image
LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, June 1, 2013

Scenes from Opening Day for North City Farmers’ Market’s 7th Season

Although Friday night’s storms and early Saturday morning rain threatened to put a damper on the opening day celebration for North City Farmers’ Market’s 2013 season, we still managed to enjoy a great day INSIDE Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street.

For more photos, check out the album on the North City Farmers’ Market Facebook page by clicking HERE.

Come back EVERY Saturday, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  If it’s clear outside, the market will be in the street, along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street (across from Crown Candy); if it’s raining, we’ll be back in the gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scenes from a Day-Long Celebration of a Neighborhood Revitalization in Progress

Thank you to all of our volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and musicians who participated in some capacity at yesterday’s Old North House & Community Tour, and special thanks to the the business-owners, homeowners and tenants who opened their homes or businesses to let hundreds of visitors wander through over the course of the day.

By all measures, the day was a great success.

Mayor Slay met neighborhood residents while attending the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Sustainable Land Lab projects.

The day started with the formal kick-off of the Sustainable Land Lab projects (re-scheduled from the rained out date in April), including a presentation to the 3 runner up projects and the 5 teams that were selected to implement their proposals on 4 lots in the Crown Square area.

Pablo Moyano Fernandez and Old North residents Gloria & Tom Bratkowski represented Hybrid Urban Bioscapes project.

Pablo Moyano Fernandez and Old North residents Gloria & Tom Bratkowski represented Hybrid Urban Bioscapes project.

After the start of the tour, the celebration continued at the corner of N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue, where representatives from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and RHCDA (co-owners / co-developers of the corner lot, which is part of the overall Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall) thanked Rebuilding Together St. Louis for coordinating the improvements to the corner plaza space, including the addition of tables with umbrellas, construction of the fence along the south and west sides of the space, new plantings, and the addition of a stage for public performances.  Also acknowledged were the many volunteers, including many from Scottrade and Equifax, financial support from Equifax and Regional Business Council, and contributed professional services from Sherwoods Forest, Kimberlin Construction, and IBEW-Local 1.

Neighbors from down the street came out to celebrate the first official event at the new & improved Crown Square corner plaza.

Dave Ervin, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together St. Louis, and RTSL’s Outreach Coordinator, Kuleya Bruce, acknowledged our appreciation and thanked all who helped them with the project before introducing local musician, Chris Ware for the first official performance on the stage.

Environmentally friendly shuttle service was provided by St. Louis 3 Wheel Taxi.

Volunteers, including Nolan (below), provided a variety of valuable services, including merchandise sales.

And the tour provided an opportunity to show off the diverse range of housing styles in Old North, from apartments to a loft-style conversion of a former warehouse (below).

And a number of number of historic houses…

The soon-to-come Chess Pocket Parkat 2713 N. 14th Street offered the opportunity to try out some chess moves throughout the day.

Another tour tradition is free ice cream, thanks to the generous donation from Crown Candy Kitchen.

Norah Ryan returned for the critical role of scooper and dispenser of ice cream.

The kickoff activities at the 5 Land Lab projects included:

The Sunflower+ project at 1318 Warren

Children from the neighborhood joined the Sunflower+ project coordinators in planting of sunflowers and other work at the project site.

The Mighty Mississippians at 1300-06 Montgomery

The Bistro Box at 1301-03 Montgomery

RR Farm, also at 1301-03 Montgomery

and Chess Pocket Park at 2713 N. 14th Street

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, May 17, 2013

One Last Invite to Join Us TOMORROW (Sat., May 18) for Old North House & Community Tour… AND Announcing Another Crown Square Commercial Tenant

We’re down to the last few hours before the big day, so we’ll issue one last invitation to all friends of Old North, former residents, current residents, fans of urban revitalization, advocates for sustainable development, historic preservationists, arts enthusiasts, and anyone who just happens to like Crown Candy Kitchen: please join us on Saturday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for our annual Old North House & Community Tour. The forecast shows beautiful weather for tomorrow.  Come on out to enjoy a pleasant stroll though the walkable, architecturally rich, historic neighborhood of Old North St. Louis.

The hour by hour forecast from the experts at Weather.com.

It'll be a gorgeous day in Old North on Saturday, according to the hour by hour forecast from the experts at Weather.com.

For those who are new to St. Louis or just aren’t familiar with how neighborhood house tours work, here’s what you can expect from the Old North House & Community Tour:

The Old North House & Community Tour is a self-guided tour, so you’ll be able to use our tour booklet to decide which stops to visit and in what order - or you can visit all of the sites on the tour in the order presented in the booklet.  And, you’ll be able to go at your own pace, whether that means enjoying the nice, summery weather as you walk leisurely between stops or as you catch a free ride from one of the roving, environmentally- friendly bicycle rickshaws from St. Louis 3Wheel Taxi.

For more on what will be featured on the tour, take a look at our posts from Thursday (click HERE) and Tuesday (click HERE).

Registration for the tour - where you can buy tickets, trade in your already-bought tickets for the tour booklet or pick up tickets you purchased online - will be at the new and improved Crown Square corner plaza at the southwest corner of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street, pictured below.

The first official performances on the plaza’s stage will take place immediately following a brief dedication ceremony at 10:30 a.m.   Scheduled to perform are local musician, poet, and spoken-word artist, Chris Ware, and later by Old North’s own favorite steel drum musician, Jamaica Ray.

We also want to share the reminder that the public is invited to celebrate the official start of work at the 5 Sustainable Land Lab projects in Old North, with a ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m. at 1318 Warren (just east of 14th Street at the south end of Crown Square).  Mayor Slay will be on hand to congratulate the winners of the competition, and representatives from all 5 of the projects will be present to show off their sites and discuss their projects.

Although the “day-of” ticket prices of $12 should go into effect after midnight, the advance ticket price of $10 can still be obtained by purchasing online up until about 6 a.m.  So act now!

And, now for some other big news we’re thrilled to share…

=========<<<<<<<<<<<<<<=========>>>>>>>>>>===========

FIRECRACKER PRESS ANNOUNCES PLANS TO SET UP SHOP AT CROWN SQUARE

Earlier today, Firecracker Press issued the following press release:

The Firecracker Press is excited to announce, in addition to its location at 2838 Cherokee Street, the expansion of a second location at 2612 North 14th Street, in Crown Square. The expansion will take place over the Summer of 2013 with a Grand Opening to be announced later this year.

Founded in St. Louis in 2002, The Firecracker Press has become a cultural institution for printmaking. With a gang of antique printing presses (some dating back to the 1800s), a rich collection of St. Louis printing history, and a talented group of designers and printers, The Firecracker Press has made its mark regionally and nationally. Handmade, letterpress posters for music and art shows, custom business cards, stationery, wedding invitations, and books are just a few of the things that The Firecracker Press crafts. Using printing presses that are found and restored, The Firecracker Press prints from hand-set wood/lead type and uses hand-carved woodblocks to create imagery that’s rooted in history yet freshly modern. Its Southside, Cherokee Street location will remain while The Firecracker Press plans to expand a rotating list of events, classes and demonstrations at the new Crown Square location.

The Firecracker Press location in Old North will be in the former Sobel Department Store building at 2612-24 N. 14th Street.

Their announcement further describes their plans for the space in the heart of Old North, just across Montgomery from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office:

The new space, nearly 8000 sq. ft., will host a large collection of printing presses and tools, a retail storefront with a variety of posters and design-related home-goods, and a 100 person capacity venue for music, readings, and events. The Firecracker Press will continue to offer the same high quality, unique, independently minded services that have made them well-known. The expansion will also bring the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations including Old North Restoration Group and its affiliates, and with Studio STL, which will be sharing a portion of the space for its non-profit, children’s writing programs. The publishing arm of The Firecracker Press dovetails in exciting ways with the mission of Studio STL. An arts center for writers, thinkers, and makers will grow where The Firecracker Press and Studio STL overlap, with more to come.

For more details about The Firecracker Press and their plans for the space at Crown Square, click HERE to read the full news release.

The leasing of 2612-24 N. 14th Street follows the recent leasing of 2606-08 N. 14th to Blackmun Footcare, which opened just last month, and the leasing of 2601 N. 14th to Kennedy’s Pet Shop, which is now in the midst of interior build-out.  Both Blackmun Footcare and Kennedy’s Pet Shop will be open for tours on Saturday.

With just a few spaces left, anyone interested in leasing commercial space at Crown Square should contact leasing agent Susan Sauer of Duffe-Nuernberger Realty by phone at 314-571-7654 or by email at ssauer@ndconsulting.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, May 16, 2013

Old North House & Community Tour: 2 Days Away to Sat., May 18

We’re down to counting the hours now until our biggest event of the year - so any help you can offer in spreading the word about the Old North House & Community Tour would be greatly appreciated, and you still have time to let us know if you can volunteer to help out on the day of the tour.

If you still aren’t subscribed to receive our e-Newsletter, then you probably missed our most recent edition.  Click on the image below or click HERE to view the web version.  Once you’re there, be sure to click on the Facebook “Like” image and/or the Twitter “tweet” image to share via these social media tools.

We also have some updates on what else will be going on here on Saturday.

At 9:00 a.m., Mayor Slay and the organizers responsible for the Sustainable Land Lab competition will lead the official kick-off ceremonies marking the start of work at the 5 Land Lab projects in Old North.  This ceremony will start at 1318 Warren (as seen in the photo above, courtesy of Washington University’s Office of Sustainable Development), the site where the Sunflower + project is underway, and will then travel to the other 3 Land Lab lots.  Please join us for this celebration just prior to the start of the Old North House & Community Tour.

At 10 a.m., the House & Community Tour officially begins, with registration table at N. 14th & St. Louis Avenue (see photo below) opening to distribute tour booklets to those who’ve registered in advance or to sell tour tickets (at the day-of price of $12) and the environmentally-friendly, bicycle rickshaw shuttle service will start up for those who don’t want to walk between the stops.

At 10:30 a.m., we’ll celebrate the ceremonial, unveiling / ribbon-cutting of the recently improved Crown Square corner plaza, followed by performances on the new stage by local musician, poet, and spoken-word artist, Chris Ware, and later by Old North’s own favorite steel drum musician, Jamaica Ray.

The tour activities will continue until 4 p.m., featuring 20 stops, 4 of which are located in historically rehabbed buildings at Crown Square, including a residential apartment incorporating a portion of the mezzanine level of the former J.C. Penney building (originally built for the Peters Dry Goods & Clothing Co. in 1881), the recently-opened Blackmun Footcare in that same building, and the soon-to-open Kennedy’s Pet Shop at 2601 N. 14th (in the photo above).

Other stops include:

  • the 4 empty lots where 5 Sustainable Land Lab demonstration projects are being implemented;
  • 2 other businesses offering free treats to tour-goers, La Mancha Coffeehouse, which is offering free cups of coffee, and City Bar & Grill, which is offering free toasted ravioli;
  • 2 historically-rehabbed homes, which have won Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced” Awards in previous years (in addition to the Crown Square project, which also received one of these awards in 2010);
  • a “loft-style” conversion of a warehouse building into a living space and a separate sculpture studio;
  • a couple of historic houses that are still in the midst of major re-construction and rehabilitation after massive damage, from a fire at one and two-different storms at the other, that would have led to demolition in other neighborhoods;
  • the future home in Old North for the Episcopal Service Corps community later this year;
  • the Old North Grocery Co-op and 13th Street Community Garden;
  • the home of Northside Workshop, a community art space that opened last year; and
  • the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office and Gallery, where a new photography exhibit will have its opening on Saturday; this exhibit, titled “Revitalizing,” features photos from 6 neighborhoods (including Old North), where UMSL’s PPRC Photography Project worked with community residents.

As noted in Tuesday’s post, another tradition of this event is the treat of some ice cream from Crown Candy Kitchen (celebrating 100 years of service to Old North).  All tour-goers will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cup, redeemable at the Old North Gallery.

If you haven’t already clicked on the link above, click below to get your tickets while you can still take advantage of the advance ticket price of $10.

And, if for whatever reason, you’re still not convinced that something special is going on in Old North St. Louis, take another look at the YouTube video we prepared before last year’s tour to highlight the dramatic transformations in progress throughout Old North.

We look forward to seeing you again in Old North on Saturday!

[One last appeal: if you've got some time available and are willing to help out, we still could use a few more volunteers.  Give us a call at the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to Claire Wolff: claire@onsl.org]

1COMMENT
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Old North House & Community Tour Countdown: 4 Days Away

With just 4 days to go until the Old North House & Community Tour on Saturday, May 18, now is the time to take advantage of the advance ticket price of $10.  Purchase your tickets online by clicking HERE or give the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office a call at 314-241-5031.

In addition to the architecturally significant, historic buildings on the tour (a sampling of which can be seen in the collage above), this year’s event will show off the five Sustainable Land Lab projects being implemented on 4 empty lots within the Crown Square area.  Preceding the official start of the Old North House & Community Tour (which starts at 10 a,m.), Mayor Francis Slay and leaders behind the Sustainable Land Lab will mark the formal groundbreakings for the Land Lab projects with a ceremony at 9 a.m., starting with the Sunflower + project at 1316-24 Warren.  For more information on the Land Lab project and plans for this weekend, click HERE.  All 5 projects will have representatives at their sites to present their plans and answer questions starting at 10 a.m.

Bistro Box Sustainable Land Lab Project

RR Farm Sustainable Land Lab Project

Mighty Mississippians Sustainable Land Lab Project

Sunflower+ Sustainable Land Lab Project

Chess Pocket Park Sustainable Land Lab Project

Chess Pocket Park Sustainable Land Lab Project

Two of the stops on the tour will feature new businesses at Crown Square: Blackmun Footcare, at 2606 N. 14th Street, and Kennedy’s Pet shop across the street at 2601 N. 14th Street.  Dr. Annessa Blackmun celebrated the grand opening of her business several weeks ago, and Saturday will be the first chance for the community and other visitors to see the space where Seth Turner of Kennedy’s Pet Shop will be offering pet lovers with a variety of services, from dog-walking to pet treats and pet food delivery.

Other businesses that will be stops along the tour include La Mancha Coffeehouse, which will be offering a free cup of coffee to all tour-goers and will be showing off their soon-to-open expanded space at 2800 N. 14th; City Bar & Grill at North Market & Blair, which will be offering free toasted ravioli; and Old North Grocery Co-op at St. Louis Avenue & N. 13th Street.  As the aerial image of Crown Square below shows, the heart of Old North is buzzing with activity these days, especially with the opening of new businesses at Crown Square and the start-up of activities at the Land Lab lots.

The big day will also include the opening of a new exhibition in the Old North Gallery.

PPRC PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT: REVITALIZING

THE PPRC PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT IS A PROGRAM OF THE PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH CENTER AT UMSL.

The goal of the PPRC Photography Project is to raise the visibility of community groups working to improve the quality of life in St. Louis.  We focus on groups working in four areas: social services, youth/older adult enrichment, historic preservations and community revitalization.  This exhibition includes photographs from five Photography Projects completed by community groups working on revitalization and/or historic preservation.

• Old North St. Louis Restoration Group—our 1st Photography Project!

• Lewis Place Historic Preservation, Inc.

• Granite City Downtown Revitalization

• JVL: A multi-generational group of JeffVanderLou residents

• Downtown Dutchtown Business Association

• Cherokee/Benton Park West Small Business Incubator

Each group polled its members to come up with volunteers to complete Photography Project training. (Training entails 9-13 sessions on digital photography, photo collage and autobiographical writing taught by a professional artist/photographer.)  At the end of training we mount two exhibitions of the photographs taken by community group members (one at UMSL and one in the community near the group’s location).  We also produce a professional quality brochure and opening announcement.  The Project Instructors for the groups in this exhibition were: Lois Ingrum, Ron Laboray, Chinyere Oteh and Lyndsey Scott.  I conducted the Old North St. Louis Project training.

Many thanks to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group for giving us the opportunity to show these works from the Photography Project Collection!  (Check out all 900+ works in the Collection at pprc.umsl.edu.

–Mel Watkin, Director

The registration area for the tour once again will take place at the corner of N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue, which means this will be the first official event to take place at our new and improved plaza area for Crown Square.  While you’re there to pick up your tour booklet and information from our sponsors, take a few moments to enjoy music on the new stage and have a seat at one of the new umbrella-shaded tables.

And don’t forget that this year’s tour will also celebrate Crown Candy Kitchen’s century of service to Old North!

And what better way to commemorate Crown Candy’s 100th anniversary than with a taste of their legendary ice cream?  All tour-goers will receive a coupon for a free cup of ice cream, courtesy of Crown Candy but redeemable at the Old North Gallery on the day of the tour.

So, while we’ve got you thinking of historic architecture, community revitalization, sustainability, art, and ice cream, now is the time to get your tickets for the big day!

Also, if you’ve got some time this Saturday, it’s not too late to sign up to volunteer to help with a variety of tasks.  All volunteers receive free passes for the tour and can attend the after-tour party.  Contact Claire Wolff at the ONSLRG office (by email: claire@onsl.org or by phone: 314-241-5031) to sign up to volunteer.

Thank you again to all of our sponsors who have made this year’s tour possible, especially PNC Bank for being our lead sponsor.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Old North House & Community Tour: Saturday, May 18 (Just 17 Days Away!)

Call your relatives, email your colleagues, send Facebook messages to your friends, and Tweet your followers - and invite all of them to join you in Old North on Saturday, May 18 for the annual Old North House & Community Tour.

Tickets are available for $10 in advance and $12 on the day of the tour.  Advance tickets can be purchased at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office (2700 N. 14th Street) or online by clicking HERE.

In addition to the usual mix of historic homes (in varying stages of redevelopment), gardens, and new businesses in award-winning and architecturally significant buildings, this year’s tour will also feature the 5 Sustainable Land Lab demonstration projects being implemented on 4 lots in the Crown Square area, the recently improved corner plaza at N. 14th St. and St. Louis Ave., and a special spotlight on Crown Candy Kitchen in honor of the legendary Old North restaurant’s 100th anniversary.

The tour is made possible by financial support from our generous sponsors, including this year’s Tour Presenter

…and dozens of other tour sponsors, including Bank of America, BMO Harris, Commerce Bank, and U.S. Bank. Although the program booklet will be going to the printers soon, sponsorship opportunities are still available.  If you know of a business that wants to be affiliated with sustainable, comprehensive urban revitalization, please refer them to the ONSLRG office or download the sponsorship information by clicking HERE.

To help you get in the mood for the tour, we’ve dusted off the brief, rapid-pace video we prepared for last year’s tour, which highlighted some of transformations that have taken place in Old North in recent years. Take a look, and please feel free to “like” it and send the link on to others if you think it conveys the dynamic pace and positive changes that have taken place in Old North over the past few years.

Old North Transformations Tour Promo

Thank you to Old North resident Joe Eisenbraun for allowing us to use his music in this video.

If you’d like to pick up a pile of OId North House & Community Tour tickets to sell (or flyers or postcards to distribute), give us a call at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office at 314-241-5031.

2COMMENTS
Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rain Postpones Land Lab Groundbreaking But Can’t Dampen Enthusiasm & National Exposure

Due to the drizzly weather today, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sustainable Land Lab project has been postponed until a later date.  Watch for details later on the re-scheduled date.

Despite the rain, work crews from some of the Land Lab projects were on-site today to begin transforming the empty lots into attractive and functional demonstrations of positive re-uses of vacant land in the city.

The Mighty Mississippians crew was willing to brave the elements to begin planting on the lot at 13th and Montgomery.

The Mighty Mississippians crew was willing to brave the elements to begin planting on the lot at 13th and Montgomery.

The Bistro Box team installed a signboard to show visitors what will be coming to the northeast corner of 13th and Montgomery.

The Bistro Box team installed a signboard to show visitors what will be coming to the northeast corner of 13th and Montgomery.

Although the ceremonial kick-off didn’t happen, that hasn’t stopped the buzz and outside interest in the project.  Yesterday the American Public Radio program, Marketplace, broadcast a story about the Land Lab on public radio stations across the country (including St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 FM).  Click on the image below (or HERE) to read the text version of the story or to listen to the story online.

Thank you to St. Louis Public Radio reporter Adam Allington for getting this story out to the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, at the corner of N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue, work is being completed on a major upgrade to the Crown Square plaza space across the street from Crown Candy Kitchen.

Made possible with financial support from Equifax Foundation and the Regional Business Council, the project was planned and coordinated by Rebuilding Together St. Louis.  Volunteer crews fromScottrade and Equifax put in a lot of labor over the past few days to achieve these great improvements.

With covered outdoor seating, we look forward to attracting some of the customers at Crown Candy who just can’t wait for a table inside and other visitors to the community.  And, the covered stage area will also be a great amenity for our live music and other performers who come out to the North City Farmers’ Market and other events throughout the year.

Thank you again to all of the volunteers, Equifax, Scottrade, Rebuilding Together St. Louis, and all who contribute their time and resources to help us beautify and improve Old North!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, April 19, 2013

Thank You to All of Today’s Volunteers

We’re in the midst of last minute preparations for this evening’s Trivia Night for North City Farmers’ Market and the 13th Street Community Garden, but we first would like to thank all of the volunteers who joined us today and put in hundreds of hours of hard work on neighborhood improvement projects that otherwise would have taken us weeks to complete.

It all started with the St. Louis Rams, who then reached out to Monsanto.  Eventually, we ended up with about 100 outside volunteers who came in to work in multiple teams led by ONSLRG staff and board members and neighborhood residents.

The following are just some of the photos of the hard work put in by these generous individuals.  Click HERE to see more photos in our Volunteers folder on our Facebook site.

Thanks to the assistance of the employee-volunteers from the St. Louis Rams and Monsanto, and other volunteers from Old North (and our practicum students Kristin and Becky), we were able to get new street trees planted along Montgomery and N. 13th Street, a trench dug and a new irrigation system installed at the 13th Street Community Garden, the garden’s storage shed got pointed (and much other garden work got done), weeds got pulled at Wingmann Park, and we even were able to get tables and chairs moved down the street and set up in the former Sobel Dept. Store building in time for this evening’s trivia night.  Thank you again to all for all of your help!

Later we’ll be posting a big thank you to all of the volunteers who are working at this very minute to make it possible for the trivia night to happen!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trivia Night Just 2 Days Away… But Still Time to Join Us!

If supporting 2 great causes isn’t enough, we’ve got a lot of other good reasons for you to attend the 3rd Annual Old North Trivia Night benefit for North City Farmers’ Market and 13th Street Community Garden.  The following represents our Top 10 reasons to attend the trivia night THIS FRIDAY, April 19, at 7 p.m.:

(1) complimentary beverages, courtesy of Six Row Brewing Co. and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.;

(2) an opportunity to enjoy the company of a great mix of passionate and engaged community residents and friends of Old North;

(3) a silent auction featuring many incredible items, including:

  • St. Louis Cardinals memorabilia (such as items autographed by the late, great Stan Musial);
  • Posters from Firecracker Press;
  • Delmar Loop package, with gift certificates to events at the Tivoli and the Pageant;
  • many other items from Left Bank Books, Washington Avenue Post, the Curio Shoppe, Black Bear Bakery, knitted items from Norah Ryan… and even more come;

(4) an opportunity to spend a Friday evening in the award-winning Crown Square (2010 “Overall Excellence in Historic Preservation” Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation & HUD Secretary) in the heart of an award-winning community (2011 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from EPA and 2013 Growing Green Award from U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway chapter, among others);

(5) this year’s event will take place in the spacious former Sobel Dept. Store building at 2612-24 N. 14th Street (see below), which means you’ll have plenty of breathing room and won’t have to worry about the competitors at the next table overhearing all of your good answers;

2612-24 N. 14th Street, before & after Crown Square redevelopment

2612-24 N. 14th Street, before & after Crown Square redevelopment

(6) door prizes, 50-50 raffle, and other opportunities to win a variety of unique items;

(7) cash prize for the winning team;

(8) the chance to exercise your brain and challenge your memory - and if you’re good, you can show off how smart you are; if you’re not so adept at trivial matters, you can demonstrate how good you are at not sweating the small stuff;

OK, we said there are plenty of reasons to attend Friday night other than the next 2, but we can’t have a Top 10 list without the most important reasons:

(9) help make it possible for the 13th Street Community Garden to continue growing some great, fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables for residents of Old North, some of which is made available for sale at Old North Grocery Co-op and North City Farmers’ Market;

(10) help make it possible for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group to cover the costs of coordinating North City Farmers’ Market throughout the market’s 7th season!

So, now that we’ve convinced you, here are the not-so-trivial facts to remember:

When: Friday, April 19 at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Tickets: $15/person or $100/table of 8

How to RSVP: stop by the ONSRLG Offices (2700 North 14th Street), or call (314) 241-5031, or send an e-mail to info@onsl.org.

Please help us spread the word by passing this along to others who might be interested.  We’ll look forward to seeing you Friday evening!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, April 11, 2013

And the Winners of the Land Lab Competition Are…

From the official press release put out by the City of St. Louis and Washington University:

The City of St. Louis is poised to lead the way in innovative solutions to the national urban issue of vacant land, thanks to a unique partnership between the city and Washington University.

Four of the City’s vacant lots will be the new home for five demonstration projects that test new ways to think of vacant space. From a franchise-model urban farm co-existing next to an intimate bistro built out of re-used shipping containers, to a sunflower lab piloting efficiency of plant-based soil remediation, Old North St. Louis will be the first home to what will truly be a Sustainable Land Lab.

Winners of the inaugural Sustainable Land Lab Competition are:

Bistro Box and Our Farm: The Bistro Box concept is a small business incubator that transforms surplus cargo containers into a compact restaurant and culinary destination. Our Farm is a scalable urban agriculture network that proposes to transform blighted lots into cost efficient models of sustainability. **This is a hybrid of two finalist teams sharing a single lot due to the synergy between the two projects**

Chess Pocket Park: An outdoor community chess venue for residents with a permanent location supporting our primary community asset – people.

Mighty Mississippians: A modern agricultural and sustainable living model, the premises for this approach are rooted in regional history, the Mississippians and their ancestors, as well as modern permaculture practices. Using concepts of permaculture, the site will demonstrate the interdependent relationships that work efficiently and sustainably in nature and that worked for previous civilizations, from the soil to the birds, to humans.

Sunflower+ Project: Proposes turning previously developed urban lots into a community asset through the planting of sunflowers. With a goal of eventually spurring redevelopment of these vacant parcels, the project will serve as an appropriate, scalable and productive transitional solution.The sunflowers will improve soil quality, remove soil contaminants, and eventually produce a marketable set of products from flowers to seeds to biodiesel.

Each winning project will receive a two-year land lease and $5,000 seed money to start their project.

In the inaugural year of this city-wide competition, the pilot sites will be hosted in Old North St. Louis.

“The Sustainable Land Lab Competition is exploring innovative ideas for a national issue,” says Phil Valko, director of sustainability at the university.

“From urban to suburban to rural communities, vacant land is an American epidemic. This competition is adding to the dialogue and the body of problem solving,” he says. “The aspect that makes it especially unique is that the winners will actually win access to land and money to build their idea. The partnership between the city and Washington University in St. Louis is of great benefit to both. It leverages the university’s role as a thought-leader and research institution to channel creative thinking to a major challenge the city faces.”

The competition timing aligns well with the release of the first City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan.

“Advancing tangible and measureable sustainability has been an important goal of this project,” says Catherine Werner, sustainability director for the City of St. Louis. “Part of the challenge was for the teams to specifically address how their projects will help achieve the city’s sustainability goals. It’s very exciting to now have the opportunity to watch as creative sustainability ideas become reality.”

“I am thrilled that we have been able to partner with Washington University on this project,” says St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “There was an overwhelming amount of interest and support from the community and the result was a high level of energy and an impressive array of final project ideas. It was difficult to select just a few winning projects. I look forward to celebrating and learning from the winning projects and using ideas from all the projects involved to address vacant land use in the city.”

The winning teams will present their ideas during a public forum at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Bridge, 1004 Locust St. in St. Louis.

Forty-eight teams applied in the first of a three-round competition. The final round consisted of eight ideas representing 10 of the original teams.

All of the submissions can be found online at sustainablecities.wustl.edu/land-labs-competition/submissions/.

The competition brief, which outlines the goals and context for this initiative, can be found online at sustainablecities.wustl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/SustainableLandLab_CompetitionBrief_110212.pdf.

The Sustainable Land Lab is a partnership between Washington University and the City of St. Louis, with support from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, Equifax and the Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance.

It is the ongoing legacy of Washington University’s three-day Sustainable Cities Conference, held Nov. 1-3, 2012. The Sustainable Land Lab is designed to be a living laboratory of two-year demonstration projects, which will showcase innovative ideas and integrated strategies for transforming one of the region’s greatest challenges — vacant land — into an asset that can advance sustainability.

Please join us this evening in celebrating the completion of the selection process.

The official groundbreaking and start of work on these projects will take place on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. The locations are marked on the map below.

