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The Arena
Will the Keil Center ever gain a moniker as familiar as "The Barn"? It seems unlikely; for all its slick modern wrappings, the new facility seems little more than a machine for watching sports, and machines are harder to love than places. The Barn was a place, a recognizable and cherishable focal point of the city... one that was brutally scraped away in the name of 'progress'.

In the ebb and flow of urban existance, buildings come and go; they are built, age, remodeled, age once again, and many eventually are destroyed in favor of new construction. This is perhaps how it should be... but a few buildings, at least, are special. Whether they are physical landmarks, public gathering places, or enhancers of civic beauty, certain select structures are worth more than their marketplace value. They should be treated as sacred, and held as immune to the vagaries of economics.

The old Arena was one such building. With its commanding hilltop position, the Arena helped shaped and gave form to an entire section of the city. Its loss erases part of the city's identity, nudges it a visible step closer to anonymity. It was more than just a building; it was part of history, a part of our lives -- a part of what made St. Louis's personality, part of what gives the city its unique character. The public's interest in preserving this landmark structure as part of the city's identity, history, and shared experience should have outweighed purely economic concerns. The destruction of the Arena is nothing less than a crime against the city, a denegration of its civic vitality, and evidence that something is still very much amiss among the city's leaders.

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