Valley Park

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Valley Park is a city in St. Louis County. The population was 6,518 at the 2000 census.

Valley Park has recently been at the center of a controversy. The Valley Park City Council recently approved an ordinance penalizing landlords and businesses for hiring and renting to illegal immigrants.[1]

History

The town was a Mississippian Indian Settlement along the Meramec River as early as the mid-eighteenth century, until it was settled by French and German immigrant farmers in the 1760's. The town over time was known as Nasby, Suphur Springs, Quinette, Meramec, and then Valley Park around 1890. It was one of the first Post Offices in St. Louis County. It also became a railroad hub for the MO Pacific and St. Louis-San Francisco rail lines.

In 1894, the town became the site of the first lynching in St. Louis County. A black man named John Buckner was lynched when accused of raping a local black woman and white teenager. He was taken from the authorities by several local residents and farmers and hung from the main bridge in town overlooking the Meramec River. The lynchers were never apprehended.

In 1909, the town became incorporated. As many as 70 trains passed through Valley Park on any given day. The town became a center for industry until the great flood of 1915, when the main bridge was destroyed, as were the huge factories along the river. The town never recovered.

In 2006, Valley Park made the national news when the board of aldermen passed an ordinance modeled on the city of Hazleton, Pa., which penalized landlords who rented to "illegal aliens", businesses who employed "illegal aliens", and others who aid and abet "illegal immigration."[2] The ordinance was briefly enforced, as St. Louis County Police raided several apartment complexes and followed several Hispanic males. Several landlords along with the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council filed suit against the city. The lawsuit was supported by Bryan Cave, St. Louis University Legal Clinic, Washington University Law School, the ACLU, MALDEF and several private attorneys, who won a temporary restraining order. Led by Mayor Jeffrey Whitteaker, the Board of Aldermen amended the ordinance twice, and the coalition opposing the ordinances won restraining orders against both amended ordinances. In the face of more litigation, the City finally rescinded the ordinances relating to "illegal immigration" in July 2007.

Geography

Valley Park is located at 38°33′19″N, 90°29′18″W (38.555320, -90.488304).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 mi². 3.0 mi² of it is land and 0.2 mi² of it (5.03%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,518 people, 2,603 households, and 1,663 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,156.2/mi². There were 2,744 housing units at an average density of 907.7/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 89.02% White, 4.11% African American, 0.09% Native American, 4.33% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.27% of the population.

There were 2,603 households out of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 41.5% from 25 to 44, 14.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,548, and the median income for a family was $54,063. Males had a median income of $40,956 versus $31,617 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,720. About 8.7% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.

Map

<googlemap lat="38.575548" lon="-90.449753" zoom="11" width="700" controls="large"> 38.55155, -90.48703, Valley Park, MO </googlemap>