Images of the projects (below) were part of the groups’ final concept boards submitted for Round 3.

Selected for Lot 1 at 2711 N. 14th Street:  Chess Pocket Park

Selected for Lot 4 at 1318-24 Warren:  Sunflower + Project

Selected for Lot 5 at 1300-06 Montgomery:  Mighty Mississippians

Selected for Lot 6 at 1303 Motgomery: Bistro Box and Our Farm

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our Latest E-Newsletter & Invitations to Join us for Land Lab Celebration (THIS Thurs.) & Trivia Night (next Fri.)

If you didn’t get our latest e-Newsletter in your in-box, click the image below to view the web-version. And if you’d like to get on the subscription list to receive these periodic messages in your in-box, just send an email to info@ONSL.org and put “subscribe to e-newsletter” in the subject line or in the message.

Within this issue, please take note of two special events coming up that we invite you to attend:

1) Thursday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. - Celebration & reception in honor of the Sustainable Land Lab Competition winning projects at Bridge, 1004 Locust Street in Downtown St. Louis.

2) Next Friday, April 19, at 7 p.m. - 3rd annual Trivia Night to benefit North City Farmers’ Market and 13th Street Community Garden at 2612 N. 14th Street.

===================================

::::::  Sustainable Land Lab Celebration  ::::::

The jury for the Sustainable Land Lab Competition has made their selections - and the winners will be announced on Thursday.  Come out to celebrate with the winners and hear their presentations on what they’ll be doing on the selected lots in the Crown Square area of Old North.  We’re hoping representatives from the teams that did not get selected through this process will also be in attendance, so this should provide another opportunity to lobby them to pursue their concepts at other sites in Old North. The event will take place at Bridge in Downtown at 1004 Locust.  Doors open at 6 with the program beginning at 6:30 p.m.  See the flyer below for more details.

:::::::  Trivia Night  :::::::

Whether you’re a trivia buff or just enjoy being around a lot of cool people - come on out on Friday, April 19 for a fun time in support of two great causes.

The trivia night to benefit North City Farmers’ Market and the 13th Street Community Garden has become an annual tradition now.  As the photo above shows, we had a full house at last year’s event - and advance reservations for this year have already exceeded last year’s number.  So, by popular demand, we’re moving the event across Montgomery Street to the former Sobel Dept. Store building at 2612-24 N. 14th Street.

With a little more than a week to go, you still have time to get your team together. We’ll have some light refreshments and complimentary beverages courtesy of Six Row Brewery and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. The cost is $15 per person or a table of 8 is just $100.  If you want to come but can’t drum up 7 friends to go in on a table, you still can participate!  In addition to fun questions and prizes, we’ll have superb silent auction items (including some great Cardinals memorabilia) and more.

To reserve your space, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@ONSL.org.

And… even if you can’t attend the trivia night, you can still support ONSLRG’s work to bring healthy and affordable foods to Old North as part of our comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy.  All of these projects take a lot of time and coordination - and we need your financial support to continue this work.  Please make a contribution today! Click HERE or on the button below to make a secure, online contribution.  Or, if you’d like to discuss other ways to contribute, give us a call.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Celebrate Crown Square’s Newest Commercial Tenant: Blackmun Footcare Grand Opening Sat., April 6

All residents of Old North and friends of the community are invited (and strongly encouraged!) to welcome Dr. Annessa Blackmun to Crown Square this Saturday from 3-6 p.m.

Blackmun Footcare will occupy space in the building that had originally been built for Peters Brothers Dry Goods and Clothing Co. in 1881 (with an addition in 1888).  In 1928, the building became home to the first J.C. Penney store in St. Louis.

The Peters Bros. Dry Goods & Clothing Co. building in the 1890s (source unknown).

The Peters Bros. Dry Goods & Clothing Co. building in the 1890s (source unknown).

The Peters Dry Goods building in the 1920s prior to the arrival of J.C. Penney's.

The Peters Dry Goods & Clothing Co. building 85 years ago, prior to the arrival of J.C. Penney's

After J.C. Penney moved out in 1975, the ground floor space housed a variety of different stores, including Gervich Furniture and Western Auto.

2600-10 N. 14th Street in the late 1970s, after the street was converted to a pedestrian mall.

2600-10 N. 14th Street in the late 1970s, after the street was converted to a pedestrian mall.

Until the building was redeveloped as part of the Crown Square project, the building had been in rough condition for a number of years.

In 2005 the building was boarded up but still standing.

In 2005 the building was boarded up but still standing.

With residential units upstairs and on portions of the first floor (including the storefront at the far left), the building at 2600-2610 N. 14th is just days away from welcoming Blackmun Footcare.

With residential units upstairs and on portions of the first floor (including the storefront at the far left), the building at 2600-2610 N. 14th is just days away from welcoming Blackmun Footcare.

Please stop by between 3 and 6 p.m. on Saturday to thank Dr. Blackmun for bringing her business to Old North - and if you have any footcare needs, be sure to make an appointment while you’re at it.

Watch for more news soon about other soon-to-come commercial tenants at Crown Square. If you have other businesses that you’d like to see at one of the few remaining spaces, invite their owners to come on out Saturday to see what’s possible - or give Susan Sauer of Duffe-Nuernberger a call at 314-571-7654 or send her an email at ssauer@ndconsulting.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, March 31, 2013

ONSLRG Receives “Growing Green” Award for Leading Old North’s Transformation

This past Thursday the Missouri Gateway Region chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council presented Old North St. Louis Restoration Group with one of their 2013 Growing Green Awards in recognition of the dramatic transformation achieved in Old North in recent years and the role ONSLRG has played in leading the effort.  ONSLRG was nominated for the “Community Champion” award by Rosemann & Associates.  firm.

ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and Executive Director Sean Thomas were on hand Thursday to receive the award.

The Executive Summary of the nomination by Rosemann highlights ONSLRG’s perspective that “sustainability is more than the built environment” and the organization’s “programming and activities to cultivate relationships among long‐time residents and newcomers.”

Many programs, including a multi‐pronged healthy eating strategy with a farmers’ market, produce‐growing community gardens, and a neighborhood‐owned grocery co‐op, enable residents to enjoy healthier lifestyles and enhance community connections. These and other examples are eloquent testimony to Old North’s commitment, community spirit, and leadership in creating a diverse, vibrant and sustainable community within the city of St Louis that can serve as a brilliant example of how true sustainability is conceived and practiced.

Recent events from the past couple weeks provide good illustrations of this commitment to community-building.  On the same evening as the Growing Growing Green Awards ceremony, the monthly Neighborhood Open Meeting was under way at the Old North Gallery, and last Sunday, ONSLRG hosted an event which will undoubtedly become a new spring tradition (even though we were still digging out from a good 10 inches of snow at the time):  a community celebration with children’s crafts, face-painting, and free photos with the Old North Easter Bunny.

Thank you Ann Hubbard of Photomaton for taking the pictures.

Thank you Ann Hubbard of Photomaton for taking the pictures.

Thank you Jessica Neal for handling the face-painting duties.

Thank you Jessica Neal for handling the face-painting duties.

Thank you to all of our staff , practicum students, and volunteers who make these events possible.  And because coordinating a neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy takes a lot of time and planning, we are lucky to have a professional staff and an office to coordinate the many details.  To help us cover these costs and to continue the work of facilitating a sustainable transformation, please make a contribution to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group today.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Join us Thursday, March 28, for This Month’s Neighborhood Open Meeting

Please join us for this month’s Neighborhood Open Meeting this Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group offices, 2700 N. 14th Street.  Speakers include:

  • Seth Turner from Kennedy Pet Shop and Beth Ketcher from Studio STL, both of whom will talk about their respective businesses opening soon in Crown Square;
  • Officer Lori Wozniak to discuss neighborhood safety issues;
  • Michelle Howard from Energy Care to talk about the energy-related services that they provide to the neighborhood; and
  • a group from the Sustainable Land Lab competition to talk about implementing a healing/meditative garden space in the neighborhood

Should be a good one! Please spread the word and encourage other neighbors to attend.  Refreshments will be provided!

See you Thursday!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Scenes from Land Lab Exhibit and Open Mic for Arts in Old North

Thank you to all of the residents and friends of Old North who came out to the Old North Gallery on Thursday evening to view the Sustainable Land Lab exhibit and afterwards to speak up for the arts in Old North.  As noted in our post from earlier on Thursday, the evening offered a convergence of art, sustainability, and community in the form of two, back-to-back events: a reception for the viewing of concept boards in the Sustainable Land Lab Competition, and an “open mic” session designed to allow residents and other community stakeholders an opportunity to express their thoughts on the presence of arts in Old North and their ideas for how additional support for the arts can help further the neighborhood’s revitalization.

Sustainable Land Lab Competition Exhibit Reception

St. Louis Beacon - Kresge Arts St. Louis Open Mic Event

Attendees were greeted with the upbeat steel drum music of Jamaica Ray.

A standing-room-only crowd was on hand to share their perspectives and listen to each others' thoughts on the role of arts in Old North.

A standing-room-only crowd was on hand to share their perspectives and listen to each others' thoughts on the role of arts in Old North.

William Burton Jr. of the 14th Street Artist Community discussed the capacity of the arts to bring different groups of people together.

William Burton Jr. of the 14th Street Artist Community discussed the capacity of the arts to bring different groups of people together.

Dave Eisenbraun shared his experience of raising three sons in Old North and how pleased he is that his son & daughter-in-law are raising his granddaughter in the neighborhood.

Dave Eisenbraun shared his experience of raising three sons in Old North and how pleased he is that his son & daughter-in-law are raising his granddaughter in the neighborhood.

ONSLRG's community engagement specialist, Claire Wolff, described how arts have been a key part of many of the group's initiatives, including music and children's activities at the North City Farmers' Market.

ONSLRG's community engagement specialist, Claire Wolff, described how arts have been a key part of many of the group's initiatives, including music and children's activities at the North City Farmers' Market.

Former ONSLRG intern M.K. Stallings talked about the power of poetry and how much the neighborhood has changed for the better over the past 10 years.

Former ONSLRG intern M.K. Stallings talked about the power of poetry and how much the neighborhood has changed for the better over the past 10 years.

Terry Harris, with his daughter Mhari at his side, shared why he and his family recently moved into Old North and what he appreciates about the arts programming for children that Old North already offers.

Terry Harris, with his daughter Mhari at his side, shared why he and his family recently moved into the neighborhood and what he appreciates about the arts programming for children that Old North already offers.

We had many more who took their turn at the microphone and offered their testimonials about Old North, but due to space limitations, we can’t acknowledge or show you all of them.  However, please check out the St. Louis Beacon’s report on the event, which includes a brief summary and a video of selections from the meeting.  Click HERE for their report, “Old North residents celebrate rebirth, discuss what can be.”

If you couldn’t make it to the event but still want your voice to be heard, you can express your thoughts, ideas, hopes or other observations online, through Wednesday, March 27, by clicking HERE.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tonight: Come See the Works of a Neighborhood Artist, Review the Land Lab Concepts, & Share Your Thoughts About Art in Old North

Starting at 5 p.m. this evening, we’re hosting a great mix of conversation and community engagement around the issues of art, open space, and community sustainability.   Please join us for all of the above, and enjoy some tasty refreshments while you’re at it.

On your way to the events at the Old North Gallery (2700 N. 14th Street, just one block south of Crown Candy Kitchen), please take some time to appreciate the artwork on display in several of the storefronts along the 2600 and 2700 blocks of N. 14th Street.  In addition to the art that can be seen regularly at St. Louis ArtWorks (2707 N. 14th Street) and the 14th Street Artist Community (2701 N. 14th Street), we are pleased to announce that Old North resident Marguerite Corey has graciously allowed some samples of her incredible artwork to be put on exhibit in the windows of other buildings at Crown Square for a limited time.

Marguerite’s work involves paper folded into a variety of shapes and 3-dimensional objects, often with backlighting to allow the pieces to be seen at night and to feature the different shades of paper or to bring out the the dimension and depth of the items.

Please view Marguerite’s work at 2601, 2607-09, 2617, and 2700 N. 14th Street.  This last address is the office of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (see below), in the windows near the main entrance to the office, not the gallery entrance.

After you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to view Marguerite’s artwork, come on down to the Old North Gallery to see the exhibit of display boards from the Sustainable Land Lab Competition.  Members of the teams behind the proposed projects will be on hand to discuss their concepts for temporary re-uses of empty lots in a way that demonstrates sustainability.  And since not all of the concepts will be selected through this competition for implementation on 4 lots in Old North, this informal gathering offers a good setting for a conversation about how the project concepts might be implemented elsewhere in Old North (or other neighborhoods) apart from the competition.

The Land Lab exhibit reception runs from 5 - 7 p.m.

More details about the Sustainable Land Lab Competition can be found at the site maintained by Washington University’s Office of Sustainability by clicking HERE.

Then, at 7 p.m., we’ll play host to an event brought to us by the St. Louis Beacon and the Kresge Foundation. The Kresge Foundation has awarded a planning grant to the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation to partner with the Arts and Education Council and the Regional Arts Commission to identify neighborhoods where a stronger arts presence can serve as a tipping point for sustainability and vitality. We are very pleased that Old North is one of 4 neighborhoods in St. Louis under consideration through this planning process.  Tonight’s “Open Mic” event will provide residents and friends of Old North - and anyone else who cares - an allotment of 3-minutes each to express their thoughts on how the arts are present in Old North today, how the arts have played a role in the community’s revitalization to date, and how additional support for the arts can stimulate or foster even more community rejuvenation.

The “open mic” session is scheduled to last no more than an hour.  If you’d like to take a turn at the microphone to share your opinion, please arrive by 6:30 p.m. to sign up to speak.

We will have refreshments at both of the events thanks to generous contributions from Washington University Office of Sustainability and the St. Louis Beacon.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, March 11, 2013

Join us for some conversation about sustainability, the arts, & community

On Thursday, March 21, the Old North Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street, will play host to two, back-to-back events that have direct implications for a vibrant, healthy, and dynamic community.  Please join us for light refreshments and good conversation at both of these gatherings - and invite your neighbors to come along with you.

5 - 7 p.m. RECEPTION FOR SUSTAINABLE LAND LAB EXHIBIT

The Sustainable Land Lab Competition exhibition at the Old North Gallery has been extended!  Please join us on Thursday, March 21 from 5-7 p.m. to view display boards from the 14 teams that were selected to advance to round 2 of the competition – and see which ones are advancing to the next round.  Come meet some of the individuals who are behind these creative ideas for sustainable re-uses of vacant lots and learn what it will take to implement these inspiring proposals.

For more information on the Sustainable Land Lab competition, which is co-sponsored by Washington University’s Office of Sustainability and the City of St. Louis - and details about the various proposals, visit the Land Lab website by clicking HERE.

7 - 8 p.m.  ”OPEN MIC” TO TELL US WHAT THE ARTS MEAN TO OLD NORTH

Presented by The St. Louis Beacon and Old North St. Louis Restoration Group

St. Louis has received a grant from the Kresge Foundation* to find out from YOU how the arts impact your lives, your neighborhood and your work.  Old North is one of 4 neighborhoods in St. Louis under consideration for possible support for arts investments that could stimulate additional community development.  With that in  mind, we are holding an “open mic” event to give you a chance to share your thoughts on the arts.  Each person who signs up will receive 3 minutes at the microphone to tell us and the project planners what we should know about how the arts are at work in Old North now - or how you envision they could be in the future. The feedback from this event will be included in the final report to the grantee.

Come early to sign up to speak and take advantage of the opportunity to see the  of Sustainable Land Lab Competition exhibition.  Sign up starts at 6:30, program at 7 and will last for a maximum of 60 minutes.

Some questions to get you thinking:

  • How can the arts benefit you? The Old North community?
  • How can the arts create or further define a “sense of place” in Old North?
  • How could individual artists be supported through a long-term commitment to arts programming in Old North?
  • How might arts programs bring additional economic viability to Old North? …or to the St. Louis region?
  • What is your vision for the arts in Old North? For the region?
  • What advice do you have for the Kresge arts partners as they consider programming recommendations?

*The Kresge Arts St. Louis grant is managed by the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation in partnership with Arts & Education Council of St. Louis and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis.

Please help us spread the word  - print this off and pass it along to your neighbors or post it where others can see it.  And for the social media-savvy, please post this information to Facebook, send a tweet on Twitter, and post a note on your LinkedIn account.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, March 9, 2013

How can YOU help Old North Continue Revitalization & Defy the Odds?

It’s not easy to turn a neighborhood around after more than a half-century-long downward spiral.  The little, historic neighborhood of Old North Saint Louis, however, is defying the odds and confounding the skeptics. Old North’s success with attracting new residents and businesses has demonstrated that reversing the pattern of abandonment and decay is possible.  And the dramatic 28% population gain from 2000-2010 shows how incredibly effective community-based development can be, especially when it involves strategic and coordinated investments in historic preservation, mixed income housing development, and other public improvements.

But the job is far from over.  The loss of historic buildings that reflect the neighborhood’s unique character and architectural integrity can undermine Old North’s positive momentum.  The devastating fire that consumed 1415 Benton yesterday provides a disturbing illustration of the continuing danger to the health, safety, reputation, and overall viability of the community posed by abandonment and neglect.

Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group has shown over and over again how vacant, historic, and even severely deteriorated buildings can be transformed into attractive and productive community assets.  For examples of some of these developments, click on the photo below to see a short YouTube video.

None of that would have been possible without an engaged and determined community and a neighborhood-based community development organization with the charge of preserving Old North’s history and unique sense of place.

Although the comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization of Old North requires major investments in the physical dimension of the neighborhood (through historic preservation, new home construction, neighborhood clean-ups, and community gardens), a viable and sustainable community also requires a healthy social dimension.  Consequently, ONSLRG’s work also involves addressing the needs of the community’s residents - as defined by the community - and efforts to nurture strong and supportive relationships among residents.  One of the best vehicles for achieving both of these goals has been the North City Farmers’ Market.  The open-air market in the heart of the neighborhood (every Saturday from June through October) brings healthy and affordable foods to the neighborhood and serves as a weekly platform for informal community building.  As an event that is open to all residents, as well as visitors, the market  celebrates the diversity of the community, shows off the vibrancy of the neighborhood, and draws customers to the new businesses setting up shop at Crown Square.  Click on the image below to see a short, high quality video that captures the spirit and atmosphere of the North City Farmers’ Market.

ONSLRG’s ambitious mission to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character requires a lot of time and effort from both volunteers and professional staff.  If you’d like to contribute some of your time, click HERE to learn more about the various opportunities to volunteer with ONSLRG.

Because Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group relies on residents, friends, and other supportive individuals to cover a significant chunk of our costs for maintaining an office, employing a professional staff, and implementing a broad variety of community improvement initiatives, your financial contribution can help us continue our work.  Nearly 3/4 of ONSLRG’s $338,709 operating budget for 2013 will need to come from foundations, corporate grants, individual contributions, and memberships.  Since corporate and foundation grants require a good deal of staff time to research and prepare applications, direct contributions from individuals and businesses represent the best way to allow our staff to dedicate more of their time and focus to the work of revitalizing Old North. Please show your support by clicking on the Donate Now! button below.

If you know of others who may be interested in our work, please pass this information along to them via personal contact, postings on Facebook, or tweets on Twitter.  Thank you to all who have helped ONSLRG do so much over the past 32 years.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, March 8, 2013

A Mixed Day of Sadness & Hope in Old North

Earlier today a massive fire destroyed the vacant building at 1415 Benton within a period of no more than 45 minutes.  The building has been vacant and owned by Northside Regeneration LLC for about six years.

By the time firefighters arrived, it was too late to save the building.  The east wall (on the right side) completely collapsed moments after the photo above was taken, and the whole building was a pile of rubble within a matter of minutes.  The photo below shows a small portion of the front wall, all that remains of 1415 Benton, and significant damage to the building at 1417-19 Benton.

Old North Saint Louis is home to three separate National Register Historic Districts; the largest, the Murphy-Blair district, covers most of Old North, including the 1400 block of Benton.  Although we’re glad that no one was injured in today’s fire, the loss of any “contributing” historic property jeopardizes the viability of the whole district.

A Different Mood in the Afternoon

In contrast to the sadness over the loss of yet another historic property in Old North, we were very pleased to welcome a delegation of Fulbright Scholars this afternoon who came to the neighborhood to learn about the community’s revitalization and to contribute some of their time.  The volunteers helped with some interior work in the building which houses the Old North Grocery Co-op at 2718 N. 13th Street.

The students are in St. Louis for a conference of Fulbright Scholars attending colleges and universities in the U.S.  The students visiting Old North today were from Norway, Indonesia, Finland, Trinidad And Tobago, Togo, Chile, Ireland, Ecuador, United Kingdom, Montenegro, Latvia, Spain, St. Lucia, India, Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia, Denmark, and India.  The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 with a mission to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

In addition to their assistance at the Old North Grocery Co-op and other manual labor, the volunteers contributed to the economy of Old North by visiting Crown Candy Kitchen and other neighborhood establishments.

We thoroughly enjoyed the visit, the assistance, and the refreshing conversation.  Thank you to the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Institute of International Education for bringing the students to Old North.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It’s Election Day in Old North… Have You Voted Yet?

Voters in Old North are going to the polls to vote for candidates in races for Alderman (in both the 3rd & 5th Wards) and Mayor.  Be sure to get out and exercise your right to vote. Polls close at 7 p.m.

For information about polling places and who is on the ballot, visit the website for the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners by clicking HERE.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learn Details of Streetcar Proposal for Old North at March 7 Open House

If you’d like to learn more details about a new proposal to develop a streetcar line that will connect Old North to Downtown and other neighborhoods, you’ll get a good opportunity on Thursday, March 7.

The open house on March 7, from 4-7 p.m., will provide the public with an opportunity to see the plans, maps, and drawings, and to talk with the consultants who prepared the feasibility study for the route.

To learn more about the plan before the open house, you can read a good summary posted on the nextSTL website, written by Matt Fernandez, ONSLRG’s Community Development Specialist.  Click HERE for that article.  To download and print off the PDF version of the flyer to share with your neighbors or to post in a place where others will see it, click HERE.

The vertical yellow line shows the proposed route from Downtown to Old North via North Florissant

The vertical yellow line shows the proposed route from Downtown to Old North via North Florissant

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New YouTube video for North City Farmers’ Market

We’re a little more than three months away from the start of the farmers’ market season, but thanks to a generous contribution of time and professional skills by Megan Kimball, we have a new, high quality video that captures a bit of the sights, sounds, and feel of our North City Farmers’ Market.

Click on the image above or click HERE to view the video on YouTube.  And once you’re there, be sure to give it a “thumbs up” - and forward the link to all of your friends and/or share with others via Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you to Megan and all who agreed to be interviewed and/or cooperated in one way or another to make this video possible.

And while we’re on the subject of North City Farmers’ Market, our third annual trivia night fundraiser for the market and the 13th Street Community Garden is scheduled for Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. Since space is limited, it’s not too soon to get your table together and reserve your space now.  If you know of any good sources for items appropriate for the silent auction, contact our practicum students, Kristin and Becky, at the ONSLRG office to get them the information.

Contact the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@ONSL.org if you have any questions or if you’d like to volunteer to help with trivia night.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, February 22, 2013

Winter Days in Old North

The snowy weather that arrived yesterday may have caused some messes on the roads and highways, but in Old North, it just added to the neighborhood’s beauty.  Take a look at some of the scenery here in Old North over the past 24 hours.

Crown Square, from St. Louis Avenue just west of N. 14th Street

Crown Square, from St. Louis Avenue just west of N. 14th Street

1400 block of Warren, from Blair Avenue

1400 block of Warren, from Blair Avenue

Crown Square, from Warren and N. 14th Street

Crown Square, from Warren and N. 14th Street

Crown Square at 2700 block of N. 14th Street

Crown Square at 2700 block of N. 14th Street

Crown Square, with Therapy Boutique at left and Crown Candy across St. Louis Avenue

Crown Square, with Therapy Boutique at left and Crown Candy across St. Louis Avenue

2800 block of N. 14th Street

2800 block of N. 14th Street

1300 block of St. Louis Avenue (Northside Workshop)

1300 block of St. Louis Avenue (Northside Workshop)

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Highlights from Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck; and Welcome to New ONSLRG Board Members

Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group hosted the 2013 edition of our Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper on Monday evening with another good showing of neighbors, community stakeholders, and other friends of Old North.

Among the actions taken at the meeting, the following individuals were elected by ONSLRG’s members to serve on the ONSLRG Board, with terms running from February 2013 through February 2015:

  • David Eisenbraun (returning for another term on the Board), resident of 1400 block of Sullivan; senior engineer at Nidec Motors;
  • Graham Lane (also continuing service on the Board and currently serving as the Board’s Vice President), resident of 1300 block of North Market; sculptor / art instructor at St. Louis Community College;
  • Bryan Reckamp, resident of 1400 block of Sullivan; web developer / designer at Arsenal Studios;
  • Rev. Jonathan Stratton, executive director of Episcopal Services Corps (which recently purchased a home in Old North and will begin assigning interns to work with community-based organizations in the community in August) and Curate for Christ Church Cathedral.
In addition to these individuals, two others joining ONSLRG’s Board are:
  • Christina Blash, a member of Fresh Anointing Church (on Sullivan & N. 14th), as a presidential appointee; and
  • Terry Harris, a resident of 1300 block of North Market, who has accepted the opportunity to serve as co-chair of our Social Outreach Committee.
These new members will serve with members elected at the 2012 Annual Meeting and the chairs of ONSLRG’s five standing committees.   A full list can be found on the “Board” page of the “About Us” section of ONSL.org by clicking HERE.
Other scenes from the event:
Thank you to all who attended to celebrate the progress achieved in 2012 toward ONSLRG’s mission to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.  There is still much work to be done, so 2013 will continue to be another action-packed year of work.
ONSLRG staff and committee chairs presented information about the following upcoming events, programs or projects:
  • multiple neighborhood clean-up days, including the annual Brightside blitz weekend, April 6-7, and the St. Louis University “Showers of Service” Day on SaturdayApril 13, and other “Macho Action Group” board-up, clean-up Saturdays to be coordinated through the Real Estate Committee;
  • work days at the 13th Street Community Garden (Feb. 23 and March 16, both 9 a.m.-noon);
  • Neighborhood Open Meetings on the 4th Thursday of most months;
  • various tasks at Old North’s other community gardens, with plans to be discussed at the next Green Space Committee meeting on March 11 (6 p.m. at the ONSLRG office);
  • the ongoing “Brickstarter” campaign to support the preservation of historic buildings in Old North in need of stabilization, starting with the building at 1316 North Market;
  • the kick-off of several other public improvements on Saturday, April 27, including major enhancements of the Crown Square corner plaza area at N. 14th & St. Louis Avenue with Rebuilding Together and volunteers from Equifax, and work the 4 lots that will benefit from projects through the Sustainable Land Lab competition;
  • the 3rd Annual Trivia Night Fundraiser to benefit North City Farmers’ Market and the 13th Street Community Garden, scheduled for Friday, April 19;
  • the Annual Old North House & Community Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 18;
  • the 7th season of North City Farmers’ Market, Saturday mornings, June 1-October 12.
Attendees had the opportunity to sign up to volunteer with all of the above and to participate on one of ONSLRG’s committees (Fund Raising, Green Space, Marketing, Real Estate, and Social Outreach).  If you missed the meeting and still want to get involved, please send an email to info@onsl.org or give us a call at 314-241-5031.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, February 16, 2013

ONSLRG’s e-Newsletter, Article on “Characters” of Old North, + Reminder about ONSLRG Annual Meeting

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group e-Newsletter is out.  If you didn’t get this in your email in-box, click HERE to view the web-version.

Within this edition, you’ll find:

  • Another Invitation to Join Us on Monday, Feb. 18th for ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper
  • link to our YouTube video with very rapid-pace overview of most of the events, activities, and developments in Old North during 2012 (or you can just click HERE to see it)
  • link to a story and video in the St. Louis Beacon about Old North as a “Web of Artists, Rehabbers, and General Characters” (or you can just click HERE)
  • Congratulations (again) to Tino Ochoa for his being names one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40″ individuals who are making a difference in St. Louis
and…
  • Information about our “Brickstarter” campaign to raise funds for the stabilization and preservation of Old North’s architectural integrity, starting with the majestic, brick building at 1316 North Market
If you’d like to get added to our subscribers list to receive our e-newsletters directly in your email inbox, click on the Sign Up button just under the top images on the main page of ONSL.org.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Please join us: Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper; Run for the Chocolate; and Sustainable Land Lab Exhibit

Our 2013 calendars are still relatively new, but the event schedule is filling up fast.  Please celebrate the vitality of Old North by joining us at all (or as many as you can) of the following:

On Monday, February 18 at 6 p.m., Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group will hold the 2013 edition of our Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper.  This occasion has become a winter tradition for many neighbors and provides a wonderful opportunity to share a meal with a good mix of long-time residents and recent arrivals.  In addition to hearing about highlights from 2012 and learning about our plans for 2013, members will vote on the four positions on ONSLRG’s board (with terms running from 2013 until 2015) that are up for election this year.  Click HERE for information on the benefits of ONSLRG’s membership and how you can join.

