“Like water in the landscape, which is likewise reflective and transparent by turns, glass has a way of inflecting whatever holds it, quickening what was formerly inert, suggesting other layers and dimensions, depths to plumb.” -Michael Pollan in A Place of My Own
What is the effect on a neighborhood when many of its buildings are boarded up with oriented strand board? How can a community feel as though there is potential in the vacant buildings?
And of course, the block party! Please come out and see what it’s all about.
23rd@Mullanphy, 1-7p.m. officially, until midnight unofficially, THIS SATURDAY.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch has written an article about the North Side CBA in their business section. Check it out here. The comments on the PD website is without fail incendiary, so watch out for scary comments.
But some highlights from the article may be:
“Bringing an outside third party to the table would complicate matters, McKee said.
‘There can’t be two different conversations going on at the same time,” he said. “You have to be respectful of the aldermen and the political process.'”
“April Ford-Griffin, the alderman who represents much of the redevelopment area, said she knew of the CBA effort but hadn’t seen details yet. She was worried, though, about writing too many specifics into a redevelopment plan.
‘There are things the market will determine. You cannot tell a developer that they have to put a grocery store here, that they have to do this or that,’ she said. ‘You can’t legislate every single detail of a development, or it will never happen.'”
And of course: “‘This is a community that was in existence before Paul McKee,’ said (Sheila) Rendon, who has lived in St. Louis Place her entire life. ‘People here don’t feel like this is just streets or a house to live in. This is their home.'”
The CBA and the Listening Project is all about the residents gaining information, feeling empowered and being able to guide any development that occurs in their community. The residents, through their alderpersons or through the CBA, must have a voice in what happens in their own land and community.
St. Louis Summer of Solutions announces the kickoff of our listening project.
Are you a resident of St. Louis Place or JeffVanderLou?
If so come on down to 2314 Mullanphy. Better yet bring some food and some friends and we’ll make this a block party!
We want to know what stories you have from your life in the neighborhood. Who has made a difference in neighborhood life? What are your dreams for the future of your neighborhood? What would you change about your neighborhood if you could?
Some of the Summer of Solutions projects are still developing. The largest initiative, a so-called “listening project,” involves surveying north St. Louis residents (likely in the form of short questionnaires handed out at community events) about their hopes for the neighborhood. The idea, Legge said, is to get an idea of neighborhood demographics and the range of opinions about how to develop wide swaths of the area. The students are hoping to present the information to aldermen and other leaders at public meetings.
The students’ project comes in the wake of developer Paul McKee’s proposal about how to remake the neighborhood. “Our sense is that many people feel that they haven’t had a voice in the design process,” Legge said. “All these green eco-projects are being proposed, and if these things come about in a way that doesn’t involve community members it would be a huge lost opportunity.”
With these projects, students initially expressed concern that they would be seen by residents and politicians as fly-by do-gooders who don’t have a real stake in the city’s future. Legge said longtime community advocates assured them that fresh ideas are welcomed. The students hope that by working with these residents who have years of experience dealing with development plans, their projects will get increased attention and have legs beyond the summer.
Of note: McKee claims that the Clemens Mansion was already in its collapsing state before he bought it. McEagle properties claims to be throughly maintaining and protecting all of the 900+ parcels it owns. He emphasizes that all of the Tax Increment Financing money will be used for infrastructure. As this is taxpayer money, we as taxpayers must demand a sustainable infrastructure with such recent innovations as biofiltration, stormwater capture and filtration, emphasis on walkability and transit, and decentralized energy co-generation.
Interestingly McKee mentions preserving 60% of structures in the redevelopment area.
McKee’s inspiration and contention is that jobs drive the economy and the near north side provides the only available land to rebuild the St. Louis economy and “lead us to greatness”. The types of jobs are not explicitly clarified.
Looking around the country at regions with more positive job growth than St. Louis it seems strange to not emphasize and attract the type of green and emerging technologies that will propel the economy of the future.