Public service

New alderman for Ward 1 continues to serve the public – St. Louis Call Newspapers

Jim Zavist has served on several city committees, served as chairman of the Board of Adjustment

Crestwood fielded four aldermen races in this year’s April election, three of which had unopposed candidates. Jim Zavist is set to take over as alderman of Ward 1 for Richard Breeding, whose term is limited.

The new alderman lives in town with his wife, who is from Kirkwood, and said he was looking forward to learning more about the ins and outs of his new role.

Zavist has been involved in public service for much of his adult life – he has served on the Crestwood Board of Adjustment for the past four years and served as president for the past two. Before moving to Crestwood five years ago, Zavist lived in the St. Louis area for a short time and in Denver for 30 years. In Denver, he has served in many roles – president of the homeowners association, member of the parks board, co-chair of the transportation and land use committee, and member of the regional transportation district (RTD) board.

Zavist said he started volunteering for roles in Crestwood’s government to familiarize himself with the area and it “just took off from there”. He said his career as an architect helped him make decisions in his various commissions.

“I tend to look at things quite analytically and that helps at all levels of government,” Zavist said. “This proved to be very helpful in Denver at RTD as they were looking to expand their transit system.”

One of the first issues Zavist would like to address concerns his subdivision, Ridgewood.

“It’s a mid-century modern subdivision, and it would be interesting if we could take a look at some sort of historic preservation to protect the architecture here,” he said. “It may be more of a zoning overlay than a historic district, but it will be interesting to see what we come up with.”

Zavist said he was happy with the city’s use of the old mall site and he suspects businesses will be more inclined to locate in the Crestwood Crossing area, unlike earlier proposals.

He said that in general the city is doing a lot of things well, but he hopes he can help rebuild the “rainy day fund” that the city had in the past. Zavist also said the city may be overly dependent on revenue from Watson retail stores, and the city may need to innovate these spaces in the future.

“I think it’s a matter of what we do with the retail space that’s not staying viable. There are several malls that have been struggling for years… (the malls) are not going to be easy to redevelop because what’s going on with this land? said Zaviste. “Does it become accommodation or something else?” There seems to be a demand for housing.