In the meantime, we’d love to see you at a couple of other events:

Throughout the month of February - stop by ONSLRG’s gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street to take a look at the exhibit of the 14 Sustainable Land Lab competition proposals currently being considered for implementation on 4 lots in the Crown Square area.  Details about the proposals, from the materials submitted for the first round of the competition can be found by clicking HERE.  The boards on display at the ONSLRG Gallery provide more detail and other updates.  Comment forms are available at the gallery so that you can let us know which concepts you find most appealing.

The gallery is open during regular business hours (9-5, Monday-Friday) and occasionally for limited hours over the weekend or on weeknight evenings.  Call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 to check on after-hours options — or check back here for further announcements.

THIS Sunday, February 10, is the second annual Run for the Chocolate!  This pre-Valentines 5k run is a fun opportunity to show off the beauty and charm of Old North to up to a thousand visitors who will be running through the community.  Because the route involves running in the streets, several intersections will be closed off during the race, which also means there is a great need for volunteers to help direct traffic, hand out water (and chocolate!) to runners, and various other tasks.  Please contact the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or by email at info@ONSL.org if you can help — and we’ll put you in touch with the race organizers.

Hundreds of runners braved bitterly cold weather last year; this year's warmer temperatures should attract a much larger crowd.

Hundreds of runners braved bitterly cold weather last year; this year's warmer temperatures should attract a much larger crowd.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Photo by missriverbridge photos
Photo by missriverbridge photos

Please join us this Thursday, January 31, for the Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting.  The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.

Speakers include:

  • A representative from MODOT to discuss how the new Mississippi River bridge and work on Interstate 70 will affect the neighborhood / traffic patterns;

    The new westbound I-70 exit at Madison opened this week.

    The new westbound I-70 exit at Madison opened this week.

  • A representative from the Heartland Conservancy to discuss the Mounds Heritage Trail;
  • Officer Wozniak of the 5th Police District to discuss the Neighborhood Ownership Model and other safety issues;
As the flyer says, “Everyone is welcome!”  Please help us spread the word, and invite your neighbors to join you.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Six Churches in Old North Participate in MLK Day Gathering

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to service and community, members of ONSLRG and representatives from six churches serving Old North St. Louis gathered on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at ONSLRG’s gallery for a pot-luck supper to exchange information about the different congregations’ programming that address needs of the community.

Thank you to all who attended, including representatives from the following churches:

  • Fresh Anointing United Pentecostal Church
  • Greater Leonard Missionary Baptist Church
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Church
  • Hope Apostolic Church
  • Saints Cyril & Methodius Polish National Catholic Church
  • True Gospel Temple
We’ll gather information and materials shared at the gathering and will post that on this site later.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ONSLRG’s Blog Among Finalists for RFT’s 2013 Web Awards

This very blog is among the four finalists for the Riverfront Times 2013 Web Awards in the category of “Best Neighborhood Blog,” as announced in the Jan. 11 edition of the Daily RFT.

Winners will be announced later tonight at the “exclusive awards ceremony” - and we’ll be sure to post the news here if we come home with the award.  In the meantime, thank you to any and all who nominated us, and thank you to the judges for selecting this blog to be recognized among some rather impressive other blogs.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mark Your Calendar for Multiple Ways to Visit, Celebrate, and Support Old North!

The next few weeks will be chock full of events that will provide opportunities to visit, learn more about, celebrate, support, Old North St. Louis (and positive neighborhood development in general).  Come on out to join us at one or move of the following:

Monday, January 21 - 5:30 p.m. - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Gathering

In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to service and community, ONSLRG will be hosting a gathering of churches serving Old North and providing a forum for an exchange of information about the great variety of programs coordinated by these churches, from food pantries to health screenings.  For more information, contact Claire Wolff, ONSLRG’s Community Engagement Specialist: claire@onsl.org.

Thursday, January 24th - 5:30 p.m. - inveSTL Event at ONSLRG Gallery

inveSTL is a charitable fund at the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation dedicated to supporting the development of great neighborhoods in the St. Louis region.   As part of their efforts to raise awareness about how individuals in the St. Louis area can join them in investing in St. Louis neighborhoods and highlight areas where such investment might help, inveSTL holds monthly “Know Your Neighborhoods” gatherings in different parts of town.  This month, inveSTL is bringing their event to Old North.  Please come on out on Thursday, Jan. 24 to learn more about this great initiative and show your support for Old North at the same time.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at investloldnorth.eventbrite.com.

Saturday, January 26 - 9 a.m. - Cleanup Day in 13th Street Community Garden-

The 13th Street Garden Group and other volunteers will be getting a head-start on prepping the garden for the spring planting season.  Tasks will include prepping the sweet potato bed, cleaning the greenhouse, and various other ground work.   If you’re interested in joining them, contact the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or via email at info@ONSL.org.

Thursday, January 31 - 6:30 p.m. - Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting

In addition to the usual opportunity to get a variety of neighborhood updates and a chance to talk with officers from the 4th & 5th police districts, the January 31 Neighborhood Open Meeting will feature representatives from MoDOT who will report on the progress of construction work on I-70 and the Mississippi River Bridge.  Please join us and spread the word to your neighbors.

Friday, February 1 - Opening of Exhibit of Sustainable Land Lab Competition Design Proposals

The 15 teams selected for round two of the Sustainable Land Lab competition will be submitting concept boards and tentative implementation plans, which will be displayed at the ONSLRG Gallery for public viewing and comment.  Check back for exact details about the exhibit’s opening and viewing opportunities.  For more info about the competition, check out our December 18 post on the 15 teams vying for the chance to implement their creative ideas for sustainable re-uses of 4 empty lots in Old North.

The St. Louis Beacon covered the competition with two articles over the past week.  Click HERE for the first article, “The troubled past and possible futures of 1303 Montgomery St.” and HERE for the second article, “Vacant lots: when temporary change becomes transformational.”

Sunday, February 10 - 9 a.m. - Run for the Chocolate 5K

The St. Louis area’s sweetest 5k run and 1 mile walk returns for a second year with its route coming straight to the heart of Old North on the Sunday before Valentine’s Day.  All registrants will receive a super deluxe “Will Run for Chocolate” event shirt, along with pre-, post-, and mid-race chocolates.  T-shirts will be color-coded, so that you’ll be able to see whether your fellow runners are “on-the-market” (i.e., single) or “off-the-market” in case you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day date.

Register online at www.runreg.com.  The event also could use some good neighborhood volunteers to help along the route, including passing out water and chocolates.  If that is more appealing than running in the race, contact the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or info@ONSL.org, and we’ll put you in touch with the event organizers.

Monday, February 18 - 6 p.m. - ONSLRG Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper

It’s a full month away, but it’s not too early to start planning your favorite dish.  Watch for more details, which will be posted here soon. In the meantime, please lock the date on your calendar and start telling your neighbors and any other friends of Old North to plan to join us on Monday, February 18!

1COMMENT
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ONSLRG Launches “Brickstarter” Crowdfunding Campaign for 1316 North Market

by Matt Fernandez, Community Development Specialist

We’re working to save this great beauty owned by Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group from the never relenting effects of gravity, but we need your help!

Vacant since 1990, this building is already a survivor. Formerly owned by the City of St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority, ONSLRG bought this building along with eight other vacant and deteriorated buildings in 2009. Three of these properties have been sold and have been, or are in the process of being renovated, and five have been stabilized and secured by ONSLRG for future rehab. For more information on properties owned by ONSLRG, please contact us at info@onsl.org or 314-241-5031.

When acquired from LRA, this building was reserved for redevelopment and did not see immediate stabilization work, although it was secured properly and the grass and weeds are cut.  Unfortunately, financing did not work out due to the tightening of financial markets during the “Great Recession.”  The “Macho Action Group” of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has done some work on the building, but much more work is needed.

While much of the history of this building is not known, early residents of the home were the Meinholtz family, St. Louis natives who owned or co-owned the property from around 1910 to the 1940’s. Herman C. Meinholtz was the son of German immigrants and was the Vice President and superintendent of Heine Safety Boiler Company.  Both Herman and his son Herbert attended Washington University and studied engineering.

As this 2005 photo shows, the building at 1316 North Market was surrounded by vacant lots that were barely maintained.

By 2007, new homes had been constructed on the 1300 block of North Market as part of the North Market Place new homes development that brought new families to this block of Old North for the first time in many years.

Renderings have been prepared of how the building could appear after a full renovation.

Today, the building sits as a still largely intact structure on the exterior, but the interior has suffered extreme water damage and needs to be fully rebuilt. Some areas of floor have completely collapsed to the basement. In addition, the brick walls have suffered varying degrees of damage from water and shifting, and will need to be rebuilt in some sections. While this may sound like a lot of work, this building is in no worse condition than many other buildings that have been completely rebuilt from the ground up as part of many projects in Old North St. Louis. For example, take a look at the Mullanphy Emigrant Home.

In the photo below, the Mullanphy Emigrant Home is severely storm-damaged and only held up by emergency shoring.

After major stabilization and rebuilding work that was funded by donations and volunteer labor, the walls are rebuilt and the building is sound again.

There are countless other examples of buildings rebuilt from the ground up all around Old North completed by ONSLRG and private individuals. A never give up attitude is contagious around here.

Rebuilding and preserving the building at 1316 North Market is important to help retain a sense of place on this block of North Market. Old North St. Louis has a history dating back to 1816. Incorporating the past along with new construction creates a sense of distinct place that keeps Old North a unique neighborhood that is proud of its urban past, and looks forward to a sustainable future.

With this post, we are launching a “Brickstarter” campaign. Donations of any type to Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group (cash, materials, dumpsters, labor) would be immensely helpful and are fully tax-deductible. We have already gathered donations of sand, masonry cement, a small amount of lumber, and use of scaffolding. In addition, Red Dot Studios has generously offered pro bono architecture services to design a stabilization and rebuilding program for attaining any necessary permits. However, we still need a lot of cash, materials, and labor. The total cost for a full renovation of this building could approach $400,000. However, substantially less is needed for a proper stabilization, and that is mostly for the cost of materials. Depending on the level of donations, different forms of stabilization can be achieved from a range of $5000- $50,000. $25,000 is the goal we are shooting for.  Of course, better forms of stabilization will cost more, but will make the eventual full renovation easier to complete.

Donations can be made online at onsl.org via paypal (Click the donate button below), by check (made payable to “Old North Rehab Properties LLC” and mailed to 2700 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63106), or by cash in person.  If you would like to make a donation of materials, please contact us at info@onsl.org or 314-241-5031. No offer is too small, and please share this with your friends!

Surrounded by new life, this red brick beauty deserves a second chance!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa Selected for Business Journal’s 40 Under 40

Congratulations to Tino Ochoa, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Board President, who was selected by the St. Louis Business Journal for inclusion in their latest class of “40 Under 40″ honorees!  The full St. Louis Business Journal issue with complete bios won’t be out until February, but the names were released yesterday by email and posted on their website.  Click HERE to take a look.

The photo above was when Tino received yet another award upon graduation from law school.  We'll get a new photo of him receiving the 40 Under 40 Award when that happens.

The photo above of Tino (with his wife Zoila) was when Tino received yet another award upon graduation from law school. We'll get a new photo of him receiving the 40 Under 40 Award when that happens.

The prestigious “40 Under 40″ honor goes each year to 40 individuals who are under the age of 40 and have earned recognition for significant contributions to the St. Louis area in various fields.  Tino’s predecessor as ONSLRG Board President, John Burse, was also a 40 Under 40 honoree several years ago.

We’ll post more information about the award when it gets published.  In the meantime, if you see Tino out and around the neighborhood, be sure to wish him congratulations!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

15 Land Lab Proposals Selected to Proceed to Next Round of Competition

As noted here previously, Old North St. Louis is the pilot neighborhood for a new initiative seeking creative ideas for sustainable uses of empty land in the city.  The Sustainable Land Lab competition, sponsored and led by Washington University’s Office of Sustainability and the City of St. Louis, is an open call for proposals from anyone who wishes to participate - and take responsibility for implementing their ideas.  Six lots in Old North have been identified, 4 of which will be selected.  Winning teams will receive $5,000 in funding to implement and maintain their projects as living laboratories, teaching tools, and regional sustainability assets for two years.

After receiving and reviewing 48 submissions, the jury for the competition announced yesterday their selections for proposals to advance to the second round of the competition.  The full list of 48 concepts submitted for consideration represented a broad range of innovative and inspiring ideas, including: habitat for pollinators, carbon sequestering landscape, pop-up business incubators, modular sustainable in-fill, engaging public spaces, platforms for sharing community resources, soil remediation, designs informed by ethnohistorical sustainability practices, on-site energy production, and much more.

Below are concept summaries of the 15 submissions (listed alphabetically) moving to the next round:

Bistro Box

Site Selection: Lot 6, 1303 Montgomery

Concept & Team Summary:

The Bistro Box concept is a small business incubator that transforms surplus cargo containers into a compact restaurant and culinary destination. Young chef entrepreneurs seeking to establish a reputation apply for a 1-year fellowship residence. A consortium of established local chefs advise the young chefs and promote the concept to assure its exposure and success. At completion of the residency, chefs prepare a business plan for post residency location within the neighborhood and a new chef is engaged. The program hires and trains young people from the neighborhood in culinary skills and uses locally sourced product. Lot 6 is the preferred site for the Bistro Box where synergies can be established with the Old North Grocery Store and garden and local employment opportunities can be provided for Haven of Grace residents.

The project team includes landscape architect Jim Fetterman, architect John Burse and chef/restaurateur Ben Poremba.

Carbon Carpet

Site Selection: Lot 4. 1318-24 Warren St

Concept & Team Summary:

Plant a native grass + forb garden using 5″ deep cell plant plugs. Mimic the pattern of a Persian Rug (hard geometry, bilateral symmetry) Provide a ‘living teaching lab’ for purpose of educating about carbon sequestration.

Chess Pocket Park

Site Selection: LOT 1, 2713 North 14th Street

Concept & Team Summary:

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY supported through Chess Pocket Park – outdoor community chess venue for residents with a permanent location supporting our primary community asset – its people.

CHESS IS SUSTAINABLE. “According to research, test scores improved by 17.3% for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6% for children participating in other forms of enriched activities,” states 4-time World Champion Susan Polgar in an interview.

CHESS CAN BUILD A SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY. A location for a local chess club to combine chess lessons, community chess mentors, and a system of maintaining the grounds as part of the club ethic teaches sustainable lessons about systems and materials, community values, and strategic thought.

CHESS POCKET PARK SUSTAINABILITY will be devoted to a replicable model of simplicity and community strength. Utilizing community resources, sustainable design and construction features, chess lessons from the community and the Scholastic Center of St Louis, commitment from the community and local artists to develop art on the adjacent building and to participate in garden maintenance, our balanced team can partner with community leaders to develop the concept, focus on sustainable development, construct the park and garner public financial support.

Christner

Site Selection: Lot 5, 1300 – 06 Montgomery Street

Concept & Team Summary:

LAND LAB Proposal

Lessons from the Past

CONCEPT

Eight hundred years ago the Mississippian culture thrived as one of the most advanced civilizations of its time. The culture was centered at Cahokia, across the Mississippi River from what we know to be St. Louis today. The culture established settlements throughout the region. At the homestead level, the Cahokians relied on strong kinship networks to provide for all basic human needs in what today would be called a model of sustainable living.

Today, much of sustainable design solutions and engineering strategies that address modern human needs tend to take a high-technology route. Our proposal is to demonstrate a pre-Columbian baseline to re-discover practices that supported life for thousands of years. The site will demonstrate practices and technologies that evolved over millennia to explore what we might have forgotten and to seek potential clues for sustainable urban redevelopment.

DEMONSTRATION

We propose a modern agricultural and sustainable living model, the premises for our approach rooted in regional history, the Mississippians and their ancestors, as well as modern permaculture practices. Using concepts of permaculture, the site would demonstrate the interdependent relationships that work efficiently and sustainably in nature and that worked for previous civilizations, from the soil to the birds, to humans.

LESSONS

The Land Lab concepts would serve as a model for not just urban homesteaders but for the community: a more sustainable agricultural model predicated on community relationships, biodiversity and natural, sustainable principles.

Team Lead: Christner Dan Jay Principal in Charge Laurel Harrington Director of Landscape Architecture Emily Wray Architect

Team Partner: Missouri Botanical Garden Deborah Chollet Frank

Team Resources: Ethno Botany: Missouri Botanical Garden; Habitat and Structures: Cahokia Mounds Historic Site; Data Mapping: Laurie Harmon, PhD, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse; Sustainability: Mary Ann Lazarus

CORE – Community Oriented Retail Enterprise

Site Selection: Lot 2, 2709 North 14th Street

Concept & Team Summary:

CORE is the Community Oriented Retail Enterprise. An economic opportunity for neighborhood residents to set up a light manufacturing and retail enterprise in a movable, temporary, green building that adds to residents understanding of the entrepreneurial cycle, from design to production and sales while keeping local dollars at home and pulling in revenue from outside the region. when it accomplishes its mission CORE moves on acting as an incubator till fledgling businesses can move into permanent structures.

HYY

Site Selection: Lot 4, 1318-1324 Warren Street

Concept & Team Summary:

Activating Capacities

We seek to develop design prototypes for parcel 4 which can be projected into a larger vision for re-modeling energy and water infrastructures at neighborhood and city scales. We seek to design an infrastructure that expands the term “land value” away from limiting monetary references and towards natural resource, environmental quality, social sustainability, livability and aesthetic concerns as well.

In North St. Louis, the urban geography is described by logics reliant on segregated, centralized energy production and distribution. This creates a fragmented landscape of charged and unequal zones dependent on a polluting and limited resource. Yet solar, wind and cellulosic energy are three types of renewable sources inherent to the Midwest and St. Louis region. Not only can these sources be harnessed for energy, but they can be used to remediate, bring community safety and public delight. Our project seeks to activate and build capacities on the site: Energy capacities, land and landscape system capacities, and community capacities.

Solar power (unlike conventional coal-fueled power) is capable of being stored and shared laterally. We ask, how can the development of sites and cities grow from a new, open-sourced (but ecologically complete) configuration of exchange and distribution?

LauLab

Site Selection: Lot 5, 1300-06 Montgomery Street

Concept & Team Summary:

Shrinking cities can play a positive role in helping to reverse the damage of urban sprawl. Vacant properties can restore urban ecosystems by linking to a productive event chain that increases biodiversity and lowers carbon emissions by producing energy, recycling water, filling food deserts, promoting local business, and improving public health.

We have chosen to transform the existing greenfield in Lot #5 into a productive landscape and a public space. The intention is to share knowledge and strategies with local residents about how to cultivate and maintain a food producing garden while having a place to gather. Families, groups, and individuals will be encouraged to take responsibility over small garden areas.

In our proposed design, a grid is imposed to the lot, subdividing the site into zones. These areas are not only defined in plan but in section; the change in elevation helps determine its use. We have designed five concrete pavers that incrementally increase in porosity in response to different uses: walking, biking, playing/leisure, planting, etc. Open areas will be planted with various vegetables and plants for the residents’ consumption and sale. We also propose to build a light structure to provide shade for a produce stand and storage.

NEXtUS

Site Selection: Lot 5, 1300-06 Montgomery Street

Concept & Team Summary:

Access to information, education and people can be leveraged to increase life opportunities. Areas of vacant land separate people and limit gathering opportunities essential to building community, exchanging knowledge, and networking.

NEXtUS! is a location-specific knowledge and community-building gateway built around five primary components:

• Technology Hearth

• Gathering Place

• Shade and Energy Structure

• Active Learning Area

• Site Amenities

The Technology Hearth is a durable electronic portal to virtual educational and informational content selected for potential interest, meaning and effect in a given area. “What’s NEXt? During non-programmed periods, the Tech Hearth is opened to future NEXtUS! Tech Hearths and web nodes for cultural exploration – “Who’s NEXt?”

The Gathering Place surrounds the Technology Hearth and provides seating, leaning and standing areas for program guests and discussion events.

The Shade and Energy Structure protects the gathering area and provides energy for the Technology Hearth.

The Active Learning Area attracts younger ages, and supports those wishing to partake in TH program events. Recycled tires and berms are organized to produce an active learning and play experience.

Site Amenities enhance the NEXtUS! location and leverage natural systems to manage rainwater, heat island, and create a defined sense of place.

Who’s NEXt? US!

R & B

Site Selection: Lot 1, 2713 N. 14th street

Concept & Team Summary:

We propose a modular, mobile resource center for materials and knowledge for neighborhood residents, property owners, businesses, employees and volunteers. This resource center is based on standard shipping containers (10’, 20’ and 40’ lengths) that are dropped into any accessible location and can be camouflaged to blend in. Using a central location where resources can be shared is much more sustainable model than individual ownership of such items, whether one is talking about tools (for residential construction, gardening, vehicle repair, information technology), infra-structure (bicycles, cars, WiFi, emergency generators), or know-how (instructional literature, lessons-learned, training, exhibits, meetings). This concept supports the triple bottom-line of economic, environmental and societal benefits.

Economic:

Resources are made available that stimulate investment in “the neighborhood”. Money is not spent on resources that are used infrequently (tillers? Snow blowers?).

Environmental:

Reducing consumption by sharing instead of hoarding has far-reaching environmental benefits reaching all the way back up the supply chain. Promote the dissemination of sustainable practices at the local level.

Societal:

Humans interacting by sharing knowledge and resources is fundamental to improving the human condition. Our concept proposes to do this within the context of sustainable neighborhood development.

Renewing Roots Urban Farm

Site Selection: Lot 6, 1303 Montgomery Street

Concept & Team Summary:

Renewing Roots Urban Farms is a scalable urban agriculture network that proposes to transform blighted lots into cost efficient models of sustainability.This proposal outlines a project that can be economically viable within the 24 month demonstration period and allows for rapid expansion. Implementation will allow us to meet increasing demand for local produce, provide education and employment, and lay an economic framework for social and environmental responsibility. Recognition by the Land Lab will foster public involvement as we refine emerging methods to find the most efficient process for decentralized farming in North St. Louis City. Our team consists of an engineer, a biologist, a renewable energy educator, a chef and IT Manager and a real estate developer whose synergistic vision will gain momentum and increase collaborative opportunities.

ShiftUP

Site Selection: Lot 3, 2613 N. 14th Street

Concept & Team Summary:

Old North St. Louis is a neighborhood rich in potential, but limited in access to resources. To increase accessibility for neighborhood residents, connect Old North to the larger St. Louis area, and build on the growing bike culture in the City, we propose the establishment of shiftUP at 2613 N. 14th St. (Lot 3). shiftUP would be a community space to rent, maintain, and learn about bicycles.

As a bike hub, shiftUP would encourage bikers from other parts of St. Louis to visit Old North and interact with the community. Direct benefits to Old North residents include free rentals, increased access to resources, improvements in health, and community education. Bike rentals to visitors would generate income for financial sustainability. shiftUP has the potential to pioneer a community-based bike share model that could be replicated in communities both within the city of St. Louis and nationwide. shiftUP is what St. Louis needs now to grow as a sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and connected community. shiftUP is designed by a committed team with unique perspectives and skills in community development and design: Laura Halfmann, MSW; naomi warren, JD/MSW; Ross Welch, M. Arch; and Kate Wilson, PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Washington University.

Sustainable Nectaring Garden

Site Selection: Lot 5, 1300-06 Montgomery Street

Concept & Team Summary:

We propose to convert the vacant lot addressed as 1300-06 Montgomery Street into a nectaring garden composed of native perennial plants that carry out extended seasonal flowering to provide local bees, butterflies and hummingbirds with the food plants that they require.

The Sunflower+ Project

Site Selection: Lot 4, 1318-24 Warren Street

Concept & Team Summary:

The Sunflower+ Project: StL proposes turning previously developed urban lots into a community asset through the planting of sunflowers. With a goal of eventually spurring redevelopment of these vacant parcels, the project will serve as an appropriate, scalable, and productive transitional solution. An experiment in the realms of phytoremediation, public art, public health, education and sustainability, the project will beautify the neighborhood and enhance the usability of the land in a low impact, low cost, and entrepreneurial manner. Using Lot #4, we propose planting a field of sunflowers with a repurposed rubble wall intervention marking the historic foundation line that would serve as a didactic tool for learning about history and sustainability. In addition to brightening the neighborhood, the sunflowers will serve the practical task of phytoremediation of the soil, while offering the potential for development of food or fuel products that could provide a source of local income. Alternative plantings will also be used to promote the remediation process year round. The Sunflower+ Project: StL is led by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in urban redevelopment, sustainability, horticulture, soils analysis, environmental air quality analysis, masonry, graphic design and communications, civil engineering and organic farming.

Urban Remediators

Site Selection: Site 2, 2709 N. 14th Street

Concept & Team Summary:

We aim to demonstrate that vacant lots can be aesthetically landscaped to provide self-maintaining public gathering spaces that not only heal the soil, but also help improve the health of the community. We would like to test the ability of bioremediation and permaculture techniques to improve the health of the urban soil by implementing an interactive living landscape that doubles as a community gathering space, and that addresses the deficiencies and contaminants present; regular monitoring of soil composition would be used as a tool for dynamically tailoring natural elements.

The project would provide a living “store front”-like demonstration area along the 14th street mall and a more intimate setting (should the residents request it) towards the back of the lot near apartment entrances. Community members would contribute not just to the design process, but also to the personality of the site through decorative elements such as sculptures, murals, or drawings on man-made site components. Our team would be successful in this undertaking because it is strongly interdisciplinary and all members are actively working on and committed to St Louis community engagement projects.

Urban Beautification Warriors

Site Selection: Lot 3, 2613 N. 14th Street

Concept & Team Summary:

PROJECT PROPOSAL: We propose that this space be transformed into a giant walk-through kaleidoscope. The area can be used for many purposes; i.e.: event space, party rental, concerts, plays, wedding venue, etc. Our goal is to use as many re-purposed items as possible. We would like to get most of them from the Old North St. Louis area.

The wood planks we would use would be passed out to neighborhood stakeholders to decorate, paint, and carve, into something unique to add to the benches and stage. This would be a way to give the neighborhood pride in their new attraction and a way to participate in building a community gathering area.

This setting could be replicated in many themes. Bicycles; candy land; city museum-like sculpture pass through; cultural themes; murals that look like you are walking through another city (Venice, New Orleans, Hollywood, NYC)… all aiming at becoming an attraction to event planners as wedding venues and photography backdrops.

Links to the full proposals and a complete listing of all of the proposals received, organized by the vacant lot they selected, can be found at the Sustainable Land Lab Competition site or by clicking HERE.  Because the full submissions included a great deal more detail and images (including some with links to videos) than space would allow for us to re-post here, please follow the link above to learn more about these creative proposals.  We’d love to get some feedback from Old North residents and other stakeholders - so please share your comments here (by clicking on the LEAVE A COMMENT link at the left side of  the top of this post) or by sending us an email at the ONSLRG office: info@ONSL.org.

Teams representing the fifteen proposals chosen to move on to Round 2 will be required to submit additional information by January 28, 2013 and will be expected to address (in further detail) the following criteria:

  • Creativity of concept, innovative solution;
  • Connectivity to the City’s sustainability plan and regional context;
  • Integration of diverse factors, including, but not limited to water, food, energy, waste, social justice, art, economy and community;
  • Response to unique site characteristics and local community context;
  • Team qualifications;
  • Replicable idea; and
  • Scalability of concept.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, December 15, 2012

Old North to Receive Additional Support for Arts-Related Community Revitalization

As reported in the St. Louis Beacon on Wednesday, Old North St. Louis is one of four St. Louis neighborhoods that have been selected to receive support (including possible financial investments) for continued arts-related initiatives.  Click HERE to see the article in the Beacon, “Four neighborhoods chosen for Kresge ‘embedded arts’ help“.

The article notes that “the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, in tandem with the Regional Arts Commission and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, will direct research in each neighborhood. The goal is to determine what programs and partnerships could be developed specific to each area to help spur the community revitalization, the development of effective health and human services and a growth in grassroot arts movements.”

Among the factors that led the committee to select Old North were the neighborhood’s “mix of existing arts organizations, high walkability and economic and racial diversity” and the presence of  ”the prolific Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, high amount of historic rehab tax credits, largely residential.”  (We’re not sure if that choice of words describing ONSLRG came from the reporter or the committee that selected Old North, but we thank whoever it was for the compliment.)

Stay tuned for more news on this initiative as it unfolds.  In the meantime, come on out to enjoy the neighborhood’s wonderful arts-rich environment made possible by generous investments of time and effort from many neighborhood residents and financial support from several sources, including Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Council, Equifax Foundation, and Ken & Nancy Kranzberg.

