ST. LOUIS -- For Mayor Vincent Schoemehl Jr., the choice was simple when he came to office a decade ago: Rebuild downtown into a revenue-making center or govern a dying city.

"The tough decision was to invest versus conserve, and we made the decision to invest," the third-term mayor said during a 90-minute interview. "We took some major risks. If we hadn't, I'd probably have been a one-term mayor."

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