate posts at Ellisnore, Celburne at Allenhurst, and both sides of Chartley from Celburne. So more gates are coming and soon there will be more areas in which we can no longer access.
I knew that this would happen… in fact I am rather surprised that they didn’t start closing off roads sooner. I guess, given the fact that there are still some homes sitting and waiting for closure that I assumed that they would leave the roads open until all are gone. I also once assumed that the airport would only close off access to the streets once they knew what they were doing with the area. However, given the status quo, I’m starting to become more and more convinced that Lambert has no clue what to do with the remainder of Carrollton. They bought and converted the parts of Carrollton that they needed for the runway, but the rest of the neighborhood is simply the baggage that came with the bargain.
Of course the real purpose of the gates is to keep the vandals out, right? Seems easy enough- put up barriers and everyone has to stay out of the area.
The problem, is, the gates are the very worst thing they could do right now.
The best way to keep nefarious activity out of a largely unregulated area is to get rid of the abandoned homes and better patrol the area. What they need to do is to demolish the rest of the homes immediately, using proper demolition crews and not by letting them just sit and burn away. They also need to better patrol the area along with the Bridgeton police force, who has been patrolling Carrollton despite it not being entirely their responsibility (only the south side of Carrollton has been turned back to Bridgeton, not the north). It has been almost a year since I have seen a Lambert/City of St. Louis cop in the area. They need to figure out a way to get more patrols there. Next, they need to come public with plans for the area. If they don’t have a plan, then at least admit it and come to the public for suggestions on what to do with the land. Here’s mine- turn it into a state park like Times Beach and let the state manage it.
A week after the Asherton gates were installed, permanent ruts around the gates were noticeable in the grass. The other gates had some type of ruts in the grass around them as well. The left side the gate itself looks like someone tried to smash it over. The gates are not going to keep out the people who have been using this area for years- especially the 4 wheelers, motorcycles and rally racers who have driven all over this side of Carrollton. Its not going to keep out the kids who keep spray painting their nicknames all over the houses. The gates give them another reason for crossing over them and doing this kind of activity- those kids will now assume that nobody will get in to see what they’re up to. The gates are only going to cause more problems than they will solve.
Lambert doesn’t even want to take ownership of the area, so they stuck the City of St. Louis’ name on the street signs instead. All Lambert has to do is remove 26 home parcels and tell the public its intentions for the land, and this will all be finally over. No more gates, no more band-aids on much larger wounds, just some honesty is all that is really needed.
Back to the goat. I later ran into a really nice Animal Control officer for the city of Bridgeton. She told me she had been trying to trap the goat for almost a week, but its always running off as soon as she gets close. Evidently, it had been tracked from Hwy. 370, but how it got there was a mystery. I haven’t seen our hoofed friend in almost a week. The Humane Society finally called back-I told them Bridgeton was taking care of it. They still didn’t seem to believe me.