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery continues to be a venue for various exhibits, film screenings, and other arts events.

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery continues to be a venue for various exhibits, film screenings, and other arts events.

Outside arts organizations, such as Metro Theater Company, have found Old North to be a welcoming community for their programs.

Outside arts organizations, such as Metro Theater Company, have found Old North to be a welcoming community for their programs.

Community events, such as our annual Old North House & Community Tour and HomeGrown Street Festival, often include music, dance, and other performing arts.

Community events, such as our annual Old North House & Community Tour and HomeGrown Street Festival, often include music, dance, and other performing arts.

Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School continues to play a role as an important neighborhood anchor in Old North.

Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School continues to play a role as an important neighborhood anchor in Old North.

St. Louis ArtWorks opened a satellite programming site at Crown Square this past summer.

St. Louis ArtWorks opened a satellite programming site at Crown Square this past summer.

La Mancha Coffeehouse often features works by local artists on their walls.

La Mancha Coffeehouse often features works by local artists on their walls.

William Burton and other artists affiliated with the 14th Street Artist Community often can be found at 2701 N. 14th Street.

William Burton and other artists affiliated with the 14th Street Artist Community often can be found at 2701 N. 14th Street.

This year saw the completion of the rehab of 1306 St. Louis Avenue and the opening of Juan William Chavez's Northside Workshop art center.

This year saw the completion of the rehab of 1306 St. Louis Avenue and the opening of Juan William Chavez's Northside Workshop art space.

The intersection murals painted through efforts of Love the Lou are recent examples of public art in Old North.

The intersection murals painted through efforts of Love the Lou are recent examples of public art in Old North.

If you’d like to support existing arts initiatives or programming in Old North or to explore some ideas for new initiatives, give us a call at the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to us at info@ONSL.org.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, December 2, 2012

Old North Week in Review: Visit by Mayor Slay, Holiday Market, Welcome to New Neighbors, etc.

We’ve been too busy lately to post more regular updates on the blog, so this “week in review” will have to serve as an after-the-fact report on some of our recent highlights.

Mayor Slay Pays a Visit to Old North

On Thursday Mayor Francis Slay and his entourage of development officials (including St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Rodney Crim, Deputy Executive Director Otis Williams, and Director of Real Estate Laura Costello) stopped by the Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting to report on recent and upcoming developments of interest to residents of Old North.  Updates included status reports on the Mississippi River Bridge (scheduled for completion in Feb. 2014) and the Tucker Boulevard reconstruction (which should be open to traffic by summer 2013); neighborhood safety initiatives (such as efforts related to the Neighborhood Ownership Model); and the City’s Sustainability Plan.

Another Highly Successful Old North Holiday Market

On Saturday ONSLRG hosted our second annual Old North Holiday Market at the former Parks Drug Store building, with dozens of craft vendors, face-painting, holiday music (courtesy of Fresh Anointing Church and a group from Washington University), and a visit from Santa Claus.

Thanks to ONSRG’s community engagement specialist, Claire Wolff, our practicum students, Leslie Duling, Lindsey Forsythe, and Emily Sheffield-Wilson (& Molly Johnson, last year’s practicum student who was largely responsible for the great market last year and who came back to help with set-up this year), all of the other volunteers (including several ONSLRG board members, such as Graham and Ben, in the photo above), and all of our wonderful vendors for a great day!

Old North Featured as “Island of Revitalization” at State of Neighborhoods Forum

On Wednesday, Old North St. Louis was one of three neighborhoods represented on a panel of respondents at a forum addressing the “State of Neighborhoods” in St. Louis.  The forum, sponsored by the Community Partnership Project at UMSL, working in cooperation with University of Missouri Extension and co-sponsorship of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision, Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, and the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO), started with a presentation by UMSL Professor Todd Swanstrom, which compared St. Louis with several other cities on various trends that affect neighborhood conditions, outlined several factors that contribute to neighborhood revitalization, and identified Old North as one of about a dozen “islands of revitalization” in the St. Louis area.  ONSLRG executive director Sean Thomas was one of three neighborhood development organization representatives on the panel responding to Professor Swanstrom’s presentation.  For a more detailed report on the forum, click HERE for the article in the St. Louis Beacon.

Welcome to Harris Family, New Homeowners on North Market

Among the factors earning Old North a spot on the list of neighborhoods recognized for their revitalization was the 28% population gain over the past decade.  Despite the slowdown in the real estate market, that trend has continued over the past couple years.  One of the more recent examples is the Harris Family who moved into Old North just before Thanksgiving and now occupy a home on North Market, a parcel of land that had not had any residents in several decades.  Welcome to Old North! And thanks for helping us to continue growing the neighborhood’s population!

Rehab Lenders at Neighborhood Open Meeting

Meanwhile, we continue to seek ways to support existing homeowners and identify resources to help others come into the neighborhood as rehabbers.  At last week’s Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting, representatives from several lending institutions came out to share information about their loan products appropriate for covering purchase and/or rehab of historic homes in Old North.  For information about these resources or to get contact information for these individuals from Bank of America, First National Bank, U.S. Bank, and Wells-Fargo, contact Matt Fernandez, ONSLRG’s community development specialist at 314-241-5031, ext. 101 or Matt@ONSL.org.

Deadline Approaching for Sustainable Land Lab Competition

This past week also brought a number of visits to the neighborhood by individuals and teams looking at the six vacant lots in the Crown Square area that are part of the Sustainable Land Lab Competition.  The competition, co-sponsored by Washington University’s Office of Sustainable Development and the City of St. Louis, will culminate with the selection of teams who have the most compelling plans for sustainable re-use of four of the lots.  The deadline for the first round of submissions is Dec. 10.  The competition brief can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, November 24, 2012

Support Small Businesses to Build Strong Neighborhoods

We don’t need a lot of research to convince us that locally-owned, independent businesses are good for building vibrant and healthy neighborhoods — all you have to do is walk in the front door of almost any small business and strike up a conversation with the person behind the counter, who also is likely to be the owner, to appreciate the value of one-of-a-kind businesses and their contributions to the local character.  However, if you need good, solid research to get you to support our great wealth of local businesses we have in St. Louis (and Old North, in particular), then take a look at the study after study after study from places all over the country (such as Salt Lake City; Portland, Maine; New Orleans; Grand Rapids; and San Francisco) that offer evidence that local businesses are beneficial to their communities.  And, according to various studies collected by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, communities that have strong local business sectors are healthier, wealthier, and wiser.  (Click HERE for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s report on the topic.)

In recognition of all of the above, this first Saturday of the holiday shopping season is being promoted as “Small Business Saturday.”  And in that spirit, we encourage all residents and friends of Old North to show your support for the entrepreneurs who have established their businesses in Old North.  Please note that 100% of the businesses at Crown Square, in the heart of Old North, are locally owned, small businesses, as is the case throughout the neighborhood, with the exception of a fast-food restaurant and a gas station along the edge of the neighborhood.

To make it easier to find the small business to serve your needs, we have prepared a map and directory of the small businesses and non-profits within the Crown Square area of Old North.   Click HERE to download a copy that you can print and take with you.  If you’re out and around on Small Business Saturday, please stop in at one of the following Crown Square businesses that will be open today:

Closet Repeats, 2603 N. 14th Street

And if you get a chance to see the owners of any of these businesses,such as Yvonne Reed of Closet Repeats, be sure to thank them for being in Old North.

And if you get a chance to see the owners of any of these businesses,such as Yvonne Reed of Closet Repeats, be sure to thank them for being in Old North.

The Racq Salon & Spa, 2605 N. 14th Street

Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique, 2611 N. 14th Street

Therapy Boutique, 2717 N. 14th Street

Therapy's owner, Ebony Wilson, indicated that she'll offer a 15% discount on select items for Small Business Saturday; if you don't see any signs or tags for this, tell her you were heard about it on the ONSL blog.

Therapy's owner, Ebony Wilson, indicated that she'll offer a 15% discount on select items for Small Business Saturday; if you don't see any signs or tags for this, tell her you heard about it on the ONSL blog.

Crown Candy Kitchen, 1401 St. Louis Avenue

La Mancha Coffeehouse, 2815 N. 14th Street

Old North Grocery Co-op, 2718 N. 13th Street (at St. Louis Avenue)

If you’re in the neighborhood during regular business hours on other days, please stop in at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office, 2700 N. 14th Street, to find out about other businesses in the neighborhood or to purchase some Old North merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc.), which also make great holiday gifts (not available in big-box, chain stores).

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, November 9, 2012

Nov. 9 Edition of ONSLRG eNewsletter Is Out

The Nov. 9 edition of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group e-Newsletter has been sent out to all of our subscribers.  If you didn’t get it in your email, click HERE to view the web-version.

This edition includes brief updates on :

  • the Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates’ 3rd annual art exhibit at the ONSLRG Gallery (showing now through Dec. 2);
  • Great Rivers Greenway’s open house at ONSLRG to show off plans for Branch Street improvements and the Trestle conversion to an elevated hiking and biking trail;
  • information presented at the Oct. 25 Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting, including presentations on a proposed dog park for Old North and a sustainability-focused charter school;
  • ONSLRG’s Winter Craft Market, scheduled for Dec. 1;
  • Halloween in Old North;
  • Plans for a makeover of the Crown Square corner plaza at N. 14th and St. Louis Avenue;
  • the Sustainable Land Lab Competition for creative uses of vacant lots in Old North;
  • Links to the draft of the City’s Sustainability Plan for public comment;
  • Recent volunteer support, including students from the Episcopal Church of the Ascension;
  • and various upcoming events and programs related to neighborhood issues.
Whether you got this e-Newsletter in the mail or via the link right here, please forward to others who care about Old North and/or print out a copy to share with your neighbors who aren’t Internet-connected.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Streets, Trails, History, Art and Community in Old North

Over the next couple days, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street will be buzzing with activity and conversations about different pieces of the overall community revitalization in progress and planned for Old North.  Although art exhibitions and plans for street improvements may not seem to have a lot of overlap, Old North is the kind of place where residents can be passionate and engaged in discussions about streets and trails on one day and turn out in force the next day to support an arts initiative or an exhibit in a gallery here.  On Thursday and Friday of this week, we’ll get a chance to see all of that in action as Great Rivers Greenway and Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates hold different events in our gallery.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

The latest plans for improving Branch Street will be on display for review and comment as Great Rivers Greenway brings maps, drawings, and planners out to the community in an open house style of event at the ONSLRG gallery on Thursday from 4-6:30 p.m.  Branch Street is one of the few ways to directly access the Riverfront Trail from a residential neighborhood in the City.  Over the past couple years, ONSLRG has worked closely with GRG, the city, Trailnet, and other partners to develop plans to clean up, beautify and increase safety along that corridor.  The event on Thursday will be a chance for more neighbors - especially those who  haven’t been able to participate in earlier discussions - to get in on this ongoing process.

Information will also be on hand about the current status and future phases of the Trestle project, which will connect the southeastern portion of Old North to the Riverfront Trail via the transformation of the long-abandoned railroad trestle into an elevated hiking and biking trail.

Since both Branch Street plans and the Trestle project represent significant investments in Old North and great recreational amenities for residents of the neighborhood and visitors alike, please spread the word and invite other neighbors to come on out to learn more - and have their voices heard.

==========================================

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

With Old North’s rich history of welcoming immigrants into the community from its earliest days through the present and with the character of the neighborhood constantly evolving as a result of these new residents’ contributions, there should be a lot of local interest in a new exhibition opening in our gallery on Friday evening.  Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates will once again bring an exhibition to our gallery that puts a spotlight on the immigrant experience in St. Louis.  This year’s exhibit will include work by local New American photographers Juan Montana and Amelia Sinangic, along with historical photos from multiple archives, as curated by Danny Gonzales of the Missouri Historical Society.

The opening reception for the exhibit will take place at our gallery on Friday evening from 6 until 9 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.  Please join us and invite your neighbors to come along with you.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thursday Evening: Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting & Therapy Boutique Fall Fashion Premiere

On Thursday evening (Oct. 25), you’ll have two opportunities to support Old North - first, by supporting one of our Crown Square businesses, then by attending a neighborhood meeting to learn more about some new and exciting plans for the community.

On the agenda for the meeting will be:

  • Plans for an Old North dog park;
  • The leaders of a new charter school, Advantage Prep Academy , will be on hand to to discuss their plans and interest in opening in Old North;
  • Officer Walker of the 5th District will be here to discuss neighborhood safety issues;
  • Trick-or-Treating in Old North; and
  • 14th Street Artist Community- a new gallery and program space in Crown Square

Please spread the word to your neighbors.  In fact, don’t just tell your neighbors, bring them along!  The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and will take place at ONSLRG’s gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.  Refreshments will be provided.

Therapy Boutique’s Fall Fashion Premiere, Thursday, Oct. 25, 5- 8 p.m.

Give yourself some extra time to get to the meeting so that you can stop in at Therapy, the fashion boutique at 2717 N. 14th Street.

Here’s the announcement sent out by Therapy for this event:

Attention!!! Attention!!!  THERAPY BOUTIQUE FALL PREMIERE

Be the first to see our NEW “Fall Premiere” NOT TO MENTION 15% OFF the Entire Store!

While you’re here don’t forget to unwind and relax with a cold glass of wine and appetizers to complement your visit…

Come Out and Enjoy Yourself: Thursday, 10/25/2012 @ 5:00p.m to until 8:00pm

Therapy Boutique, 2717 N. 14th St. St. Louis, MO, 63106 (314) 241- SHOP (7467)

“Where Shopping Relieves Tension, Stress, and All That Other Mess!”

R.S.V.P via email: Therapystl@hotmail.com  or Text 314 378-7900

Mark Your Calendars and Don’t Forget!!!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, October 19, 2012

Old North Mourns Loss of Mike Karandzieff (updated)

We were all saddened to receive the news that Mike Karandzieff passed away yesterday.  All of us at Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group extend our thoughts to the Karandzieff family and the whole Crown Candy Kitchen family.  We’ll miss seeing Mike behind the counter, but we will never forget his dedication to carrying on the family tradition and keeping the landmark business alive with character and distinction.  Although Mike’s illness kept kept him from being as present at Crown in recent months, Mike was such a fixture behind the counter for so many years that he represented a significant part of the Crown Candy experience, especially for those lucky enough to have Mike share his one-of-a-kind perspective on any number of issues.

Old North St. Louis wouldn’t be the vibrant neighborhood that it is today had it not been for Crown Candy’s anchoring presence on the corner of N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue.  Because of Mike’s years of hard work and commitment - following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and working alongside his brothers and generations of other dedicated employees, thousands of visitors have found their way into Old North to get a taste of Crown’s legendary BLTs, malts, sundaes, and candies.  The neighborhood has lost one of its unique and irreplaceable characters.

The next time you’re in Crown Candy, be sure to raise your chocolate banana shake in tribute and thanks to Mike.

Crown Candy will be closed this coming Sunday (Oct. 21) and Monday (Oct. 22) for the wake and funeral.  Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, at Buchholz Mortuary West, 2211 Clarkson Road at Wilson Road.  Additional visitation will be from 10 a.m. to the start of service at 11 a.m. on Monday at St John’s Church, 15800 Manchester Road in Ellisville.  There will be a funeral procession past Crown Candy Kitchen to the crematorium at Memorial Park Cemetery at I-70 and Lucas and Hunt roads.

The photo of Mike at the top of this post is from Crown Candy Kitchen’s Facebook page, where you can find other updates and can post your comments and messages to the family.

POSTSCRIPT - Oct. 23

Many neighborhood residents and friends, along with a good showing from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, came out to pay their respects to Mike as the funeral procession passed by Crown Candy Kitchen after the funeral on Monday.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

North City Farmers’ Market Harvest Festival & End of Season Celebration THIS SATURDAY, Oct. 13

Please join us this coming Saturday, October 13, to celebrate the completion of another successful season for North City Farmers’ Market.  Our traditional end-of-season Harvest Festival will feature:

  • Live music by Barefoot Jones
  • cooking demonstrations by Cooking Matters
  • children’s activities brought to us by BOTH The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum, AND St. Louis Children’s Hospital
  • Vinnie the Mime

AND, back by popular demand:

  • our pre-Halloween costume contest with both a children’s and adult division!

Of course, this wouldn’t be a farmers’ market without actual vendors.  This week we’ll have a bumper crop of many great local vendors, including:

  • our own 13th Street Community Garden
  • Old North Grocery Co-op
  • Zee Bee Market
  • Black Bear Bakery
  • MK Fruits and Veggies
  • New Roots Urban Farm
  • Del Carmen: “Black Beans a la Cubana”
  • Homegrown
  • ReTrailer
  • Karen’s Creations
  • Linda’s Creative Designs
  • El Chico Bakery
  • Freddie Lee’s Ghetto Sauce
  • Stuff N Things
  • Benton Park Creations
  • Mound City Soap Company
  • La Mancha Coffeehouse

Because this is a special day, the market will be open until 1 p.m., a full hour beyond our usual closing time.  So, come on by any time between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. - or, better yet, come on out and spend the whole time with us!  And please invite your neighbors to join you!

For more information, visit the market’s blog: http://www.northcityfarmersmarket.blogspot.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sign Up to Receive E-News from ONSLRG

If you didn’t receive this already by email, you probably haven’t “subscribed” on ONSL.org to receive periodic updates from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  However, you can still read the web-version of ONSLRG’s first e-Newsletter by clicking HERE.

Now that we’ve de-bugged countless technical glitches, on Friday afternoon we finally got a chance to send out a relatively quick and simple e-newsletter to the 300 or so people who’ve signed up to receive updates from us.  We’ll send out another couple issues over the next two weeks with details about the final two Saturdays of the North City Farmers’ Market season and then we’ll switch to sending one out every couple weeks or on an as-needed basis for upcoming events or breaking news.

If you’re not already a subscriber and would like to receive updates, event notices, or other alerts from Old North St. Louis, scroll down the right side of this page to find the “sign up” button to provide us with your email address.  We won’t share or use that address for anything other than notices from ONSLRG - and you can unsubscribe at any time.

2COMMENTS
Thursday, September 13, 2012

Old North Business Development Symposium Scheduled for Oct. 10

Do you know of a business that would be a good fit for Crown Square or somewhere else in Old North?  If so, please encourage them to attend the Old North Business Development Symposium on Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 2-4 p.m. at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.

To download your own PDF version of this flyer to pass along to others, click HERE.  Please register by Sept. 28 by clicking HERE.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, August 31, 2012

Feast Magazine Casts Spotlight on North City Farmers’ Market

Check out the September issue of Feast Magazine and flip to page 23 for an upbeat review of the North City Farmers’ Market.   Special mentions include three of the vendors, referred to as “must-stop stands”: Old North Grocery Co-op, Freddie Lee’s Ghetto Sauce, and 13th Street Community Garden.  Also mentioned in the article:  the great team of neighborhood volunteers who staff some of the tables and other neighborhood food destinations that are here to serve visitors to the market, Crown Candy Kitchen and La Mancha Coffeehouse.

The full text of the article is available for viewing online.  Click HERE to go to the online version of the Feast article.

To find a location where you can pick up a hard copy of this month’s issue, click HERE for a list of all locations where Feast is distributed.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, August 20, 2012

Support North City Farmers’ Market in America’s Favorite Farmers Markets Contest

North City Farmers’ Market once again is entered in American Farmland Trust’s “America’s Favorite Farmers’ Markets” contest.  You can vote by clicking HERE to get taken to the contest page, where you’ll need to type in “North City Famers’ Market” or just the ZIP code “63106″.

When you see North City Farmers’ Market listed, click on that link.  You’ll be asked to identify yourself and your reason why you think it deserves to be counted among America’s favorite markets.  Any answer will work — but be sure to click on the button to cast your vote.  They’ll also give you an opportunity to make a contribution to support American Farmland Trust, which you are free to do, but it is not required for casting your vote.

Local Food and Local Farms

If you have a good reason for voting that you’d like to share with us here, please click on the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link at the top left side of this post.  And if you’d like to pass this post along to someone else you think might want to vote for North City Farmers’ Market in this contest, click on the envelope symbol at the top left side of this post.

However, if you need a few reminders of what others have found appealing about North City Farmers’ Market, consider the following characteristics of Old North’s weekly market in the heart of Crown Square:

Healthy and Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (& Other Tasty Foods)

Live Music

Healthy Cooking Demonstrations & Free Samples

Children’s Activities

Weekly Opportunities to Build Relationships with Neighbors

Wonderful Volunteers

Free Blood Pressure Checks & Healthy Lifestyle Information

Great Neighborhood Setting in the Heart of a Diverse, Historic Community

Variety of “Other” Vendors Selling Non-Food Items

A Component of a Healthy & Sustainable Lifestyle

For all of the above reasons, please take a moment to support this great Old North St. Louis amenity by voting for it in the America’s Favorite Farmers’ Markets Contest.  And come on out every Saturday to let the vendors and volunteers know that you appreciate their presence, their hard work, and their contribution to the quality of life in Old North.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Neighborhood Development Blog Takes Note of Projects in Old North

Several project currently under way in Old North St. Louis have caught the attention of the St. Louis Neighborhood Development Blog, which bills itself as a “catalog of St. Louis developments, large and small.”  In the past couple weeks, three buildings in different parts of Old North have benefited from the blog’s spotlight.  All three of these buildings had been condemned for occupancy - or even threatened with demolition - at various points in the past.

Most recently, the blog featured the rehab of 1418 Hebert (below) by James Cox & Luz-Maria Evans Cox.  James & Luz-Maria previously had transformed the property next door at 1416 (including the alley house) into a Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced” Award-winning historic rehab.

After 1418 Hebert was nearly destroyed by fire in 2005, the City’s building division condemned the building for demolition.  Many neighbors and the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG) contacted the building division and the alderwoman to advocate for removal of the demolition order while a buyer could be recruited to preserve and develop the building.  The building eventually ended up in the hands of investors who could not secure financing, and the building’s survival became less and less likely as exposure to the elements took its toll.  Thankfully James and Luz-Maria stepped forward to rescue the building and are now in the midst of another prize-worthy transformation.

Last week, the rehab of 1306 St. Louis Avenue (below) received the attention of the neighborhood development blog.

This building was one of 8 historic Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) properties acquired by ONSLRG in 2009 for the sake of stabilizing them for future redevelopment.

With a front wall bowing out toward the street, 1306 St. Louis Avenue was in danger of collapse when ONSLRG invested the funds necessary to provide the structural support and other stabilization work to ensure its longer term prospects.  After a sale to STL North LLC and funding from the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, ONSLRG managed the redevelopment of the building for its new life as the home of Northside Workshop, a non-profit art space founded by award-winning artist, Juan William Chavez.

The house at 1227 North Market (below) made it onto the blog two weeks ago.  This particular house (another property acquired from LRA by ONSLRG) was not in great shape when Matt Fernandez purchased the long-vacant building, but it got a lot worse before Matt and his friends and family brought it back from the brink of extinction.

The dramatic recovery can only be fully appreciated when viewed alongside images shortly after the front wall collapsed (see below) following the second of two devastating storms that hit the building.

Old North is home to several other historic properties ready for development.  If you’d like to explore the possibilities of creating your own, unique space with the character and integrity that comes with a 140-year old architecturally significant marvel, click HERE for a PDF listing of rehab-ready buildings available from ONSLRG, or contact Matt at the ONSLRG office (matt@onsl.org; 314-241-5031, ext. 102).

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Recent Events at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street in the heart of Crown Square has been a busy place lately.  Just within the past week, the following events took place at our gallery:

Pruitt-Igoe Now Exhibit

The walls of the Old North Gallery are covered with 31 poster-boards depicting a diverse range of creative ideas for redeveloping the former Pruitt-Igoe public housing site, a large, overgrown tract of land a short distance to the south and west of Old North.  Each display board represents a finalist in the Pruitt-Igoe Nowdesign competition, which put out a call to the creative community worldwide to  re-imagine the 57 acres on which the Pruitt and Igoe housing projects once were located.

The opening reception for the exhibit on July 25 included some of the artists, architects, designers, planners, and other creative teams who submitted ideas, concepts and designs through this competition. Among the finalists was Annie White, who had worked with ONSLRG as an intern last summer. The Third Prize winning proposal was submitted by Social Agency Lab, which partnered with ReBuild Foundation of Hyde Park to incorporate creative ideas of students living in the area, some of whom attended the reception with their families.  For more information on the competition, visit the Pruitt-Igoe Now site.

The crowd at the July 25 opening reception listening to Bob Hansman of Washington University's School of Architecture describe the selection process.

The crowd at the July 25 opening reception listening to Bob Hansman of Washington University's School of Architecture describe the selection process.

The exhibit will remain at our gallery through Aug. 31 and can be viewed during ONSLRG’s regular business hours (9-5, M-F) or on Saturday mornings during the hours of the North City Farmers’ Market (9 a.m.-noon).

Old North St. Louis Quality of Life Meeting

The next evening a different crowd gathered at the Old North Gallery for the monthly Old North Quality of Life meeting on July 26.  At this meeting, neighborhood residents received updates from Lt. Donnell Moore of the 4th District (who reported that they have very few problems in Old North), 5th District Commander, Capt. Mary Edwards-Fears, and Liaison Officer Lori Wozniak.  Vela Hermann reported on opportunities for residents to join the others who have already signed up to help with various components of the Old North Neighborhood Ownership Plan, including citizen patrols.  Also on the topic of neighborhood safety, Beth Moser, Gateway Greening’s Americorps Summer Associate helping with the 13th Street Garden volunteers, reported on the National Night Out celebration planned for Tuesday, Aug. 7 at the 13th Street Community Garden (including a bonfire for roasting hot dogs & marshmallows).  And Juan Chavez discussed programming at the new Northside Workshop space at 1306 St. Louis Avenue, including this week’s class with the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess
Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.

Old North Grocery Co-op Annual Meeting

Members of the Old North Grocery Co-op assembled on Saturday, July 28 for the co-op’s 2nd Annual Members’ Meeting.  In addition to updates on the steady improvements at the store - and a challenge to the members to shop more at the store and to recruit more neighbors to shop there, the meeting included election of 2 new co-op board members, Keith Marquard and David Holden, and acknowledgments and expressions of appreciation to former manager Sarah Kate Buckles and outgoing / retired board members, Matt Fernandez, Stefene Russell, and Sean Thomas.

Co-Manager Jill Whitmann updates members on recent improvements at the store.

Co-Manager Jill Whitmann updates members on recent improvements at the store.

“Jumpstart Your Business” Program, Featuring Author Susan S. Elliott, Presented by Regions Bank

On Monday morning (July 30), Regions Bank presented an information session focused on resources for small businesses.  With sponsorship support from St. Louis American, the program featured presentations by Bob Newman of the SBA, Tim Hill of Regions, Galen Gondolfi of Justine Petersen, and keynote speaker, Susan Elliott, founder, chairman and former President/CEO of SSE.

After the session, Susan Elliott signed copies of her book, Across the Divide: Navigating the Digital Revolution as a Woman, Entrepreneur and CEO.

If you’d like to support ONSLRG’s commitment to making this space available for events that bring programming to the neighborhood or activities that enrich the quality of life in Old North, a financial contribution of any amount would help ONSLRG cover the costs of rent, utilities, clean-up, equipment and furnishing tables, chairs, table cloths, etc.  You can make a contribution online by clicking HERE or in person at the ONSLRG office or by mailing a check to:  ONSLRG, 2700 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO  63106.

And, if you have an event or exhibit you’d like to bring to the Old North Gallery, please contact the ONSLRG office by phone at 314-241-5031 or email: info@onsl.org.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Celebrate Fresh Fruits & Vegetables This Sat., July 28 at the North City Farmers’ Market Vegetapalooza…AND vote for NCFM in America’s Favorite Farmers Markets Contest

Because this summer has been so challenging for so many farmers, now is as good a time as any to express our appreciation for all they do to make it possible for us to eat fruits and vegetables.  So, come on out to thank our farmers who grow the foods we eat THIS SATURDAY, July 28, at Vegetapalooza, the North City Farmers’ Market’s celebration of fresh fruits and vegetables and other good food and crafts.

Also on the schedule for this week will be live music courtesy of Ragged Blade Band, children’s activities brought to us by the Magic House, face painting, a salsa-making contest, and chances to win fresh pies.

Although most of us are hunkering down and staying indoors to avoid the heat wave this week, the forecast for Saturday suggests that it’ll be the best day to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.  With a forecast of 79 degrees for the market’s opening at 9 a.m., it’ll be downright pleasant at Crown Square in the heart of Old North St. Louis.

Vote for North City Farmers’ Market in the America’s Favorite Farmers’ Markets Contest

While you’re making all of the arrangements to come on out to join us on Saturday, there is another way to help the market.  Once again the North City Farmers’ Market is entered into American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers’ Markets contest.  If you think the market is a great amenity and resource for the Old North community or even if you just think it’s a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning, then please vote to support North City Farmers’ Market.  Click HERE to be taken to the contest page and then search for our market by typing in “North City Farmers’ Market” in the appropriate spot - and cast your vote!  We’ll report back on the progress as the contest continues through the summer.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, July 19, 2012

ONSLRG Welcomes Claire Wolff as Community Engagement Specialist

As of last week, Claire Wolff has joined the staff of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, taking on the role of Community Engagement Specialist.

ONSLRG established this new position to expand the organization’s capacity to involve residents of the neighborhood in our comprehensive revitalization efforts throughout Old North.  Working closely with the Social Outreach Committee, Claire will assist with planning Quality of Life meetings and will coordinate outreach for a range of projects, such as the North City Farmers’ Market. Claire will also work closely with partner organizations to ensure that their programming serves the needs of residents in Old North and to get the word out to residents about the programming and services available to them in the neighborhood.

ONSLRG has been able to create this new position thanks to financial support from Equifax Foundation and Incarnate Word Foundation.  We greatly appreciate the generosity of both foundations and their support for ONSLRG’s mission to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

Claire stood out in a pool of extremely qualified candidates because she brings to the job just about everything we were looking for with this new position.  As a neighborhood resident who’s worked in the community for a number of years, including as the manager of the Urban Studio Cafe (as pictured above in a 2011 issue of St. Louis Magazine), Claire knows the community as well as almost anybody.  Better yet, Claire’s friendly and engaging personality wins over just about everybody who meets her.  With a Masters in Social Work from Washington University’s Brown School, Claire has served as a supervisor for MSW practicum students who’ve worked for us, so Claire already has supervisory experience and is on the approved field instructor list at all of the area social work schools, which will be very helpful as we continue to receive interest from students seeking internships with ONSLRG.

As ONSLRG seeks to become more financially stable and sustainable, Claire’s experience with grant writing (and the whole grant process from research through managing and reporting on grants after approval) should come in handy.

If you see Claire out and around in the neighborhood, please welcome her to our staff and thank her for joining us.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, July 13, 2012

Join Us Sat., July 14 (& EVERY Saturday) for Music, Children’s Activities, and Good Food at North City Farmers’ Market

After hiding out indoors for the past several weeks, it’s now safe to come on out to enjoy a non-triple-digit degree Saturday morning at the North City Farmers’ Market.  This week the market will feature some great, live music provided by the Friendly Henrys, children’s activities brought to us by St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and cooking demonstrations by Cooking Matters, and, as always, some great, fresh, locally produced foods.  This week we get to welcome back Willie Macklin (pictured below), one of our long-time, farmer-vendors.

For regular updates and pictures of the market, check out the NCFM blog at www.NorthCityFarmersMarket.blogspot.com.

1COMMENT
Friday, June 8, 2012

Coming Soon to Crown Square…

Several commercial spaces along the 2600 and 2700 N. 14th Street at Crown Square will soon be filled with new commercial tenants, including:

2703 N. 14th Street: the space next door to Poor Souls Society Art Gallery and across the street from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office will soon be bustling with activity from St. Louis ArtWorks‘ youth apprenticeship program.  Interior buildout of the space is now underway, with a plan to open later this month.  For more information on St. Louis ArtWorks, visit their website by clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, down on the 2600 block, two other spaces are being prepared at:

2601 N. 14th Street for Sole Kandy Shoe Boutique, a women’s shoe store; and

2608 N. 14th Street for Dr. Annessa Blackmun’s podiatry office, to be called Blackmun Footcare.

Since a few of the remaining spaces are large enough to accommodate restaurant uses, let us know if you have any good suggestions for restaurants we should pursue, especially if you’ve got any connections with the owners.  What would be the ideal fit at Crown Square?  A Mexican restaurant? A barbecue place? A microbrewery?

For more information about what’s still available at Crown Square, contact Susan Sauer of Duffe-Nuernberger Realty at 314-571-7654.

To check out the existing businesses, take a peek at the progress with the “coming soon” spaces, and to get a better look at what’s still available, come on out to the North City Farmers’ Market every Saturday.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scenes From Today’s Opening Day of North City Farmers’ Market

It was a great day in Old North for the opening of the sixth season of the North City Farmers’ Market.  Thanks to all who came out to take advantage of the opportunity to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, pastries, breads, and other locally produced foods, crafts, jewelry, and other unique items - and thanks to all of the vendors who brought their products to the market today.  Special thanks also go to the many residents and friends of Old North who put in the time and effort to set up for the day, serve as volunteer vendors, and take down at the end of the market day.

A special feature at today’s market was a visit by Saint Louis Caledonian Pipe Band, who generously contributed their time and musical talents to entertain the market’s customers and vendors (thanks to Sarah Kate Buckles and her mother for making the arrangements).

Visitors were invited to let us know how they learned about the market and to provide their feedback on the types of vendors and activities they’d like to see at future markets.  If you didn’t get a chance to register your thoughts, let us know by commenting on this page or by sending an email to info@onsl.org.

And finally, we extend our gratitude to ONSLRG’s interns and practicum students for handling major portions of the work in preparing for the season and coordinating much of the work today.  Shown above are Nic Hutchison (from Missouri State University), Michelle Wiegand (of Washington University), and Michelle’s friend Nate.  Not in the picture but also helping today was Jennifer Gray, practicum student from St. Louis University and Lindsey Forsythe (also of Washington University).

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, June 1, 2012

North City Farmers’ Market - Opening Day TOMORROW, Sat., June 2

Can it really be that time already?  Although it doesn’t feel like it should be June already, the 6th season of the North City Farmers’ Market is indeed celebrating its opening day tomorrow, Saturday, June 2, at 9 a.m.

As usual, the market offers a great opportunity to pick up some fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs (and some of it grown very locally by dedicated and industrious Old North residents in the 13th Street Community Garden), in addition to a variety of crafts and other unique products.   Of course the market also is a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people who call Old North home and catch up with some old friends.

In addition to live music in the form of St. Louis Caledonian Pipe Band (starting at 10 a.m.),  there will be children’s activities, and all who stop by the info booth to fill out a brief survey will be entered into a raffle for free passes to the City Museum.

Vendors and others who’ve signed up for this season include:

Farmers and Food Vendors

  • 13th Street Community Garden
  • Old North Grocery Co-op
  • Angel Baked Cookies
  • Black Bear Bakery
  • Burning Kumquat
  • W.M. Farms
  • La Mancha Coffeehouse
  • New Roots Urban Farm
  • Whetstone Farms
  • Del Carmen: “Black Beans a la Cubana”
  • Watermelons by Allona Morris
  • Homegrown
  • ReTrailer
  • El Chico Bakery
  • International Institute Global Farms
  • Villareal Family Farms

Artisans

  • Ahjiba Handspun
  • Jewelry in support of Jane Doe Advocacy Center
  • Stuff N Things
  • Benton Park Creations

And More:

  • Mound City Soap Company
  • Naturally Perfect Candle Co.
  • Jaymoo Productions- Soap
  • On-site Bike Repair

Visit the facebook event page for the market’s opening day: by clicking HERE and be sure to indicate your plans to attend by clicking the “Going” button on the page.

See you Saturday morning on N. 14th Street just south of St. Louis Avenue!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, May 25, 2012

Congratulations to the Eisenbrauns & Severs for Winning Landmarks “Most Enhanced” Awards

Last night Landmarks Association of St. Louis presented their 2012 Most Enhanced Awards to the 11 properties in the St. Louis area deemed to have been the best rehabilitation projects completed in the past year (in addition to one other project this year that was an example of high quality new construction).  We are pleased to announce that 2 of the historic rehabs recognized last night were properties in Old North:

  • 1413-15 Hebert, owned by Dave & Debbie Eisenbraun, and
  • 3240 N. 19th Street, owned by Heidi & Ben Sever
Congratulations to Dave, Debbie, Heidi and Ben for all of your hard work, determination, and commitment to Old North!

Above:  the Eisenbrauns' property at 1413-15 Hebert

Above: the Eisenbrauns' property at 1413-15 Hebert

Old North resident Doug Corey, who served as general contractor on the Eisenbrauns' rehab, represented Dave & Debbie who were out of town and couldn't attend the ceremony.

Old North resident Doug Corey, who served as general contractor on the Eisenbrauns' rehab, represented Debbie & Dave, who were out of town and couldn't attend the ceremony.

Above: 3240 N. 19th Street

Above: the Severs' property at 3240 N. 19th Street

We’ve told the story here a few times before (including in this post from August 2008) about how Heidi and Ben rescued this crumbling pile of rubble from near extinction as a seriously deteriorated Land Reutilization Authority (LRA)-owned shell, but you can always read the whole story on their blog at www.3walls.net.

In accepting the award, both Ben and Heidi were very gracious in thanking all of the wonderful neighbors from Old North who came out to welcome them to the neighborhood and to help them on the very first day they showed up to clean out the rubble and debris inside the long-abandoned house.  And Heidi invited all attendees to come on out to see how cool Old North is these days.

Old North's awardees after the ceremony: Doug Corey (standing in for Debbie & Dave Eisenbraun) and Ben & Heidi Sever

Old North's award-winners after the ceremony: Doug Corey (on behalf of Debbie & Dave Eisenbraun) and Ben & Heidi Sever.

Congratulations again to this year’s winners!  With the addition of two more awardees, Old North has solidified its place as the neighborhood with the most “Most Enhanced” Award-winning projects as a percentage of total buildings (and that’s the story we’re sticking with until someone can prove us wrong) or at least the neighborhood with the most award-winning projects per capita!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, May 20, 2012

Scenes from another successful Old North House & Community Tour and Homegrown Festival

Thanks to all who made this year’s Old North House & Community Tour and Homegrown Festival such a great success, especially tour committee chair, Maria Falconer (who somehow managed to evade all photographers, and, therefore, is not seen in any of our photos of the big day).  If you’d like to thank Maria, though, one option for consideration is to just stop in and buy something at Maria’s Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique at 2611 N. 14th Street or from her online shop, Rambles.com.

The Homegrown Festival, the street party portion of the event, brought all sorts of fun to Crown Square, including live music, dance performances, refreshing beverages and snacks, arts and crafts booths, information from a variety sponsors and community partners, and exhibits inside Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Gallery.

It wouldn’t be a “House” and Community Tour without houses to show, and Old North specializes in a variety home sizes and styles.

One of the Habitat for Humanity Houses under construction at Clinton & N. 13th was on the tour.

One of the Habitat for Humanity Houses under construction at Clinton & N. 13th was on the tour.

Since Old North is also known for its gardens, of the private and community variety, we put those on tour, as well.

Tom Bratkowski had a chance to show the picnic table and benches he constructed for the 13th Street Community Garden.

Tom Bratkowski had a chance to show the picnic table and benches he constructed for the 13th Street Community Garden.

In addition to the music and dance in the streets, the day provided opportunities to demonstrate various other arts initiatives.

The Old North Gallery featured photography of Benjamin Evans, as well as ONSLRG's before and after shots of buildings brought back from the brink of demolition.

The Old North Gallery featured photography of Benjamin Evans, as well as ONSLRG's before and after photos of historic buildings brought back to life from the brink of demolition.

Neighbors and visitors had a chance to see inside Northside Workshop, the soon to open art center at 1306 St. Louis Avenue.

Neighbors and visitors had a chance to see inside Northside Workshop, the soon to open art center at 1306 St. Louis Avenue.

Nancy & Ken Kranzberg (center) were present to view the progress they made possible at Northside Workshop, with Juan William Chavez (left), the artist who will run NSWS, and Sean Thomas of ONSLRG.

Nancy & Ken Kranzberg (center) were present to view the progress they made possible at Northside Workshop, with Juan William Chavez (left), the artist who will run NSWS, and Sean Thomas of ONSLRG.

Contemporary Art Museum helped out with the opening of Northside Workshop, with Old North Grocery Co-op visible just across N. 13th Street from the new art center.

La Mancha Coffeehouse provided free cups of coffee to visitors to the tour.

La Mancha Coffeehouse provided free cups of coffee to visitors to the tour.

Always a favorite part of the day, free ice cream courtesy of Crown Candy Kitchen (with Norah Ryan handling the scooping duties).

Always a favorite part of the day, free ice cream courtesy of Crown Candy Kitchen (with Norah Ryan handling the scooping duties).

Perpetua Iron, a recently opened neighborhood business owned and operated by Old North resident Janet Sanders, was also on the tour.

Perpetua Iron, a recently opened neighborhood business owned and operated by Old North resident Janet Sanders, was also on the tour.

An example of the ornamental iron items produced in Old North by Perpetua Iron.

An example of the ornamental iron items produced in Old North by Perpetua Iron.

The best part of the tour, however, is the chance to share with the world the warmth, friendliness, and community spirit of the people who live and work in Old North.

For more photos of the big day, take a look at our album on ONSLRG’s Facebook page by clicking HERE.

In addition to Maria, the list of others to thank could go on and on, but we should acknowledge the following:

  • ONSLRG’s staff, Matt Fernandez, Jane Smith, and Sean Thomas;
  • practicum students Michelle Wiegand, Becky Bitzer, Sheila Galvez, and Jennifer Gray;
  • other planning committee members Vela Hermann & Thom Fletcher;
  • Nevels Nevels for huge investment of time in laying out the tour booklet;
  • Aida Rodriguez for bringing in the Lindy Hop and other social dancers;
  • Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. and Ryan from UCBC;
  • Officer Moran & other officers from the 4th & 5th police districts;
  • Crown Candy Kitchen, especially Andy Karandzieff, for providing ice cream for all tour-goers and lunch fixings for the volunteers;
  • numerous volunteers from within Old North, or friends of Old North, including Keith Marquard, John Thro, Curtis Berry, Kate Feit, Norah Ryan, Tino Ochoa, Nico Leone and Dave Eisenbraun;
  • volunteer crews from Bank of America, FUEL for the City, and Step Up St. Louis!
  • the generous residents who opened their homes and business owners who opened their spaces for visitors to see all that Old North has to offer, including: Janet Sanders of Perpetua Iron, Vela Vm Hermann & Chris Goetsch, Ben & Heidi Sever, Ernie & Jeannie Stanley, Doug & Marg Corey, Barbara Davis, Habitat for Humanity, Matt Fernandez, Tom & Susan Tschetter, James & Luz Maria Cox, Claire Wolff, Camille Clingan, Juan William Chávez & Kiersten Torrez of NSWS, Old North Grocery Co-op, including Sarah Kate Buckles and Melissa Breed, and the 13th Street Community Garden;
  • La Mancha Coffeehouse for providing a free cup of coffee to tour visitors;
  • Event sponsors:
  • including Bank of America, Commerce Bank, Regions Bank, USBank, Reliance Bank, First National Bank, Duffe-Nuernberger Real Estate, M & I Bank (or BMO Harris), and Missouri Dept. of Agriculture;
  • And, finally, thanks go to St. Louis 3Wheel Taxi for stepping up at the last minute to provide shuttle service when our previous shuttle commitment fell through!

Thank you again to all who put in so much time and effort to make the day possible and all who attended.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, May 14, 2012

Send This YouTube Link to Encourage Others To Come See Old North This Saturday

We’ve put together a brief, rapid-pace video of recent transformations in Old North as a way of enticing those who haven’t seen the neighborhood (or haven’t seen it in a while) to come on out to the Old North House & Community Tour this Saturday, May 19.  Take a look and please feel free to “like” it and send the link on to others if you think it conveys the dynamic pace and positive changes that have taken place in Old North over the past few years.

Thank you to Old North resident Joe Eisenbraun for allowing us to use his music in this video. For more about Joe and links to more of his music, check out our post from January 20, 2012.

If you’d like to pick up a pile of OId North House & Community Tour tickets to sell (or flyers or postcards to distribute), give us a call at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office at 314-241-5031.  Or if you’d just like to buy some tickets online via our secure PayPal account, click HERE.

1COMMENT
Monday, May 14, 2012

Find the Pi Pizza Truck This Week to Support ONSLRG!

Our good friends who run the Pi Pizza Truck once again have decided to support the good work of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group by donating 50% of their lunch sales to ONSLRG all THIS WEEK.  So, take a look at their schedule for this week and get yourself (and everybody you know!) to one or more (or all) of these locations:

Monday: Clayco - 11am

Tuesday: Wells Fargo Advisors (Beaumont & Pine) - 11am

Wednesday: American Red Cross (off Lindell) - 11am

Thursday:  Dielman Industrial Park (Olivette)  - 11am

Friday: Barnes Jewish Hospital / Wash. U. Med Center (on Scott, west of Taylor) - 11am

They’ll be serving these pizzas all week:

meat:

southside classico: sausage, green pepper, mushroom & onion

simply meat: sausage

veggie:

western addition: mozzarella, spinach blended with ricotta and feta, mushrooms, onions, and garlic

three cheese: mozzerella, fontina, parmesan

They’ll be serving these salads all week:

house salad: field greens, red bell peppers, red onions, crushed walnuts, gorgonzola cheese & tossed in a house made vinaigrette

bada bing: field greens, toasted almonds, gorgonzola cheese, dried bing cherries, with raspberry vinaigrette

For more information on the Pi Pizza Truck, visit: www.restaurantpi.com/truck/

And if you do pick up lunch from them this week, be sure to thank them for their support of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group!

1COMMENT
Friday, May 11, 2012

1 Week to Go: Old North House & Community Tour and Homegrown Street Festival on Sat., May 19

We’ve come a long way in the past 30 years.  In May of 1982 Old North St. Louis Restoration Group held its first house tour, featuring 3 occupied homes and 2 vacant city-owned buildings available for purchase.

This year, the Old North House & Community Tour will feature 8 historically rehabbed homes, 1 historically-sensitive relatively new home, 1 historic home in the midst of a complete rehab, 1 LEED-certified new Habitat for Humanity home, a neighborhood business that produces wrought iron fencing & other ornamental iron, a Crown Square commercial space, the neighborhood grocery co-op, a produce-growing community garden, and a soon-to-open neighborhood art center in a rehabbed 19th century building. Among the stops on the tour are 7 properties that previously have been recognized by Landmarks Association with “Most Enhanced” Awards.  And, back by popular demand, one of the stops on this year’s tour will be one of the three homes featured on the very first tour in 1982.  Come on out to find out which one.

Tickets are available for purchase online by clicking HERE or they can be purchased in person at Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique (2611 N. 14th), Crown Candy Kitchen (1401 St. Louis Avenue), Old North Grocery Co-op (2718 N. 13th) or Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office (2700 N. 14th Street).

Because Old North is a community that embraces and celebrates diversity, we have two different flyers for this year’s tour.  Feel free to right-click and save the flyer below for forwarding as an invitation to all of your friends, family, and colleagues.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ONSLRG Seeking Applicants for Community Engagement Specialist

The Board of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has approved the establishment of a new staff position to help the organization increase its capacity to engage community residents in ONSLRG’s neighborhood revitalization work and to support better collaboration and communication among the various organizations and agencies serving Old North.

Details about the new position and the application process are as follows:

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is a community based development organization, with a mission to revitalize the physical & social dimensions of the Old North St. Louis neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.  Duties of this position include coordinating community engagement, planning & managing community events, and assistance with other community development projects that further ONSLRG’s mission. The Community Engagement Specialist reports to ONSLRG’s Executive Director.

RESPONSIBILITIES

I. Social Outreach

Assist ONSLRG’s Social Outreach Committee with planning for and implementing community events to improve the quality of life and foster relationship-building among neighbors (i.e., National Night Out block parties or outdoor movie nights) and other programming to address issues of concern to neighbors (including planning bi-monthly Quality of Life meetings);

Help reinforce and support the agenda set forth by the Equifax Old North Collective Impact Group, including serving as a liaison to facilitate collaboration and communication among a diverse range of organizations and agencies working within or serving Old North;

Facilitate establishment of and communication with block units and neighborhood watch;

Plan and implement various outreach efforts, including door-to-door or house meetings to expand participation in or knowledge of ONSLRG programming, including North City Farmers’ Market, Old North Grocery Co-op, Quality of Life meetings, etc.;

II. Project Implementation & Management

Work closely with other staff to Plan and manage North City Farmers’ Market, including

  • Recruitment / coordination of vendors, volunteers, educational programming, and entertainment
  • Marketing / promotion of the market to various constituencies, including community residents (within Old North, as well as other nearby neighborhoods), and external audiences
  • Management of student interns who will help staff Farmers’ market

Assist with or coordinate various neighborhood development initiatives, including preparation of grant applications / reports;

Work closely with other staff/organizational partners to oversee implementation of other projects;

III. Project / Neighborhood Marketing

Coordinate marketing and promotion of ONSLRG events and programs (such as annual House Tour/Homegrown Street Festival) and assist other staff with marketing real estate, including use of online & social media;

IV. Community-based Planning

Work with other staff, outside partners, and community residents to identify & plan for new developments or neighborhood improvement initiatives (i.e., new community gardens, dog park, new business ventures, etc.).

QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate for this position will have the following characteristics:

Character / Attitude

Commitment to promoting revitalization and community development in Old North St. Louis in a manner that respects the urban, historic, and cultural character of the neighborhood;

Ability and willingness to work in an economically, racially and culturally diverse community;

Capacity to balance individual initiative and group or collaborative processes;

Willingness and capacity to work on wide variety of other tasks related to the workings of a non-profit, community-based organization.

Education / Related Job Experience

Experience working in community-based collaborative efforts;

At least two years experience or educational degree in community development, social work, or related field;

Supervisory experience preferred, since the position will involve supervision of interns;

Knowledge of and experience with urban neighborhood development issues, including community outreach.

Skills

Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse constituencies, including program partners, community residents, investors, and committee and board leaders;

Familiarity with various community development & neighborhood stabilization agencies and related resources (or ability to learn programs quickly);

Excellent written and oral communication skills;

Ability to take responsibility for broad range of projects, including community events, comprehensive planning, and public health initiatives.

To apply for this position, send resume and two professional references by May 15, 2012 to:

ONSLRG, 2700 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63106; or by email to: info@onsl.org

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is an equal opportunity employer

A downloadable, PDF-version of this notice can be found on the Staff page of the ONSL.org website or by clicking HERE.  Please forward this link to anyone you think might be a suitable candidate.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, April 28, 2012

Scenes from Brightside Blitz Clean-up in Old North

Thank you to all of the neighbors and other volunteers who came out today to help clean up debris and trash throughout Old North as part of the annual Brightside Blitz.

Among the volunteers caught in the act of cleaning up Old North’s alleys, streets, gardens and vacant lots were Dave Eisenbraun, Brian, Heidi Sever, and Gloria Bratkowski (pictured above, from left to right).

Below  is the “before” picture of the pile these volunteers cleared away, along with the back of the “No Dumping” sign which had been dumped on top of the pile. (photo courtesy of Heidi Sever)

Over in the Hebert Street Community Garden, aka the Johnnie Owens Garden, Jay Roberts and Eric Little (shown in the photo below) assisted Barbara Manzara with the re-staining and re-sealing the arbor.

Doug Corey cleared and chopped wayward trees and branches on Sullivan (above) and Ross Dorsey (below) worked the 13th Street Community Garden.

Thanks to all others who put in hours of hard work while managing to avoid the glare of cameras - today and on the numerous other days of service to the community!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, April 20, 2012

International Media Coverage of Old North in Cities Today

What do Toronto, Zurich, Budapest, and Old North St. Louis have in common? All are mentioned in an article on walkability and urban economic development published in Cities Today, a London-based magazine focused on urban sustainable development initiatives around the world.  Click HERE to read the online version of the article.

The article includes a photo of sidewalks being installed along the 1300 block of North Market during the construction phase of the North Market Place Homes development as an example of efforts to make the neighborhood more walkable.

1COMMENT
Saturday, April 7, 2012

Upstream Theater Performances Coming to Old North Gallery Sun., April 15 & Sun., April 22

The award-winning Upstream Theater will bring two performances of its current production of “Conversations with an Executioner” to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street. The performances are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 and Sunday, April 22.

Upstream Theater was recognized by the Riverfront Times as “Best Theater Company in St. Louis” in their 2010 “Best of St. Louis” issue with the following description: “if you’re open to having your mind stretched and your complacency challenged, if you welcome storytelling that is a little less conventional, then Upstream Theater should have a valued place in your theatergoing life.”

Among the actors performing in “Conversations with an Executioner” will be Old North resident John Bratkowski.

Because of the gritty nature of the play which commemorates the 69th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and addresses the aftermath of Nazi war crimes, the play is not recommended for children under the age of 13.  Admission will be free for audience members between the ages of 13 and 17 and will be $5 for audience members 18 and older.  This price represents a significant discount on the ticket prices for performances of the play at another theater in Grand Center.  The producers wanted to bring the play to Old North because of the neighborhood’s history as a home for many Polish immigrants and several generations of their descendants.

Due to limited seating at the Old North Gallery, reservations are recommended, and can be made by sending an email to upstreamtheater@sbcglobal.net.

Arts programming at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Gallery is made possible in part by funding from the Regional Arts Commission.

2COMMENTS
Monday, April 2, 2012

6 Years Later, Mullanphy Emigrant Home Still Stands

Six years ago today, on April 2, 2006, the story of the landmark Mullanphy Emigrant Home nearly came to an end.  After a devastating storm with tornadic winds hit the 1867 structure, causing the south wall to collapse, the city’s building division issued a demolition order.

With strong support from Old North residents and others from throughout St. Louis who cared about preserving our city’s architectural and cultural heritage, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group launched a campaign to get the City to rescind the order.  Based on a structural engineer’s report commissioned by ONSLRG which showed that the building was not in imminent danger of complete collapse, the City withdrew their order and gave ONSLRG time to find a way to stabilize and secure the building.

By November of  2006, ONSLRG ended up purchasing the historic building and began a fundraising effort to cover the anticipated $100-150,000 expense of rebuilding the south wall and stabilizing the building.  However, on March 31, 2007, these plans suffered a major setback, and the hopes of saving the Mullanphy building seemed to be dashed for good when another massive storm hit the structure, blowing through the opening at the south end, leading to more wall collapses along the east facing side and much of the north wall.

Although the Riverfront Times declared the preservation efforts to be “the Best Lost Cause” in their 2007 “Best of St. Louis” issue, ONSLRG was able to mobilize enough support from the community to raise nearly $80,000 in contributions and loans from approximately 200 individuals and organizations, such as Landmarks Association of St. Louis, Society of Architectural Historians, the St. Louis AIA chapter, and many others.*  Schlafly Bottleworks donated beer and space for an emergency fundraiser; former Aldermanic Board President Jim Shrewsbury sent out an appeal to all of his past contributors; and Missouri Preservation added the Mullanphy Building to their list of most endangered historic sites in the State of Missouri.   With contributions of labor, equipment, and supplies, contractors affiliated with the Masonry Contractors Association and construction oversight from E. M. Harris Construction Co., work on rebuilding the foundation at the south side of the building and completely rebuilding the south wall, large portions of the adjoining east wall, and the north end continued throughout 2007 and reached completion in 2008.

Today the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building stands as a reminder of how our city grew rapidly in the latter part of the 1800s by putting out the welcome mat for newcomers arriving at our city from all over the world and as a testament to the power of a determined community undeterred by seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Thank you again to all who contributed to this great cause and assisted ONSLRG with the stabilization and preservation efforts.  Although the economy has not helped with a full redevelopment of the building, the Mullanphy Emigrant Home has been preserved and secured and is ready for a new chapter.  If you’d like to discuss ideas for a redevelopment and return of the building to productive use, please contact the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031.  And if you’d like to assist ONSLRG with our ongoing holding and maintenance costs, give us a call or make an online contribution by clicking HERE (and scroll down to the “Make a Donation to ONSLRG” section) - and be sure to enter “Mullanphy” in the special instructions area.

*It’s also worth noting, which we neglected to do in the original version of this post, that the ONSLRG Board of Directors (led at the time by John Burse) deserves credit for agreeing to let the organization’s staff spend so much time on this effort and for committing over $75,000 of the organization’s scarce funds to the stabilization, securing, insuring, paying taxes on, and other ongoing maintenance of the building.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Old North Bustling with Activity, including Bike To My Lou and Volunteers from SLU’s Showers of Service and Dept. of Corrections

VOLUNTEERS ASSIST WITH CLEANING UP, SPRUCING UP, AND BOARD-UP TASKS

Old North neighborhood volunteers received considerable help today from students from St. Louis University and another group of volunteers brought to the neighborhood by the Missouri Department of Corrections’ Office of Probation & Parole.  SLU’s annual Showers of Service program is a day of service sponsored and planned by the SLU chapter of Alpha Phi Omega.  For several years now, this program has sent dozens of students to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group to be deployed throughout the neighborhood for various volunteer projects where they can work side by side with neighborhood residents on community improvement projects.  As shown in the photos below, this year’s range of activities included alley clean-ups, boarding up vacant buildings, clearing empty lots, and a lot of work in the neighborhood’s numerous community gardens.

ONSLRG's Community Development Specialist, Matt Fernandez, a SLU grad with a bachelor's degree in Urban Affairs and a Master's in Urban Planning & Real Estate Development, inspired the students with evidence of life & employment after SLU.

ONSLRG's Community Development Specialist, Matt Fernandez, a SLU grad with a bachelor's degree in Urban Affairs and a Master's in Urban Planning & Real Estate Development, inspired the students with evidence of life & employment after SLU.

The results of the volunteers’ work can be seen all over Old North…

The Johnnie Owens Garden at the Hebert Street Community Garden

The Johnnie Owens Garden at the Hebert Street Community Garden

Aida Rodriguez appreciated the help she received at Wingmann Park

Aida Rodriguez appreciated the help she received at Wingmann Park

The quasi free range residents of the 13th Street Community Garden are enjoying the cleaned up conditions around their home

The quasi-free-range residents of the 13th Street Community Garden are enjoying the cleaned up conditions around their home

Thank you to Alpha Phi Omega at SLU, to the Dept. of Corrections’ Office of Probation & Parole, and to neighborhood residents, including but not limited to James & Luz Maria Cox & family; Keith Marquard, Aida Rodriguez, Ernie Stanley, Chris Goetsch, Vela Hermann, Graham Lane, Ben Sever, Matt Fernandez, Ross Dorsey, Thom Fletcher, and many, many others.

BIKE TO MY LOU BIKE RIDE PASSES THROUGH OLD NORTH

A large contingent of cyclists passed through Old North this afternoon as part of the Bike to My Lou bike ride.  The free community ride and festival took riders through some of downtown’s adjacent neighborhoods - and we thank the organizers and sponsors for including Old North on the itinerary!

HABITAT HOMES UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Meanwhile, work continues on the 12 Habitat for Humanity homes under construction at N. 13th and Clinton.

A GOOD DAY FOR BUSINESS

Businesses in Old North enjoyed the flow of customers brought in by the various events going on in the neighborhood and the beautiful spring weather.

La Mancha Coffeehouse

La Mancha Coffeehouse

Therapy Boutique

Crown Candy Kitchen

Crown Candy Kitchen

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scenes from Metro Theater Company’s Performance of Super Cowgirl & Mighty Miracle

Please join us Sunday (March 25) at 1 p.m. for another FREE performance of Metro Theater Company’s Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle at the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.

In the meantime, enjoy these scenes from today’s performance.

The play is great for young children and the cast are fantastic with interacting with the audience after the performance.  Thank you again to Metro Theater Company for bringing this to the community, and thank you to the Regional Arts Commission for making it possible for ONSLRG to host events such as this.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 24-25: Metro Theater Co. Performances of Super Cowgirl & Mighty Miracle at Old North Gallery

Please plan to join us next Saturday, March 24, or Sunday, March 25, for Metro Theater Company’s performances of Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle, a new play by award-winning playwright, Jose Cruz Gonzalez.  Both performances start at 1 p.m. and are free of charge.

Please spread the word and invite your neighbors, especially families with children.  This powerful and often humorous play is appropriate for audiences of all ages.  Click HERE for a PDF version of the flyer pictured above, which you can print and post or pass along to those you want to invite.

For information about the performances in Old North, please contact Old North St. Louis Restoration Group at 314-241-5031.  For more information about the play, contact Metro Theater Company at 314-997-6777 or visit their website at www.metrotheatercompany.org.

1
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tschetters’ Home Featured in Sunday’s Post-Dispatch

Thank you to Susan and Tom Tschetter for allowing your home to be featured in Sunday’s Home section of the Post-Dispatch and for sharing your upbeat perspective on living in Old North St. Louis.  The article can be found on page H3 of the March 11, 2012, edition of the Post or click HERE to read the online version at stltoday.com/lifestyles.

In addition to showing the world that Old North is a neighborhood of historically significant homes with cool, one-of-a-kind features, the story also makes a plug for the enriching, community aspect of life in Old North.  After describing the great character and architectural details of the Tschetters’ 1879 home, reporter Amy Bertrand notes that “it’s the people of the neighborhood that mean the most to the Tschetters,” and then offers a quote from Susan: “It’s the ambience… We love it here.”

To see more photos from the Tschetters’ home, click here for the STL Today photo page, but we can also provide a few of our own from just a couple weeks ago, when Susan and Tom opened their home for the most recent of the many groups of visitors who’ve come to be impressed by their home and other developments in Old North.

On February 25, “Urban Walkers Group” came to see the revitalization in progress throughout the neighborhood, and made a stop at the Tschetters’ home along with other sites in Old North.

Friends of Old North and others who would like to see more of the fascinating homes in ONSL will get a chance on Saturday, May 19 when ONSLRG puts on the annual Old North House & Community Tour.  For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the tour page now: http://onsl.org/house-and-community-tour/.

Of course we also have opportunities to enjoy the ambience of the neighborhood as an owner of one of these historic gems, which can be rehabbed to reflect your own personality and style at a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere.  We recently received a visit from a current New Yorker who just closed on the purchase of a house in Old North.  Among her reasons for buying in Old North: “This house was an amazing value, and the mortgage rates are at historic lows; so, from a long-term investment standpoint, it makes perfect sense.”

To learn more about homebuying opportunities in Old North, visit ONSL.org’s real estate page at http://onsl.org/real-estate/.  And even if you’re not up for the rehab process or owning an old home, among the positive features of Old North is that we have new homes, as well.  Check out the website for 1319 North Market, which is one of the best deals in town for new or recently constructed homes.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, March 10, 2012

Trivia Night on April 14 for North City Farmers’ Market and 13th Street Community Garden

Join friends of the North City Farmers’ Market and Old North’s 13th Street Community Garden on Saturday, April 14th to show your support and provide these good community causes with some financial means to keep up their good work.

Because of limited space, those planning to attend the trivia night fundraiser are encouraged to RSVP for the event by calling ONSLRG at 314-241-5031 or sending an email to info@onsl.org.

Both the market and the garden are projects of OId North St. Louis Restoration Group, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.  All contributions to support the market and the garden are tax-deductible and should be made payable to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group or ONSLRG, with a note or reference in the subject line for NCFM or 13th St. Garden.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thank you to Pi Pizza Truck for Supporting ONSLRG!

If you get an opportunity to eat at one of the Pi Pizza Restaurants around town or if you can catch the Pi Pizza Truck during a lunch break, be sure to thank them for their support of Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group.  Today the pizza truck dedicated 50% of its sales to support the ongoing work of ONSLRG, which was more than enough reason for us to get out of the office for lunch and track down the truck at 8th and Pine in Downtown St. Louis.  As seen in the photo above, our practicum students, Michelle Wiegand, Sheila Galvez, and Becky Bitzer, joined us for the field trip to witness good corporate citizenship in action.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Save the Date NOW: Sat., May 19th - Old North House & Community Tour and Homegrown Street Festival

Put Saturday, May 19, 2012, on your calendar now, and make plans join us that day for the Annual Old North House & Community Tour.

Once the weather starts getting nice (and we got a head-start on that a few months ago this year), all sorts of events and activities start jockeying for space on our calendars. So, now is the time to get Saturday, May 19 onto your calendar - and it’s not too early to start telling all of your friends, family, co-workers, and everyone else you know to join you for a day of celebrating all that’s good about urban neighborhoods.

Get your tickets now - either online by clicking HERE for the Tour and Street Festival Page on our ONSL.org website or by stopping by the ONSLRG office at 2700 N. 14th Street.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for businesses and organizations that want to support the ongoing revitalization of Old North and want to demonstrate their commitment to “one of the country’s very best revitalizing neighborhoods,” (as our good friend Kaid Benfield described Old North in his post on the Atlantic Cities site when Old North won EPA’s National Award for Smart Growth Achievement).  Click HERE for information about sponsorship levels and how to take advantage of that opportunity.

And volunteer opportunities are still available for all who want to help us make the day a rousing success- and get a free pass for the tour, an invite to the after-party, and other great tokens of our appreciation.  Click HERE for information about volunteer opportunities.

For any other questions, please feel free to call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, February 25, 2012

Scenes from 2012 Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper

On Monday, Feb. 20, a mix of residents and friends of Old North gathered for ONSLRG’s 2012 Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper at 2624 N. 14th Street, in the heart of Crown Square.

Among the highlights: the introduction of newly elected Board members, including (as shown in the photo above, from left to right) Doug Rasmussen (returning to the board after several years off); Tino Ochoa (currently Board President and returning for another term on the board); Linda Quinn; Nevels Nevels; and Eulonda Nevels.  Thom Fletcher chaired the nominations committee and is seen welcoming the new members.  The individuals shown above will join the following who will be continuing their service on the board:

Graham Lane, Grace Wachter, Gloria Bratkowski, Amy Corey, Dave Eisenbraun, Nico Leone, Sean Lowery, Kelly Owens, and Ben Sever.

We also acknowledged and thanked the following who have now retired from the Board:

John Burse, Kathleen Parvis, Kathryn Bentley, and Brian Krueger.

In addition to seeing a slideshow of highlights from 2011 and presentations from committee and project chairs about plans for 2012 (as shown in the photo above, in which Vela Hermann describes the Neighborhood Ownership Plan), the crowd also heard from 3rd Ward Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr., (as shown below) who attended the event for the first time now that part of Old North is in the 3rd Ward as a result of ward re-districting.

As always, one of the best parts of the evening was the chance to enjoy the flavors of home-cooked foods brought by neighbors for the pot-luck supper.

For more photos from the event, click on the following link to visit ONSLRG’s flickr site: ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Photos Set.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day in Old North

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us in Old North St. Louis.

Crown Candy was hopping throughout the day, but there still is time to stop in to get a box of chocolates for your sweetheart - or for a nice dessert after your romantic dinner.

Musicians were warming up in the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group’s gallery, which has been transformed into a fine dining establishment for Welch One Catering’s Valentine’s Dinner.  (It’s too late to get reservations for tonight, but if you’d like to arrange for a similar event here or elsewhere, be sure to get in touch with Euylan at WelchOneCatering.com - and be sure to tell him we’re looking forward to the day he opens a restaurant at Crown Square.)

And if you hurry on down to Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique, you can still pick up a Valentine’s Day card from Maria before she closes up for the night at 6 p.m.

3COMMENTS
Sunday, February 12, 2012

Scenes from Run for the Chocolate in Old North

More than 1,000 participants braved the sub-freezing temperatures early this morning as they made their way through the heart of Old North in the first ever “Run for the Chocolate” 5K race.

A good distance ahead of the pack, the first runner passed the halfway point at N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue and headed back through Crown Square around 9:13 a.m. en route to the finish line just north of Laclede’s Landing.

For many of the runners it was their first glimpse of the revitalization in progress in Old North, especially along N. 14th Street at Crown Square.  Among the participants, though, were residents of Old North, including Nicole Leone (dressed in black with red gloves in the photo above) and Nico Leone (who was a bit too fast to capture in a photo).  Also in the crowd was Crown Square commercial leasing agent Susan Sauer who as able to point out some available spaces as she passed by.  (If you missed her during the run, you still can contact her by phone at 314-571-7654 or email at ssauer@ndconsulting.com.)

Although Crown Candy Kitchen was closed during the run, participants could smell the bacon, which no doubt provided incentive for some to finish the race to get back here for a good BLT and shake.  Those calories that just got burned off have to be replenished somehow.

And even though runners couldn’t stop for chocolates while passing by Crown Candy, race volunteers were still out on the street with complimentary heart-shaped chocolates along with the more traditional cups of water.

Thank you to all of the run organizers and sponsors who brought this great event to Old North and helped show off one of our city’s coolest old neighborhoods.  Special thanks go to Mike Weiss and Jerry Bruce of Big Shark Bicycle Company and Lindsay Van Quaethem of the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, February 3, 2012

Who’s Who in Old North: the Nevels Family

Old North Saint Louis is a vibrant community with a diverse population of active and engaged residents who represent a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives, life experiences, and skills.  One of the great strengths of this neighborhood is that it seems to have an extraordinarily high percentage of residents who contribute their time and talents toward improving the community, whether through their jobs or as volunteers (or both).  Today we share the story of highly respected professionals who have chosen careers that provide opportunities for them to help others and who, when they moved into the city, selected Old North as the neighborhood where they wanted to raise their daughters.

Our last “Who’s Who in Old North” post featured Joe Eisenbraun, who grew up in Old North and is now starting his own family in the neighborhood.  Now, we put our spotlight on Nevels and Eulonda Nevels and their two daughters, who moved to Old North from Richmond Heights in 2007.  Nevels is a high school math teacher at Northwest Academy of Law and is the 2011-’12 St. Louis Public Schools Teacher of the Year.  Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Eulonda is the Senior Director of Programs for the YWCA of Metro St. Louis.

The photo above was published in the St. Louis Public Schools’ newsletter, “School & Home,” along with the article about the selection of Nevels to be Teacher of the Year.   Pictured are, from left to right, Valerie Carter-Thomas, principal at Northwest Academy of Law; Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Special Administrative Board; Nevels N. Nevels; Eulonda Nevels; Nevels’s mother, Mrs. Erma Nevels; and Nevels and Eulonda’s daughters, Constance and Rachel.  To read the full article, click HERE for the Fall 2011 edition of “School & Home.”

When asked why the family chose Old North for their new home, Nevels identified “Old North’s proximity to downtown St. Louis and the historic feel to the neighborhood.”  Although their jobs keep them busy and away from the neighborhood during their work and school hours, the Nevels Family represents the character and dedication of the residents who make Old North such a great place to live.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

5K Run for the Chocolate Coming through Old North Feb. 12

Get ready for the streets of Old North to be overtaken by hundreds (or maybe thousands) of runners on the morning of Sunday, February 12.   Just two days before Valentine’s Day, the “Sweetest 5K in St. Louis” will come to the heart of Old North as part of the first “Run for the Chocolate.”  See below for the race map and to see how it travels through Old North (primarily up N. 13th Street to Warren, then Warren to N. 14th Street, then up N. 14th through Crown Square to St. Louis Avenue, and then back the same route).  Please help pass the word along to your neighbors that some of the streets and intersections along the route will be temporarily closed during the race.

If you’d like to participate as a runner, see below for registration details.  And, with this many participants coming through the neighborhood, we could use a lot of volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks, including helping set up barricades and directing the runners through intersections and along the route.   If you’d like to volunteer, please contact Mike Weiss (by email: mike@bigshark.com), and be sure to mention that you’re interested in helping in Old North.

This exciting new 5K through the streets of Downtown and Old North will spice up Valentine’s weekend for couples and singles alike, as well as benefit the Downtown Bicycle Station.

When: Sunday, February 12th, 2012. Race starts at 9:00 am. Registration will be open at 7:00 am.

What: A 5K run from Laclede’s Landing to Crown Candy Kitchen and Back.  5K too much? We will also have a 1 mile Walk for the Chocolate. It could be cold and snowy- so be prepared for Midwestern Winter. Timing will be provided by Big River Running Company.

Where: The Run for the Chocolate Start and Finish will be on O’Fallon Street- just North of the Lumiere Casino.

Packet Pick-Up: We will have Race Packet Pick Up at Little Shark Athletic Company from 10:00am - 6:00pm on Saturday February 11th.

Registration Information: Cost for the Run or Walk is $30. There will be a slight surcharge for online registration. Race entry for Happy Couples that register together for the run or walk is $50. (This category is for ‘romantic’ couples- married or not quite married…)

Racers will be categorized by age and relationship status. Please identify if you are one of the following:

  • Bachelor
  • Bachelorette
  • Off the Market Men
  • Off the Market Women
  • Cougar Woman 40+
  • Serial Dater Men 40+ (Manther)

Age Groups for Bachelor, Bachelorette and Off the Market Categories will be:

12-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-70, 70+

Register by clicking HERE for the link to RunReg.com.

Race Goodies- all racers will recieve sweet schwag.

Run for the Chocolate Signature Event Shirt (Will Run for Chocolate). These will differentiate between ON and OFF the Market runners. So you will know who you can schmooze after the race.

Edible Medals. Everyone wins.

Post race Hot Chocolate.

Winners of the Bachelor and Bachelorette Age Group will win a Blind Ice Cream Date at Crown Candy Kitchen or participating restaurant with their opposite gender age group winner.

Winners of the Off the Market Categories will receive a romantic Desert Date with their significant other.

Get Lucky: We will be raffling off romantic prizes post race.

And, as noted above…  Volunteer: Can’t run? Like Chocolate? We can make sure you’re helpful and sweetened. Email mike@bigshark.com

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mark Your Calendar Now - Mon., Feb. 20: ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper

Please make plans to join us on Monday, February 20th at 6 p.m. for Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper.  Watch for more details soon.

In addition to the opportunity to share a food dish with neighbors from Old North and friends and supporters from outside the neighborhood, we’ll offer a preview of some of the plans for 2012 and hold an election for new ONSLRG board members.

If you know of someone you’d like to suggest for nomination to the board, or if you have any questions regarding the nomination process, please contact Thom Fletcher, co-chair of our Social Outreach Committee, at monstromo@yahoo.com or by phone at 623-4755.  ONSLRG Bylaws require that members of the board be members in good standing of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, are 18 years old or older, donate their time and labor in ONSLRG’s efforts to improve the neighborhood, and uphold the Bylaws of the Restoration Group. For information on how to renew your membership of the Old North St Louis Restoration Group, or for information on how to become a member, you can contact Thom, call the ONSLRG office (314-241-5031) or visit the ONSLRG membership page on the ONSL website at http://onsl.org/join/.

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is a community-based nonprofit organization established by neighborhood residents in 1981 to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of the community in a manner that respects its historic, cultural, and urban character.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, January 20, 2012

Who’s Who in Old North: Musician/Songwriter Joe Eisenbraun

We’ve dedicated a lot of space on this blog to showing off the architectural richness of Old North’s historic building stock, with a heavy emphasis on the transformation in progress from abandonment to new life and purpose.  While all of that makes for compelling pictures, Old North wouldn’t be enjoying the resurgence that has attracted national attention if it didn’t have a vibrant community of residents who live in these architectural gems or work in the preserved or restored commercial spaces.  Therefore, with today’s post, we begin a new series of profiles of the talented, friendly, and unique characters who make Old North such a dynamic and creative community.

One of the people in Old North who has regular contact with visitors and residents alike is Joe Eisenbraun.  On many days you can find Joe behind the counter at Crown Candy Kitchen, just a couple blocks from the historic, Old North home where Joe grew up, which is just down the street from the house where Joe and his wife Susannah are living and preparing space for their soon-to-arrive baby.  It’s also worth noting that Joe and Susannah met at the North City Farmers’ Market, so theirs is a marriage made in Old North.

Joe is also one of the many creative types who call Old North home.  A talented musician and songwriter, Joe periodically performs at various music clubs around town and has been releasing new albums on a regular basis since 2001.  In a Riverfront Times review of one of Joe’s previous albums, Christian Schaeffer described Joe’s style:

“Eisenbraun writes sharp, catchy songs that display wit and heart in equal measure, as they vacillate between nervy power-pop and pensive folk-rock. … A little too snarky for alt-country and a little too wistful for indie-rock, Eisenbraun finds a comfortable middle ground in between genres.”

Joe's latest CD includes cover art by another Old North resident, Linda Molinari, and graphic design by another product of Old North, Joe's brother, Robert.

Joe's latest CD includes cover art by another Old North resident, Linda Molinari, and graphic design by another product of Old North, Joe's brother, Robert.

After 18 months of hard work, Joe’s newest album, Big Guns, is now out and features 18 tracks of homemade pop, rock & folk tunes.  (Among Joe’s friends who collaborated with him on this one were two former Old Northers, Greg McNair and Maggie Clements.) The album is available at Vintage Vinyl and Old North’s neighborhood coffee establishment, La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2815 N. 14th Street.  For the next two weeks, La Mancha is offering a free small coffee with every $10 purchase of Big Guns. So now you can enjoy listening to the musical talents of Joe Eisenbraun and a good cup of Joe at the same time.

For information about Joe’s previous releases, to see some more photos, and to listen to a few of his songs, visit www.JoeEisenbraun.com.

Stay tuned to this space for more upcoming posts on the people who represent the spirit and character of Old North.  In the meantime, feel free to click HERE to read the profiles of a few other Old North residents on the People page of the ONSL.org website.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Year Brings More Media & Outside Attention for Old North

The new year is barely two weeks old, but Old North has already received a good deal of attention in 2012 from a range of outside sources, including some publications with national readerships.

The latest moment in the spotlight came when HUD’s Best Practices website posted a feature on Old North’s Crown Square on Friday.  The Crown Square redevelopment earned its place as the latest in a series of reports on “best practice” developments around the country because the project resulted from a strong partnership between Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance (with support from the City of St. Louis), a genuine community-based planning process, and a commitment to affordable and mixed-income housing, historic preservation, and various other sustainable development principles.  Click HERE or on the image below to read the full report.

On January 5, Builder Magazine posted a story on their website about the desirability of walkable neighborhoods and used Old North St. Louis as their featured example of a community that has benefited from improvements to its walkability.  The article cited Old North’s comprehensive approach to redevelopment and offered several photos from Old North, including a community garden, the North City Farmers’ Market, historically sensitive new homes at North Market Place, and the streetscape at Crown Square, to illustrate the elements that have made Old North not just more livable for current residents but also more attractive to prospective residents.  Click HERE or on the image below to read the full article.

Eleven Music Magazine’s January issue has hit the streets with Old North as its “Neighborhood of the Month”, which is nice recognition, especially for the Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall.  (Although the piece includes a mis-quote about the age of the neighborhood - indicating that the neighborhood was a separate village from St. Louis from 1860 - 1940, rather than the real dates of 1816-1841, we’ll forgive that because of the overall positive tone of the piece and the fact that the actual quote may have been difficult to hear during the interview, which was recorded at Old North’s La Mancha Coffeehouse, with the sound of an espresso machine and various diners’ chatter in the background.)  Click HERE or on the image below to read the article.

Visitors to hotels throughout the St. Louis area are picking up this month’s issue of Where Magazine-St. Louis, in which they’ll read about 6 new independent retailers “worth your time,” including Old North’s newest Crown Square establishment, Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique.

Where Magazine is available at concierge desks and in-room at medium-to-high end hotels and other select businesses, but it’s also available online to provide travelers (and locals) with “the most complete guide to the city’s top restaurants, shops, shows, exhibits, and tours.”  The online version (seen below) also features a photo of the interior at Rambles.  Click HERE or on the image below to see and read the online version of the review of Rambles.

Thank you to all of these publications for sharing our story with the rest of the world!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, December 31, 2011

Part 4 (and Final Installment) of Old North’s Amazing Year in Review

The previous three installments of this Old North Year in Review (click HERE for Part 3, which includes links to the previous two posts) have been spread over the past 3 days with a lot of events, developments, and other neighborhood happenings in Old North, but still left a good amount out.  So now, on the last day of 2011, we’ll try to cover a lot of ground and touch on everything else not mentioned in the previous 3 posts.

Old North’s comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization has taken many years of hard work and has been showing positive results over the past several years.  One of the ways ONSLRG has helped make so many different pieces of the revitalization happen has been through recruitment and coordination of volunteers from outside the community to support the efforts of neighborhood residents.  Therefore, we need to thank all of those who came in to work with us throughout 2011.

VOLUNTEERS, INTERNS, & PRACTICUM STUDENTS

As usual, we received a lot of help from students who worked with ONSLRG this year as interns or practicum students, including Melissa Danielle Alper (Coro Fellow), Sarah Belcher (Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis), Caleb Bess (Washington University), Alyssa Festenstein (WU), Miranda Gilstrap (WU), Molly Johnson (St. Louis University), Angela Kress (WU), Jim Schebek (SLU), Annie White (WU), and no doubt others that we’re failing to acknowledge.  Thank you to all for providing hundreds of hours of professional-level support in exchange for feedback and insights from the veteran members of our staff.

In August and September we hosted a group of volunteers affiliated with Volunteers for Peace, from Canada, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, South Korea, and Turkey, who helped with garden work, painting, vacant lot clean-ups, and numerous other projects.   Thanks also go out to James Anderson for housing the volunteers at his home and to Matt Fernandez for supervising their work.

Other volunteer groups helped with a broad range of activities, from painting the interior of the Old North Grocery Co-op by employees of Ernst & Young; neighborhood-wide clean-ups by St. Louis University students (some through Alpha Phi Omega and the Make A Difference Day of Service, and others through the law school’s orientation’s service day); 13th Street Garden work by Crossroads School students; and other groups.

GREEN SPACE IMPROVEMENTS

A lot of the volunteer work throughout the neighborhood took place in community gardens or with clean ups or plantings at other public spaces, often coordinated by ONSLRG’s Green Space Committee led by Gloria Bratkowski, or volunteer leaders for specific gardens, such as Veronica Holden at the 13th Street Garden.  The 13th Street Garden received a new “junior high tunnel” (shown in the background on the left side of the photo above) and informational /educational signage courtesy of Gateway Greening.

In April, neighbors took to the streets, alleys, and vacant lots of the neighborhood as part of the annual Operation Brightside spring clean-up blitz.

Operation Brightside also provided additional assistance to Old North this year through support and volunteers for improvements at Wingmann Park, as planned and coordinated by Aida Rodriquez and Gloria Bratkowski, with Brightside Director Mary Lou Green joining us for a completion celebration at the House & Community Tour in May.

Meanwhile, Matt Fernandez recruited his brother Nick and other Boy Scout volunteers to take on clean up and new plantings at the community greenspace (sometimes referred to as the Enterprise Garden) at Blair and St. Louis Avenue.

SOCIAL OUTREACH & COMMUNITY MEETINGS

ONSLRG’s Social Outreach Committee, with leadership from Thom Fletcher & Amy Corey, kept busy with Quality of Life meetings and exploring new ways to encourage community-building among new and long-term neighbors.  One tool for maintaining a safe and peaceful community is through a coordinated communication between neighbors and the police about neighborhood concerns.  This past summer, the committee worked to bring in 4th and 5th District police representatives to hold Neighborhood Watch trainings with neighbors and to establish a new communications vehicle with a new listserve for neighbors to exchange safety and crime prevention information.

Tours & Visits from Near & Far
Because of all of the visible progress achieved in Old North, we received a lot of visitors this year for presentations about our community-based and comprehensive approach to redevelopment and tours to see the results of our work.
In May we received another visit from a delegation of Russian community development professionals, who were here through to participate in a join program of University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Center for International Studies and East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
In June participants in the Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT) program from throughout the state came to Old North to learn about our healthy food initiatives and how ONSLRG has worked with the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture and Missouri farmers, such as Rusty Lee, to bring Missouri-grown products to urban consumers.
Numerous classes from different academic programs at St. Louis University, Washington University, University of Missouri St. Louis, Maryville University, McKendree University (in the photo above), the Principia, as well as urban planning grad students from Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University in Chicago.
Local historian NiNi Harris once again brought several of her classes to Old North (including the group shown above in June), while Michael Allen of the Preservation Research Office led a tour of Old North for the Missouri Historical Society in April.
In September we had a visit from university administrators in town for the North Central Cooperative Extension Association Annual Meeting, who came to learn how the University of Missouri has assisted ONSLRG on multiple community development initiatives.  Special thanks to Dave Baker, Assistant Dean at MU’s College of Agriculture and the planning efforts of Kay Gasen and Kara Lubischer of UMSL / UM-Extension.
OLD NORTH GROCERY CO-OP COMPLETES 1st FULL YEAR AND CONTINUES GROWTH
One of the highlights of any neighborhood tour or presentation these days is the Old North Grocery Co-op, especially as an illustration of how Old North’s revival is about more than housing or historic preservation.  With research published earlier this year by the National Association of Realtors that shows that a grocery store is the #1 amenity Americans of all demographic categories would want in their neighborhood, Old North can take comfort in knowing that the community has its own grocery store which is getting better and better.   In 2011 the store received a visit by Dr. Roger Beachy, the director at the time of USDA’s National Institute on Food & Agriculture; the co-op surpassed its goal of 200 members (reaching 202 by Dec. 30);  and the building benefited from numerous improvements.
The most obvious changes happened on the exterior, with a wider, double-door opening and an ADA-compliant ramp to make the front entry more accessible, a fresh coat of bright paint across the St. Louis Avenue and 13th Street walls, and a new informational signboard at the entry (courtesy of St. Louis ArtWorks made possible by contribution from Missouri Foundation for Health to ArtWorks).  The co-op is owned by its members, who held their first annual meeting in July, but is operated by staff from ONSLRG, also thanks to a grant from MFH.  In 2011, the co-op began a more extensive planning process for reaching financial sustainability by the end of 2012 when MFH funding runs out.
PRESENTATIONS ABOUT OLD NORTH OUTSIDE THE NEIGHBORHOOD - IN & OUT OF TOWN
Sometimes we’re called upon to share the story of Old North’s revitalization with audiences attending events well outside the neighborhood’s borders.  This year we took the show on the road to the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, in February (along with our partners from Trailnet); to the Society for American City & Regional Planning History conference in Baltimore in November (with UMSL History Dept. chair Andrew Hurley); and in March, Old North was included in one of the sessions at a conference a little closer to home on the topic of workforce housing and community development sponsored by FOCUS St. Louis and University of Missouri-St. Louis.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Because of Old North’s growing list of successful efforts at historic preservation, redevelopment of formerly abandoned spaces with new uses, including community gardens, and creation of new and positive amenities, such as the farmers’ market and the Old North Grocery Co-op, 2011 produced a bumper crop of recognition and awards for the neighborhood, including:
The St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects presented ONSLRG with its Civic Stewardship Award in February.
In March Missouri Preservation presented its annual McReynolds Award in recognition of the several years’ worth of work toward historic preservation in Old North through the Crown Square and North Market Apartments redevelopments.  Staff from ONSLRG and RHCDA and architect Rob Wagstaff were on hand to receive the awards and legislative proclamations from State Rep. Penny Hubbard and State Sen. Robin Wright Jones at the State Capitol in Jefferson City.
In November, the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association presented its annual J. Timothy Anderson Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation to the Crown Square redevelopment (as reported in our Nov. 27 blog post).  Kathy Sorkin of the project’s architecture firm, Rosemann & Associates, represented the development team in picking up the award at NHRA’s national conference in Boston.
And, we were able to finish off the year with the announcement of EPA’s National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in December, with ONSLRG and the City of St. Louis receiving the “Overall Excellence Award” for the comprehensive revitalization of Old North, as reported here on Dec. 1 and with a follow up post on Dec. 3.
As noted throughout the past three “Year in Review” posts, none of the revitalization, nor the awards and other recognitions, could have happened without the support and contribution of multiple partners, sponsors, contributors, friends, and community members.  We especially want to thank the many individuals, companies, and foundations who came forward to help during this very difficult budget year.  Due to several unplanned funding cuts (including, but not limited to, federal funding reductions in block grant support to the City’s Community Development Administration), ONSLRG had to make a number of mid-year budget adjustments and programming cutbacks.
In August we held a benefit gathering with live music contributed by Bill Ash of the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society, who recruited 3 of his former students (Ben Minden-Birkenmaier, Louis Makarewicz, & Lauren White) to perform with him as the Gateway Guitar Quartet for the event, while Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. donated a keg of beer.  Thank you Bill, Ben, Louis, Lauren, Urban Chestnut, and all of the individuals who attended, and all of those who responded to our appeals!
No listing of acknowledgments would be complete without noting how much ONSLRG owes to its dedicated Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and staff.  Many of you gave above and beyond the level of involvement your roles called for.  So, with this space we thank the following:
Board Members:
Constantino (Tino) Ochoa, Graham Lane, Grace Wachter, Kathryn Bentley, Gloria Bratkowski, John Burse, Amy Corey, David Eisenbraun, Tom Fletcher, Brian Krueger, Nico Leone, Sean Lowery, Kelli Owens, Kathleen Parvis, Ben Sever.
Advisory Board Members:
Ken Kranzberg, David Richardson, Pam Ross, Kathy Siddens, David Stiffler.
Staff at the Old North Grocery Co-op:
Sarah Kate Buckles, Ben Bowman, Melissa Breed, Joe Ploch.
Staff at the ONSLRG office:
Matt Fernandez, Jane Smith, Sean Thomas.
And for one last time in 2011, THANK YOU to all who have supported the many components of our comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy.  To help us continue that work throughout the coming year, please click HERE to make a secure, online tax-deductible contribution.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
1COMMENT
Friday, December 30, 2011

Part 3 of Highlights of Old North’s Event-Filled Year in 2011

On Wednesday and Thursday we reviewed Old North’s population gains, the new businesses that have set up shop in the heart of the community, and some of the events that took place in Old North this year.  (Click HERE to see Part 1 and HERE for Part 2) Now, we take a look back at even more events and high profile developments that took place in 2011…

VARIOUS EVENTS SPONSORED BY ONSLRG OR OTHERS AT ONSLRG’S GALLERY

The first ever Open/Closed conference in March held its opening and closing events with standing room only crowds at ONSLRG’s gallery in March, including a presentation by Juan William Chavez on bee colonies at the former Pruitt-Igoe site and a screening of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.

On September 29, the founding meeting of the Community Builders Network of Metropolitan St. Louis took place at ONSLRG’s gallery, with a convening of executive directors from community development corporations and key partners from throughout the St. Louis area.

The first-ever Old North Holiday Market took place on Dec. 17, thanks to great planning and coordination by our practicum student Molly Johnson.

ARTS EVENTS AND RELATED ACTIVITIES

Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates held their second annual exhibit at ONSLRG’s gallery from November 18 through December 11, this time featuring the work of two artists, including former Old North resident, Seitu James Smith (shown in the photo above).

Also for the second year in a row, Cinema St. Louis hosted several film screenings for students from schools in Old North (including Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School, shown above) as part of their St. Louis International Film Festival.

In February the St. Louis Rescue & Restore Coalition held their exhibit, “Freedom from, Freedom to” at the ONSLRG Gallery to raise awareness about human trafficking and the fact that slavery still exists in our world.

Starting with an opening reception on September 1, the ONSLRG Gallery hosted the ReBuild Foundation’s “(en)Visioning Hyde Park” exhibit of photographs taken by young participants in their summer photography program.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS THROUGHOUT OLD NORTH

Work finally got underway at the historic building at 1306 St. Louis Avenue, where a partnership between Ken Kranzberg and ONSLRG is rehabbing the long-abandoned building to accommodate Northside Workshop, a new community art center established by award-winning artist Juan William Chavez.  Watch for an opening in the spring of 2012.

Another art-themed public investment happened at the intersection of Warren and N. 14th Streets with the painting of a street mural by Lucas Rouggly and volunteers recruited through his Love the Lou organization.

Completion of Jackson Park Improvements & Ribbon-cutting Celebration… thanks especially to Miranda Gilstrap and Trailnet.

(Other green space work, including Wingmann Park improvements and 13th Street Community Garden work, will be in the next post.)

Habitat for Humanity continued their home-building in Old North with 12 homes under construction along N. 13th Street and along the 1200 and 1300 blocks of Clinton.

Due to time restrictions, that will have to do for today’s post.  But there still is much more to come.

And, as mentioned in the past two posts…THANK YOU to all who have supported the many components of our comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy.  To help us continue that work throughout the coming year, please click HERE to make a secure, online tax-deductible contribution.

We invite you to check back tomorrow for the final segment of the Old North Year in Review.

1COMMENT
Thursday, December 29, 2011

Highlights of 2011 in Old North - Part 2

We started reviewing the highlights of 2011in Old North with yesterday’s post with the spotlight on the neighborhood’s 28% population growth over the past decade.  (Click HERE to see Part 1of our Year in Review.)  Today, we take a look at some of the other developments that took place this year that have made Old North more sustainable and desirable with businesses and amenities within an easy walking distance for all neighborhood households, and easily accessible by bike or bus for those coming from outside the neighborhood.

The most notable development on this front has been the addition of several new businesses at the heart of Old North, including:

La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2815 N. 14th Street, owned and operated by the Holden Family, opened in the space formerly occupied by the Urban Studio Cafe.  Another highlight this year for this Old North gathering spot was the selection of Veronica Holden as “Best Barista in St. Louis” by Riverfront Times in their annual Best of St. Louis issue.

The Racq Salon & Spa at 2605 N. 14th Street, owned and operated by Racqueal Carter, opened over the summer.

Closet Repeats at 2603 N. 14th Street, owned and operated by Yvonne Reed, opened in August.

Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique at 2611 N. 14th Street, owned and operated by Maria Falconer, opened in October, and is the most recent retailer to set up shop at Crown Square.

Perpetua Iron LLC, co-owned by Old North resident, Janet Sanders, opened its workshop at 2802 Blair, bringing a combined 50 years of metalworking experience to the craft of designing and fabricating custom wrought iron railings, fences, gates, fireplace screens, and other items.  Since they’re only available by appointment, visit their website at http://perpetuairon.com/ to see their work or to contact them.

Those new businesses have received a lot of warm support from Old North residents but also benefited from a steady stream of visitors who came to the neighborhood for various events throughout the year, including:

Several organized bike rides and tours that started in or passed through Old North, thanks to our friends at Trailnet, Great Rivers Greenway, and Gateway Greening.

One of the City of St. Louis’s Open Streets Days took place in Old North on October 8, thanks to collaborative efforts between ONSLRG, the Mayor’s Office, the City’s Office of Special Events, and numerous other groups (and special thanks to ONSLRG’s practicum student Molly Johnson).

Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour on May 14, which also included a new component…

the Old North Home Grown Street Festival (which, unfortunately, had to have much of its activities move indoors due to the cool and rainy whether on the street), featuring a lot of locally-produced arts, crafts, music, and other goods, and the traditional free Crown Candy ice cream for visitors to the tour.  Thank you to all of the vendors, exhibitors, volunteers, tour site hosts and homeowners who opened up for the tour, Crown Candy, dozens of tour sponsors (especially lead sponsor PNC), and, especially the event’s planning committee led by Kathleen Parvis.

And, from June through October 15, the 2700 block of N. 14th Street was the setting for our fifth season of the North City Farmers’ Market, which happened every Saturday morning.   Thank you to the vendors, the dozens of volunteers who helped with setting up and taking down the tables and tents week after week, the Market team (Cassandra Howard, Veronica Holden, Ivy Tominack, and the rest of the ONSLRG staff), and our primary funder, the Missouri Foundation for Health.

And, as mentioned yesterday, THANK YOU to all who have supported this ambitious agenda.  And, if you feel compelled to help us continue that work throughout the coming year, please click HERE to make a secure, online tax-deductible contribution.

2011 included so much more than all of this, so tune in tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 30) for Part 3 of the year that was in Old North.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays from Old North…& Part 1 of an Award-Winning Year in Review

As we wish you all a belated Merry Christmas and best wishes for the holiday season, this is also a good time to thank all of our friends, partners, and supporters who helped make possible another full year of events, awards, and new business openings in Old North.

Among the top stories of 2011, perhaps the biggest was the news that…

OLD NORTH’S POPULATION GREW BY 28% OVER THE PAST DECADE

The Census Bureau released figures showing that Old North had reversed at least a half century-trend of population losses and actually grew by 28% between 2000 and 2010.  We start off with that bit of news because no matter how impressive anything else might be, Old North wouldn’t be a viable or sustainable community without people wanting to live there.

This achievement was made possible due to the efforts of many people and organizations over many years.  Part of the credit no doubt goes to the good folks at the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance (RHCDA) who agreed to partner with ONSLRG in producing housing units in parts of the neighborhood where no one was living in 2000.  It would seem to be obvious that a change from 0 residents at a particular parcel of land to ANY residents at all would result in a population gain, especially when multiplied numerous times throughout the neighborhood.  However, at least one published report about the neighborhood’s growth generated a few of skeptical comments from readers who clearly have not been in the neighborhood at all or at least in a long while.

While there’s no need to respond to every skeptic out there, it’s occasionally encouraging for us and our supporters to demonstrate what the changes have looked like in Old North.  And since a lot of our more recent photographic evidence has focused on vacant buildings transformed into nicely rehabbed homes, the following shots show new houses that have sprung up on formerly empty lots.

Other than the bragging rights that come along with positive Census numbers, more people also means more people power for community building.  We’re not just improving the streetscape of the neighborhood, we’re infusing the community with more social capital.  And for that, part of the credit goes to the long-term residents who have created a welcoming atmosphere that attracts others from outside the community, including many who could choose almost anywhere in the region.  So, part of the credit also goes to the people who have made that choice to move into a community that is still a work in progress and have quickly joined the efforts to make the community a better place.

This has been good news for Old North, but also good news for the City of St. Louis as a whole because some of these people have moved into Old North from outside the city limits - or even from outside the St. Louis Metro area.  People such as:

Nevels & Eulonda Nevels and their daughters, who moved into Old North from Richmond Heights.  The Nevels family contributed not only to the quality of life in Old North but also to the whole city through Eulonda’s job with the YWCA and Nevels’ teaching job at St. Louis Public Schools, which selected him as their “Teacher of the Year” for 2011.  (Watch for a future blog post about that later.)

Chicago native Tino Ochoa & his wife, Zoila Rendon.  Tino has taken on many volunteer responsibilities over the past 8 years or so in Old North, and because of his commitment and passion, he was recruited to serve as chair of ONSLRG’s social outreach committee, then to serve as a member of the executive committee, and most recently as ONSLRG’s Board President, while juggling law school, and now, his more than full-time job with law firm of Bryan Cave.  Meanwhile, when not supervising social work practicum students working for ONSLRG, Zoila has put her MSW to work at other non-profits, most recently assisting BJC Hospital.

Graham & Viveca Lane, who moved to Old North from Kansas - and quickly shared their discovery with a national audience through an article published in Money Magazine in January of 2008.  While Viveca has been answering the call of duty in the airs over foreign lands (including Libya), Graham has contributed countless hours of service to the community through neighborhood clean-ups, building-board-ups, various construction chores at the Old North Grocery Co-op, and as a board member - and now Board Vice President - with ONSLRG.

Ben & Heidi Sever, who moved into Old North from Webster Groves.  As an attorney and jewelry-maker, Ben and Heidi could have taken their talents just about anywhere, but they chose to move into Old North so that they could bring life and charm back to a crumbling, city-owned empty shell of a building on N. 19th Street, and chronicle the thrills and challenges along the way through a cool blog with a name that reflected the condition of the building at the time they took it on:  www.3walls.net.  While Heidi brought a new jewelry-making business to the city, Ben has contributed much of his time to various neighborhood initiatives, and as chair of ONSLRG’s Real Estate Committee, has overseen (with Graham Lane) improvement efforts that require healthy doses of muscle and sweat (and thus, this band of volunteers has earned the name, The Macho Action Group).

Old North’s new residents have arrived from different directions and taken different paths that led to their new homes on the north side of the city, but the common denominators for many have been a desire to live in a community that is in the midst of a revitalization — and a desire to get involved with that process.  That doesn’t happen by chance.  Attracting people with talent and a sense of responsibility takes a lot of time and effort.  Marketing the community, providing assistance to current and prospective residents, and facilitating opportunities to get involved are just a few pieces of what Old North St. Louis Restoration Group does in pursuing a mission to “revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.”  ONSLRG wouldn’t be able to do that work without consistent financial support over many years, including from the City’s Community Development Administration, and more individual, corporate, and foundation contributors than can be named in this space.  THANK YOU to all who have supported this ambitious agenda.  And, if you feel compelled to help us continue that work throughout the coming year, please click HERE to make a secure, online tax-deductible contribution.

Check back tomorrow for more of our list of highlights from 2011.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, December 17, 2011

Join Us NOW at Old North Holiday Market (11-5 TODAY)

The first ever Old North Holiday Market is now open for business (and will continue until 5 p.m.)!

Participating vendors include…

Local author Amanda Doyle, with copies of her new book, “Finally! A Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood,” - and she’s ready to autograph one just for you and everyone on your gift list.

Jewels with Heart

Tiny Montgomery “jewelry, purses, handbags, accessories, geegaws and doodads”

Fable & Lore Necklaces + Sundries

Mound City Soap Company

Heidi Sever Handmade Jewelry

Sun Ministries

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group

Parsimonia

La Mancha Coffeehouse

Work/Play Print Shoppe + Brand

and ReBuild Foundation, with copies of the book produced through the Urban Expressions project

…and much, much more.

Oh, and Santa’s here, too, until noon.

Come on by Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, 2700 N. 14th Street, just a block south of Crown Candy Kitchen.  And don’t forget to stop in and shop at the other stores and businesses at Crown Square.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, December 11, 2011

Old North Holiday Market, Sat., Dec. 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. [Updated]

Enjoy shopping for the holidays at the first ever Old North Holiday Market, this coming Saturday, December 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.

Participating vendors include:

  • Heidi Sever (with her handcrafted jewelry)
  • Cristin Rae
  • Cat Pic/Tiny Montgomery
  • Parsimonia (Beth Styles)
  • Kevin McCoy-Work/Play
  • Jewelry with a Heart/Rachna Goel
  • Sun Ministries
  • Yeyo Arts
  • Gloria Bratkowski
  • Dayna Kriz and Kids (from the ReBuild Foundation)
  • Mound City Soap/ Carolyn Brogdon
  • Fable and Lore/Chelsie Hellige

…and Amanda Doyle will be on hand to sell (and autograph!) copies of her new book, “Finally! A Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood.”

We’ve just confirmed that Santa Claus will make an appearance and will greet visitors of all ages from 11 a.m. until noon. Bring your camera and get a photo of the kids with Santa.

While you’re in the neighborhood, this will also be a convenient opportunity to take advantage of other holiday shopping opportunities up and down N. 14th Street, and around the corner at N. 13th Street and St. Louis Avenue.  As reported in earlier posts, you can find a great array of gift options at Closet Repeats (2603 N. 14th), the Racq Salon & Spa (2605 N. 14th), Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique (2611 N. 14th), ONSLRG merchandise, such as t-shirts and mugs (2700 N. 14th Street), Poor Souls Society Art Gallery (2701 N. 14th), Therapy Boutique (2717 N. 14th), Crown Candy Kitchen (1401 St. Louis Avenue), La Mancha Coffeehouse (2815 N. 14th), and Old North Grocery Co-op (2718 N. 13th Street, at St. Louis Ave.).

For more information, visit the Old North Holiday Market Facebook event page, (and be sure to select the “Going” option at the upper right side of the page so that all of your friends will be inspired to join you!) and keep up with all of the latest news on Twitter: @HolidaysinONSL.

1COMMENT
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Smart Growth Award Attracts Media Spotlight & Other Positive Buzz for Old North

Since the announcement on Thursday that the revitalization of Old North had won this year’s Overall Excellence in Smart Growth Achievement from EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities, a number of news outlets and various websites and blogs have covered the story.

To see the video about Old North that was prepared for the award ceremony, click HERE.  In addition to Sean Thomas of ONSLRG, the video features comments from Archie Cole, owner of Head Hunters Barber & Beauty Salon; Veronica Holden, neighborhood resident and owner of La Mancha Coffeehouse; Graham Lane, neighborhood resident; and Maria Falconer, owner of Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique.

Local radio stations St. Louis Public Radio and KMOX, aired stories about the award, and a couple of Post-Dispatch columnists (Deb Peterson and Tim Bryant) reported about it on their blogs (although the Post didn’t cover it in their print edition), as did the St. Louis American (which highlighted a congratulatory message from Congressman Lacy Clay).  Meanwhile, the St. Louis Beacon will include the news about the award in a more comprehensive article on the neighborhood, coming soon.

As visitors to ONSLRG’s Facebook page know, the most upbeat statement about Old North getting the Smart Growth Award, however, came from a source well outside the St. Louis area.  Kaid Benfield is one of the nation’s leading advocates for smart growth and someone whose job is to think about these issues related to sustainable development.  As director of the Sustainable Development & Smart Growth Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., Kaid reports on policies, programs, and developments across the country, as well as in other parts of the world.  After attending the awards ceremony in Washington on Thursday, Kaid wrote an article on “The Best Smart Growth Projects in America,” and referred to Old North as “one of the country’s very best revitalizing neighborhoods.”

The article by Kaid Behfield featured a photo of ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and former 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin at the 2010 Old North House Tour.

The article by Kaid Behfield featured a photo of ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and former 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin at the 2010 Old North House Tour.

Noting that his enthusiasm has grown since first learning about Old North a few years ago (from former ONSLRG board president John Burse), Kaid added the following assessment:

“Although Old North was all-too-recently considered by many to be a place to avoid, there is nowhere in the region that this writer would now rather be.”

and…

“We are lucky to have other great revitalization stories in America, but I don’t know a better one.”

For the full story, click HERE.

Thanks again to all who made this award possible, including a long list of outside partners and supporters, the board and staff of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, and most of all, the determined, resilient, and generous residents of Old North who have contributed their time, energy, ideas, and passion over many years.

The Smart Growth Achievement Award recognizes the accomplishments to date and the process that got us here, but by no means does it mean that the job is done.  If you’d like to help us continue the revitalization of Old North, click HERE to make a tax-deductible contribution or click HERE to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

1COMMENT
Thursday, December 1, 2011

Old North St. Louis Selected for National Award for Excellence in Smart Growth Achievement

This morning in Washington, D.C., the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities announced that the revitalization of Old North St. Louis is the winner of the 2011 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.  The National Award for Smart Growth Achievement recognizes communities that have successfully used the principles of smart growth to preserve and enhance their quality of life while helping to protect public health and the environment.  Of the five projects or communities selected for awards this year, Old North was recognized with the Award for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth.  St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Old North St. Louis Restoration Group executive director Sean Thomas were on-hand to receive the award from John Frece, Director of EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

The Award for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth is the highest award under this program and “recognizes an outstanding comprehensive approach to growth, including built projects, supportive plans and policies, and effective community participation,” according to the selection committee.  The committee further notes that “This award is for the best overall approach to implementing smart growth on a variety of fronts—not just for a single plan or project, but at the neighborhood, corridor, city, county, or regional level.”  Last year’s Overall Excellence award recognized collaborative efforts among New York City’s Departments of Transportation, Health, Design & Construction, and Planning toward improving that city’s livability.

Among the factors that contributed to Old North’s selection was the neighborhood’s 28% population increase over the past decade.  A winning project not only shows that a comprehensive approach is in place, but that it has significant impacts.  Because the overall achievement award is not for one specific project but for the collaborative and strategic efforts over several years, credit for this achievement goes out to a wide range of groups and individuals who worked together on multiple projects.  On behalf of the Board and staff of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, we especially thank the residents of Old North who, over many years, have scraped together limited resources and put in countless hours of service to the community.

Specific initiatives that have contributed to the neighborhood-wide revitalization include the $35 million, 27-building Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mal, and with it, 80 new households in an area that had largely abandoned and a growing number of new locally-owned businesses; the new homes at North Market Place and the historically-rehabbed North Market Apartments, which salvaged 9 previously crumbling, abandoned buildings; the cultivation and maintenance of community gardens throughout the neighborhood; the North City Farmers’ Market; and last year’s opening of the community-owned Old North Grocery Co-op.

Partners who have worked with ONSLRG to help make these great things happen include multiple agencies of City of St. Louis (such as the Community Development Administration, St. Louis Development Corporation, Land Reutilization Authority, Planning & Urban Design Agency, Cultural Resources Office), Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance, University of Missouri-St. Louis and MU-Extension; Missouri Foundation for Health, Ken & Nancy Kranzberg, Gateway Greening, Operation Brightside… and so many more than can be listed here.

Although this award recognizes past achievements, the real benefit is that it will help shed more light on an area that has even greater potential for more growth.  In fact, the work to continue the revitalization is already in progress.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Links for Purchasing from Old North Businesses & Organizations

If you’re making your post-Thanksgiving purchases online on this “Cyber Monday,” then please consider the following options:

(1) Show your pride and support for Old North St. Louis with a mug, t-shirt, window cling, sticker or other merchandise from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  Click HERE to purchase any of these items.  You can also use this link to make a tax-deductible contribution to ONSLRG as a gift in honor of a friend or relative.

(2) Old North Grocery Co-op… You can purchase a gift membership by clicking HERE.

(3) Crown Candy Kitchen… Click HERE to purchase candy for shipping almost anywhere.

(4) Therapy Boutique… click HERE for dresses, jewelry, and other fashionable items from the first of Crown Square’s new retail establishments.

(5) Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique - via Rambles.com… click HERE for “fun, funky, and functional” one-of-a-kind gifts from Crown Square’s newest retailer.

(6) La Mancha Coffeehouse… although it doesn’t look like they have an online ordering option right now, you can send an email to inquire about ordering baked goods as a special treat for those on your gift-getting list or for catering your holiday event.  Click HERE for their website.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crown Square Wins Another National Award

On November 15, the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association announced that Old North’s Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Mall was among the winners of their annual J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation.   At the awards ceremony in Boston, NHRA presented the award for “Best Historic Rehabilitation Utilizing New Markets Tax Credits” to Crown Square.

According to NHRA’s website, the J. Timothy Anderson Awards “honor outstanding rehabilitation and preservation projects based on several criteria, including overall design and quality, interpretation and respect of historic elements, and market success.”   The $35 million Crown Square development was made possible with New Markets Tax Credits, which were used as part of the complex array of financing for the portion of the project that included commercial spaces and the market rate apartments along the 2600 and 2700 blocks of N. 14th Street.

Crown Square was developed by a partnership of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance, with E. M. Harris Construction Co. as the general contractor and Rosemann & Associates as the project architect.

For information about the award-winning residential spaces, contact the Kohner Properties management office for Crown Square at 314-588-7267 (or send an email to crownsquare@kohner.com).  For leasing information about the commercial spaces, contact Susan Sauer of Duffe-Nuernberger Realty at 314-571-7654 (or send an email to ssauer@ndconsulting.com).

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shop for the Holidays in Old North

With the traditional start of the holiday shopping season almost upon us, we offer the following suggestions for finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list while supporting community-based development at the same time.  As an added bonus, you won’t have to rush away from your turkey dinner or get up at midnight to take advantage of these great deals - the shops of Crown Square and Old North aren’t going for any of that door-busting, middle-of-the- night or crack of dawn gimmickry.  In fact, shopping in Old North promises to be much more relaxing, enjoyable, and friendly compared to the chaos and hype of the malls and big box retailers.

Therapy Boutique, 2717 N. 14th Street.

Therapy is offering a special deal on Friday:  25% off on shoes and apparel.  The store will be open 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique, 2611 N. 14th Street.

Rambles will have special hours on Friday:  10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Closet Repeats,  2603 N. 14th Street.

Regular hours at Closet Repeats are Wednesday - Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Old North Grocery Co-op, 2718 N. 13th Street (one block east of Crown Square)

James Anderson stopped by the store earlier today to pick up his fresh and local turkey.

James Anderson stopped by the store earlier today to pick up his fresh and local turkey.

Here's an idea for a unique gift - consider purchasing an Old North Grocery Co-op tote bag and fill it with a variety of non-perishable, local goods sold at the store. Or you can use the tote bag as an Old North Sampler bag with an assortment of items from the co-op and other Old North shops.

Here's an idea for a unique gift - purchase an Old North Grocery Co-op tote bag and fill it with non-perishable goods from the store or create your own Old North sampler gift bag with an assortment of items from the co-op and other Old North shops.

La Mancha Coffeehouse, 2815 N. 14th Street:

Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or just a cup of coffee or a smoothie, and while you’re at it, you can purchase some locally produced artwork, from tie-dye prints to t-shirts, and coming soon: woolen items produced by Andrea Berry.

Old North Merchandise from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, online at ONSL.org or at 2700 N. 14th Street (although the office will be closed on Friday, Nov. 25).

The above items and much more can be purchased at the ONSLRG office or online by clicking HERE.

Original artwork by Seitu James Smith or Carlos Barberena, currently on exhibit at the Old North Gallery adjacent to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office, 2700 N. 14th Street.

The “Nosotros, Los Otros / We, the Others” exhibit is sponsored by Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates with support from the Missouri Arts Council.  The exhibit is open during ONSLRG’s regular business hours (Mon.-Fri., 9-5) and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, except Thanksgiving weekend.

Crown Candy Kitchen, 1401 St. Louis Avenue.

Customers already lined up and out the door for Crown Candy's holiday chocolates and other treats

At lunch time today, customers were already lined up and out the door for Crown Candy's holiday chocolates and other treats.

What more do we need to say?  Crown Candy offers candy, t-shirts, mugs, and gift certificates for meals.

Poor Souls Society Art Gallery, 2701 N. 14th Street.

Poor Souls Society Art Gallery hosts a number of activities but also includes a number of items for sale, including original art.

Old North St. Louis Holiday Market - Saturday, December 17, 11a.m.-5 p.m. at Old North Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.

Watch for more details coming soon about this great, new Old North holiday tradition in the making.  In addition to several vendors selling great hand-made gifts (from soaps to knitted items and fresh, baked goods), the Old North Holiday Market will feature Amanda Doyle, who will be on hand to sell and sign copies of her new book, “Finally, a Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans.”  Click HERE to see our previous post about this book.

And, if you’re feeling especially generous, how about taking advantage of a great deal on some properties in Old North?

We’ve got some great fixer-uppers for the rehabbers in your life, or some nice move-in ready houses for your friends who live outside the city but would love to have a home closer to all of the great attractions and amenities our city offers, including world-class restaurants, shops, museums, professional sporting venues, and so much more. Click HERE to see our recent post about homebuying and rehabbing opportunities in Old North.

Happy Thanksgiving - and have a great holiday season!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, November 18, 2011

Virtual Old North St. Louis

For the past year or so ONSLRG has been working with University of Missouri St. Louis staff to create a virtual version of Old North St. Louis utilizing the Virtual City Program. The result is a model of what the built environment of Old North St. Louis may have looked like throughout time.

To use Virtual City, you will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer. Currently, only Crown Square and the 2700 Block of N 13th St. has been created. More of the neighborhood will be added over time, and the existing modeling will be refined.

The current model of the neighborhood can be found here. When you open the file, give it some time to load for best results. Click on the files in temporary places to load buildings. There is a time-line in the upper left corner that moves through time, and you will see buildings appear and disappear. Most of the structures at this point are modeled to show mass, scale, and siting. Generic building fronts from the neighborhood are pasted onto the structure. Over time this will be refined to show more detail. For more information about a building, you can click on the little dog in front of each building with more details.

While it is fun to see what once was built in Old North, it is also good to look toward the future. Since the time line extends nearly two decades into the future, we thought it would be a good idea to utilize Virtual City to develop some future development ideas. For now, we have developed three alternatives for future development for a plot of land that ONSLRG owns at the Northwest corner of Montgomery and 13th St. By no means are we committed to any one design, this exercise is meant to create discussion and ideas for a possible future project that at this point has no funding for any alternative. We would like to ask for constructive feedback on these potential ideas. What do you like about the current designs?  What would you like to see designed differently?  And let us know why you are making the suggestions you are offering.  Feel free to post your comments here by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the top left side of this post.  You can also send any constructive feedback that you may have to Matt Fernandez, our Community Development Specialist, at Matt (at) onsl.org.  To see each alternative, click the link below each preview image displayed below.  You may also come by the ONSLRG office anytime and we will show you the Virtual City on one of our computers.

Contemporary loft development.

Contemporary loft development.

Click the following link to view the Contemporary loft development alternative on the Virtual City program.

Mixed-use development with traditional design.

Mixed-use development with traditional design.

Click the following link to view the Traditional design alternative.

Green homes development.

Green homes development.

Click the following link to view the Green homes alternative.

Stay tuned as this program gets filled with more images and as we flesh out the instructions for access and use.  In the meantime, enjoy the stroll down some of the streets of Old North as they may have looked at various stages in history.

Images currently loaded onto a view of Montgomery Street looking east from N. 14th Street in 1955.

Images currently loaded onto a view of Montgomery Street looking east from N. 14th Street in 1955.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homebuying & Rehab Opportunities in Old North

With interest rates at historic lows and home prices more affordable than in almost any other time in the past few decades, now is a great time to buy a house - and Old North St. Louis has a few that can accommodate a variety of interests and needs.  According to a number of sources (including this report on CBS News’ MoneyWatch, this article in the Wall Street Journal, and a report on CNN/Money that listed St. Louis in the Top 10 Cities for Homebuyers), low interest rates and lower home prices have made mortgage payments more affordable than renting in many places.

If you’re in the market for a new house with architectural features that reflect the historic character of Old North - and within easy walking distance of the neighborhood grocery co-op, a landmark restaurant/candy store/ ice cream parlor, a one-of-a-kind coffee shop, and several new retail establishments at Crown Square, then the home at 1319 North Market is worth checking out.  And, the home is now listed at only $125,000.  For details on all this house offers, click HERE for a downloadable flyer.  Or to visit the webpage for the house created by Dawn Griffin of Circa Properties, click HERE .

If you’re looking for an old, historic tax credit eligible shell that could be rehabbed to suit your creative desires, ONSLRG also has several historic properties that the organization purchased from the City’s Land Reutilization Authority and stabilized for future redevelopment.  Click HERE for a downloadable listing of these properties with recent pictures of current conditions and images of what these cool, old buildings could look like after rehab.  (These images and the marketing materials were produced by two of our summer interns, Annie White and Angela Kress, students at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts).

If you’re looking for a historic home that’s already in move-in condition, there are a few of those around the neighborhood, as well, and you can find locations, list prices, realtor contact numbers, and other details by clicking HERE for the November edition of the Available Properties list.  ONSLRG’s Community Development Specialist, Matt Fernandez, regularly updates our Available Properties Listing, which can be downloaded from the Real Estate pages of our website or picked up at the ONSLRG office.

Call Matt at 314-241-5031, ext. 101, or send him an email (matt AT onsl.org) to find out how to make an offer on any of the properties owned by ONSLRG, to get more information about the home-buying process in Old North, or to learn more about any of the properties on the list.

2COMMENTS
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Street Mural Graces Intersection of N. 14th & Warren

Under the leadership of Lucas Rouggly, staff from LOVEtheLOU organized the painting of a street mural at the intersection of N. 14th Street and Warren Street this past weekend. The costs related to the project were covered by Pursuit Communities.  The colorful image of a fleur-de-lis fills the intersection just south of the recently redeveloped buildings at Crown Square.

The wording around the edges, written by Lucas Rouggly, reads:  ”My city is a Mother and I am her child.  Her greatness is not found in the size of her monument but in the lives she harbors underneath.  Her children are like a colorful mural, and they define her.  When they come together, she is pleased.  I love my Mother and I will look after her.”

Design credits go to artists Dexter Silvers and Elysia King.

This intersection mural is the first of seven that the group has planned, leading from Old North to the loft district downtown.  Come on by to take a look!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, October 28, 2011

Comeback Cards and Old North Have a Lot in Common

Wow!  Unbelievable!

Those one word exclamations have been flying all over the blogosphere, facebook postings, tweets, and even on the pages of good, old-fashioned print publications. Yes, that represents a good summary of the Cardinals phenomenal resilience and determination to avoid elimination in the roller coaster ride of Game 6 – and throughout the latter part of the 2011 season and each round of the playoffs.  But those words also have been used recently to describe the incredible, skeptic-defying rebirth of Old North St. Louis, or as some have called it, “the little neighborhood that could.”

As dramatic and thrilling as Game 6 was, there still is some work to be done.  The Cardinals fought against setbacks and long odds to turn things around, but the World Championship trophy has yet to be won.  And Old North isn’t quite there yet, either.  Many outsiders doubted that Old North’s transformation was possible - and many others counted the neighborhood out long ago.  But over the past few years, we’ve turned a lot of skeptics into believers.  Whether it’s the stabilization and preservation of the severely damaged Mullanphy Emigrant Home building; the phenomenal redevelopment of historic buildings that had been crumbling into the street along Monroe, North Market, Hebert, Blair, or N. 14th Street; the establishment of a community-owned grocery store; or the extraordinary 28% increase in population over the past decade, the evidence is there to demonstrate Old North’s capacity to overcome long odds and achieve results that previously had been deemed absurd or impossible.

Despite the great progress achieved in recent years, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group still has a lot of challenges to tackle.  In fact, because the bar of what is possible has been raised, we’re busier than ever with a range of initiatives focused on revitalizing Old North, from operating the Old North Grocery Co-op to assisting others in finding apartments to live in, properties to rehab, or homes to purchase in Old North.

Ironically, just as we have more and more evidence of the amazing returns on previous investments, the funding to carry out this work has been getting harder to secure.  Due to economic hardships among some of our regular funders (including both individual and corporate contributors), reductions in funding from some previously committed sources (such as a 14.5% cut in our grant from the Community Development Administration as a result of federal block grant cuts), and the lag time between approval of some grants and delivery of funds (including a $25,000 grant which has been approved but won’t arrive until December at the earliest), ONSLRG’s operating funds are incredibly tight at the moment.

As the Cardinals have demonstrated, success requires team effort - and sometimes it means getting help from unlikely sources.  If you’d like to help Old North St. Louis Restoration Group continue Old North’s dramatic comeback story, we have a few ways for you to pitch in:

1) Make a tax-deductible contribution to ONSLRG right now by clicking HERE.

2) Refer us to any contacts you might have with any corporate charitable funds or foundations with an interest in community development, historic preservation, healthy food access, community gardens, social outreach, and almost anything else related to neighborhood sustainability.

3) Spread the word about Old North’s revitalization to people who haven’t heard about it yet, by sending a link to this blog, our ONSL.org website, ONSLRG’s facebook page, our Twitter account - or by bringing them into Old North for lunch at one of our fine eating establishments or to shop at the Old North Grocery Co-op, or to purchase something at one of Crown Square’s retailers, such as Therapy Boutique, Closet Repeats, or Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique.

4) Volunteer to assist with our fundraising committee or to help plan a future fundraising event.

or…

5 Fill in the blank with your own ideas _____________________________.

For more information about any of the above options, feel free to give us a call at 314-241-5031 or send a message to info@onsl.org.

In the meantime, on behalf of St. Louis City’s comeback neighborhood, we tip our caps to baseball’s comeback team of the year.  GO CARDS!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Praise for Old North, Crown Candy, Crown Square, & Old North Grocery Co-op on St. Louis on the Air

Thursday’s episode of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” featured an interview with Amanda Doyle, author of “Finally, a Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans.”  While you’ll have to read the book to see what it says about Old North (click HERE for a list of places where the book can be purchased), Amdanda’s comments on the air provide a few clues that the book will serve up generous praise for the neighborhood.

You can hear the whole interview by clicking HERE to be taken to the St. Louis Public Radio archive page for the broadcast.

Almost 13 minutes into the program, a caller mentions Crown Candy Kitchen (which also is included among the landmarks on the cover of the book).  Amanda responds to that comment with her agreement that Crown Candy is not just a great restaurant but is an institution in St. Louis. Later Don Marsh, the host of the program, adds his observations about how often dignitaries and celebrities can be found eating at or waiting in line at Crown.  But that’s not all.  Amanda goes on to point out that Crown Candy “is not all that’s going on in Old North now… There’s an entire development around it called Crown Square… There’s a lot happening in Old North St. Louis, and it’s spreading out in the surrounding neighborhoods… That is entirely worth a half-day visit, as well.”

Just past 19 minutes or so into the program, you’ll hear even more positive remarks about Old North from a caller who mentions that the Old North Grocery Co-op is a great place for local and farm-fresh foods, especially during the winter months when most of the farmers’ markets are closed down for the season.  Amanda concurs once again with her observation that the co-op is “a real amenity for the neighborhood… The store there is beautiful.”

The comments about Old North Grocery Co-op came just as Rusty Lee was delivering a fresh batch of pumpkins to the store, along with an assortment of other vegetables straight from his farm in Truxton, MO.

Hurry on over to the Old North Grocery Co-op to get your pumpkins while they're still in stock.  These may be the last of the season -- and just in time for Halloween.

Hurry on over to the Old North Grocery Co-op to get your pumpkins while they're still in stock. This may be the last delivery of the season -- and just in time for Halloween.

Stay tuned for a future post here with more thorough review of the book and details about an upcoming “meet the author” event and book-signing with Amanda Doyle in Old North.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique Set to Open Saturday, Oct. 22

Shopping in Old North is about to get even better this Saturday with the opening of Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique, the latest new business at Crown Square.

The store at 2611 N. 14th Street will open for business at 10 a.m.  Come on out to show your support for Maria and thank her for bringing another shopping option to Old North.  In the meantime, check out Maria’s online site at www.Rambles.com for more information about the fun, funky, and functional items available from Rambles.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Cool Scenes from Open Streets in Old North

Yesterday’s post had a few photos of the fun on the streets of Old North while the City’s Open Streets day and North City Farmers’ Market were still in progress.  Now, we can share more of the cool scenes from throughout the day.

Much of the work on the neighborhood end was done by Molly Johnson, a practicum student from St. Louis University who’s working with ONSLRG this semester.  Thanks Molly! And thanks also go out to Patrick Brown from the Mayor’s office and Ann Chance, Special Events Coordinator for the City of St. Louis, and all of the people they pulled together for the planning committee.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, October 8, 2011

Phenomenally Cool & Fun Day at Old North Open Streets

Words can’t describe the amount of energy and excitement along N. 14th Street right now, so the following pictures of Open Streets in Old North will have to do…

The fun continues until 1 p.m., so come on down now!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, October 7, 2011

Join us Saturday for Open Streets in Old North

Our previous post provided some basic information about Open Streets in Old North, scheduled for tomorrow (Sat., Oct. 8) from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Now, we’re happy to share some sneak preview images and more details about the activities that will be happening up and down N. 14th Street.

In addition to the second-to-last North City Farmers’ Market day of the season, featuring a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (including okra, collards, herbs, squash, lettuce, and corn), visitors will enjoy…

- live music provided by Bill Forness & the Tennessee Two

- an appearance by the ever-popular Bubble Bus, courtesy of Tekno Bubbles

Check out TeknoBubbles.com for more images of the "totally awesome and amazingly cool" Bubble Bus

Check out TeknoBubbles.com for more images of the "totally awesome and amazingly cool" Bubble Bus

- bike alley, including bike tune-ups/repairs and helmet fittings and giveaways, along with the smoothie-producing bike-blender, courtesy of Trailnet

- basketball in the street, with free-throw contests and 3-on-3, 2-on-2, or maybe even 1-on-1 pick-up games…

- yoga and other physical fitness-oriented activities, such as a soccer activity area and obstacle course (thanks to the YMCA of Greater St. Louis) along with another activity area hosted by Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (with soccer balls and equipment that ONSLRG is borrowing from America Scores), in addition to some other equipment ONSLRG has purchased through a mini-grant from Washington University)…

- Tai chi demonstrations by the St. Louis Taoist Association…

Photo courtesy of Bob Crowe of St. Louis Daily Photo Blog (http://saintlouismodailyphoto.blogspot.com/).

Photo courtesy of Bob Crowe of St. Louis Daily Photo Blog (http://saintlouismodailyphoto.blogspot.com/).

- “(en)Visioning Hyde Park” exhibit at the Old North Gallery (made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council), featuring photography by young students who worked with ReBuild Foundation this past summer…

- Frisbee activities and good, old-fashioned 4-square games (thanks to playground balls on loan from Confluence Academy’s school in Old North) in the street in front of La Mancha Coffeehouse, where you can find Veronica Holden, “best barrista in St. Louis” (as designated by the most recent Best of St. Louis issue of Riverfront Times) …

…a bounce house of some sort

- and, a chance to take in the sights of award-winning, historically-rehabbed and architecturally-significant buildings at Crown Square while shopping at some of the neighborhood’s cool, new retail establishments, such as Therapy Boutique, Closet Repeats, the Racq Salon & Spa, along with a sneak preview of the coming soon Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique, and other establishments, such as Head Hunters Barber Shop, Poor Souls Society Art Gallery, and Crown Candy Kitchen.

… and much, much more!

For more information - and to register your plans to ATTEND - visit the facebook page for Open Streets in Old North by clicking HERE.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, October 3, 2011

Open Streets Day Returns to Old North Sat., Oct. 8

Cyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, parents with strollers, individuals in wheelchairs, pedestrians, and all sorts of others will converge on N. 14th Street in the heart of Old North this coming Saturday (Oct. 8) for the first of two Open Streets Days in the City of St. Louis.

Please plan to join us for this family-friendly, community-enriching event — and help us spread the word to all others who might want to join in on the fun.  For more information or to make your plans to attend known, visit the facebook page for the event in Old North.  If you’d like to help with any of the activities planned for the “activity hub” along the 2600-2800 blocks of N. 14th, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 and ask for Molly.

2COMMENTS
Friday, September 30, 2011

Veronica Holden of La Mancha Coffeehouse Named Best Barista in St. Louis

For the second time this week, Veronica Holden is receiving recognition for her work here in Old North St. Louis.  This past Saturday Veronica received an EarthDance Mission Award along with Old North Grocery Co-op’s Sarah Kate Buckles for their collaborative efforts at the 13th Street Community Garden and the grocery co-op.  Now, Veronica is in the spotlight once again, this time as the owner / barista in chief at Old North’s favorite coffee shop, La Mancha Coffeehouse.   The annual Riverfront Times “Best of St. Louis” issue has hit the streets, and Veronica has made the list as the Best Barista.  Click HERE for the online version of the article.

Veronica Holden enjoying another day behind the counter at La Mancha Coffeehouse.

Veronica Holden enjoying another day behind the counter at La Mancha Coffeehouse.

Head on over to La Mancha Coffeehouse to congratulate Veronica and show your support by buying a coffee, muffin, panini or a smoothie.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Old North’s Sarah Kate Buckles & Veronica Holden to Receive EarthDance Mission Awards

At a ceremony and celebration tonight, Sarah Kate Buckles, manager of the Old North Grocery Co-op, and Veronica Holden, 13th Street Garden Coordinator, will receive an EarthDance Mission Award.  You can join in the celebration and show your support for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s comprehensive healthy food access initiatives.  The event is scheduled for this evening (Saturday, September 24th), 7 p.m.-11 p.m. at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room.

Sarah Kate with customers in the Old North Grocery Co-op

Sarah Kate with customers in the Old North Grocery Co-op

Veronica at the North City Farmers' Market

Veronica at the North City Farmers Market

The EarthDance Mission Awards, inaugurated in 2008, honor ordinary Saint Louisans who embody the EarthDance mission: to grow and inspire local FARMS—Food, Art, Relationships, and Music, Sustainably!   Each year EarthDance recognizes a local farmer, artist, community activist and a musician, each of whom make our region socially dynamic, healthier, and more inspiring, in an eco-conscious manner.

The Mission Awards Ceremony is open to the public, and will feature tributes to each of the award winners, live musical performances from The Lulus of The Folk School of Saint Louis,  and The Phat NoiZ Blues Band, and dancing.

The 2011 EarthDance Mission Award winners were selected by a panel of judges consisting of: Kelly Childs of Slow Food STL; Jean Ponzi of The EarthWays Center; Roseann Weiss of RAC; and Lew Prince, founder of Vintage Vinyl Records.

Sarah Kate and Veronica were selected to receive the award in the “Community Activists” category.  The announcement from EarthDance explains:

The 2011 EarthDance Mission Award for Community Activism will be shared by Veronica Holden and Sarah Kate Buckles, partners in an effort to increase access to fresh food in Saint Louis’ Old North neighborhood. Buckles is the manager of the Old North Grocery Co-op, and Holden coordinates the adjoining 13th Street Community Garden. The garden’s ultra-local produce is sold affordably at the Grocery Co-op as well as the North City Farmers Market.  Most of the grocery’s waste products are recycled into mulch and fertilizer for the garden.  Holden and Buckles credit the Old North community for supporting both projects a great deal, and they are pleased that the EarthDance Mission Award will bring attention to the achievements of this north side neighborhood.

Veronica was hired by Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in 2009 with funding support from Missouri Foundation for Health to coordinate the then-newly established 13th Street Community Garden so that fresh, local produce would be available for the North City Farmers’ Market.  Sarah Kate was hired by ONSLRG in June of last year to manage the then soon-to-open Old North Grocery Co-op.  Sarah Kate’s position is also made possible by a separate grant from Missouri Foundation for Health.

So, if you see Veronica at the market or Sarah Kate at the co-op, be sure to congratulate them for this great honor.  Or, you can celebrate with them tonight.  Tickets to the EarthDance Mission Awards Ceremony are $15, and may be purchased at the door or in advance at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/189898.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, September 17, 2011

North City Farmers’ Market Going on Right Now

Come on out now to listen to the cool tunes of the Ragged Blade Band - and while you’re at it, pick up some great farm-fresh foods and locally produced crafts.

With the overcast skies and pleasant temperatures, it’s a great day to hang out at the market.

1COMMENT
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Join us THIS SATURDAY at North City Farmers’ Market

The North City Farmers’ Market takes place along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street every Saturday from June through mid-October.  We invite you to come on out to join us every week — but we’re making a special invitation to one and all to come on by the market THIS week since we’ll have a camera crew on hand to capture the sights and sounds of the market on Saturday, Sept. 17.  Because of the North City Farmers’ Market and the revitalization efforts that are making Old North more walkable and sustainable, we’ve captured the attention of this film crew traveling around the country covering environmental projects that are green and sustainable.

Whether you want to get your moment in the spotlight or just because you want to support the market, please join us Saturday and invite any others who want to enjoy the tastes of great, fresh, local foods; the sounds of the Ragged Blade Band; and the sights of Old North’s neighborhood revitalization.

For a downloadable PDF version of this flyer, click HERE.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Photo Exhibit Opens Thursday, Sept. 1 with Reception at Old North Gallery

Join us Thursday evening from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. for the opening reception of the “(en)Visioning Hyde Park” photo exhibit at the Old North Gallery featuring the works of young people who participated in a summer program run by the ReBuild Foundation and the Urban Expressions Project.

The exhibit is made possible by the support of many generous sponsors, including a grant from the Missouri Arts Council.   After the opening reception, the exhibit will be open for viewing through September 30, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon.

1COMMENT
Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jackson Park Ribbon-Cutting & Re-dedication Picnic

Assisted by neighborhood children, 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin cut the ribbon at Jackson Park's new pavilion on Saturday. Joining her for the ceremony were Tino Ochoa, ONSLRG's Board President; Jennifer Allen, Active Living Manager at Trailnet; Sal Martinez, Executive Director of Community Renewal & Development; and Sean Thomas, ONSLRG's Executive Director.

Assisted by neighborhood children, 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin cut the ribbon at Jackson Park's new pavilion on Saturday. Joining her for the ceremony were Tino Ochoa, ONSLRG's Board President; Jennifer Allen, Active Living Manager at Trailnet; Sal Martinez, Executive Director at Community Renewal & Development; and Sean Thomas, ONSLRG's Executive Director.

Community residents and representatives of Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group, Trailnet, and Community Renewal & Development joined Alderwoman April Ford Griffin on Saturday in a celebratory picnic in Jackson Park.  The second-oldest public park in the City of St. Louis, Jackson Park benefited from significant investments over the past couple years, including a new pavilion, new playground, and many new trees and other plantings.

Free refreshments for the crowd included watermelon donated by Lee Farms (above) and smoothies made with the bicycle blender from La Mancha Coffeehouse, with Trailnet picking up the tab for complimentary samples from the Wanderlust Pizza and the Seoul Taco trucks.

Other than the ceremonies and the refreshments, the afternoon provided a great opportunity for neighbors to come together to enjoy some fun and games in the park.

Thanks to all who assisted with the festivities, including Miranda Gilstrap, ONSLRG’s practicum student from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work, Veronica Holden and Cassandra Howard of the North City Farmers’ Market for staffing the market table, Poor Souls Society, Community Renewal & Development, Lee Farms, the City of St. Louis Parks & Recreation Division, several board members and staff from ONSLRG, Trailnet, and Forks & Feet Forward Old North (the healthy living partnership of ONSLRG and Trailnet).

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, August 20, 2011

North City Farmers’ Market Is INDOORS Today

The North City Farmers’ Market IS OPEN today, but due to the lightning, rain, and strong winds, the market was forced to move inside to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street.

Come on by for some good deals on farm fresh produce, baked goods, and other locally produced items.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Join us Sat., Aug. 20 for a Picnic and Ribbon-Cutting in Jackson Park

On Saturday, August 20, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., neighbors and friends of Old North will gather in Jackson Park (North Market & Hadley) to celebrate the completion of a couple years’ worth of improvements to the park.

As noted in previous posts, including in June of 2009 shortly after much of the work got started, the improvements at Jackson Park were made possible because 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin was able to secure city funds for the project.  ONSLRG held community meetings in April of 2008 to solicit input from neighbors and presented the city with a revised plan for the park to reflect the neighbors’ requests and recommendations.  Because of her initiative on this project, Alderwoman April Ford Griffin will take the first snip of the official ribbon-cutting after a few introductory comments.

A few weeks ago, dedicated volunteers recruited by Forks & Feet Forward Old North! (a collaborative effort by ONSLRG and Trailnet) and ONSLRG’s Green Space Committee spent a good part of their Saturday enhancing the beauty of the park with new plantings.   Special thanks for planning the planting day and the ribbon-cutting go to Miranda Gilstrap, a Washington University practicum student working with ONSLRG, and Morgan Clennin, an intern with Trailnet.

Feel free to spread the word to all residents and friends of Old North by printing and distributing the PDF version of the flyer for the event.

1COMMENT
Saturday, August 6, 2011

Scenes from Today’s Vegetapalooza at North City Farmers’ Market

It was a fantastic day at the North City Farmers’ Market today.  Although a bit warm, the temperatures were much, much better than recent weeks.  The vendors were happy with sales, the customers were pleased with the variety of healthy and fresh vegetables and fruit and other goods being sold, and a good time was had by all.

Music from Wack-A-Doo filled the air and contributed to the festive atmosphere.

Music from Wack-A-Doo filled the air and contributed to the festive atmosphere.

Congratulations to the contest winners…

Gail Havens won 1st prize for “Weirdest Home-grown Vegetable” for her “weird, long bean.”

The Burning Kumquat Farm, a student-run, organic garden on the campus of Washington University, won first prize for largest vegetable for their oversized, odd-looking cucumber.

Courtney McDermott won first prize for her cool berry cream pie (which was perfect for warm day).

Thank you to Left Bank Books and Angel Baked Cookies for providing prizes for this year’s winners.

And the Burning Kumquat team (shown above with chef Ivy Tominack) won the cook-off contest against the team of Veronica Holden (representing the 13th Street Garden) and Sarah Kate Buckles (representing the Old North Grocery Co-op) with a 4-vote margin of victory, based on voting from market visitors.

Another special feature at today’s market was a visit by the Truck Farm, a pick-up truck with a vegetable garden growing in the back.

Our previous post made note of the fact that the North City Farmers’ Market is a project of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and made possible by grant funding from Missouri Foundation for Health.  We should also note that the market wouldn’t happen at all without significant volunteer support from neighbors and outside friends, including a list too long to include in this post.  We’ll get a full listing of volunteers up in a future post.  But the market also benefits from the hard labor of Market Master Cassandra Howard, Project Coordinator Veronica Holden, and Nutrition Educator / Chef Ivy Tominack.  Thank you to all for making the market so successful!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vegetapalooza TODAY at North City Farmers’ Market

Come on out today (Saturday, August 6) between 9 a.m. and noon for the North City Farmers’ Market’sannual mid-season celebration known as Vegetapalooza.  The market takes place along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street (right across St. Louis Avenue from Crown Candy Kitchen).

The event will feature contests (open to all) for:

  • best pie
  • weirdest home-grown vegetable, and
  • largest vegetable from a home garden

First Place Prizes will be awarded in each of the categories!

Help decide the winner of the chef cook-off between the Old North Grocery Co-op and the Burning Kumquat Farm.   Stick around to have a free food sample and vote for your favorite dish.

Wack-a-do will perform live music.

Other activities include:

  • ice-cream making and tasting
  • folk dance lessons
  • a visit and talk from the Truck Farm
  • live chickens from the 13th Street Garden

And, best of all, come on outside and enjoy a non-heat emergency day in the beautiful Crown Square at the heart of Old North!

The North City Farmers’ Market is a project of Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group and is made possible by generous financial support from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

1COMMENT
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another New Business Open at Crown Square

Closet Repeats is now open for business at Crown Square.  The upscale re-sale clothing boutique at 2603 N. 14th Street had a soft opening last week, and Yvonne Reed says that she’s already pleased with the walk-in traffic and sales to customers who have shown up without any formal announcement about the opening.

The store is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.  Watch for an announcement about a grand opening later.  In the meantime, though, stop on by to show your support by purchasing something at Closet Repeats for yourself, or as a gift for someone else.  And stay tuned for more announcements soon about other upcoming Crown Square openings.

1COMMENT
Friday, July 29, 2011

Join Us Friday, Aug. 5 & Your Contributions Can Help ONSLRG Continue Revitalization of Old North

Over the past 30 years, Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group has been pursuing a mission to revitalize the physical & social dimensions of the Old North neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.  We have a lot to show for these many years of effort — and now we need your help to continue this work.

Live music will be provided by the Gateway Guitar Quartet, and complimentary beverages and snacks will be available for all guests.

Click HERE for a downloadable, PDF version of the flyer that you can print for taping to your fridge, posting on your office bulletin board, distributing to neighbors, and sharing with anyone else you think would like to show their support for ONLSRG.

If you can’t join us on Friday the 5th, you can make a secure, online contribution right now by clicking HERE.  And if you have other ways of offering your support to make ONSLRG more sustainable for the long-haul, we’d be happy to hear from you.  Just give us a call at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, July 22, 2011

Neighborhood Watch & Citizen Patrol Training Scheduled for Tues., July 26

One of the reasons Old North is known as a safe and welcoming community is because neighbors tend to look out for each other.   Since there’s always room for improvement, and because we need to sustain and reinforce that neighborhood culture of working together on neighborhood safety issues, we’ve asked the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for some good information on tools and techniques that neighbors can use at home and as they drive or walk through the neighborhood.

Thanks to the assistance of 5th District Capt. Mary Edwards-Fears and Officer Nicola Lampkin, the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group will host a Neighborhood Watch and Citizen Patrol training,  next Tuesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. The training will take place at ONSLRG’s office, 2700 N. 14th Street, and is open to the public.

For a downloadable PDF version of this flyer, click here.  Please help us in sharing this information with any neighbors, business owners, churches, schools, or any others who might benefit from or be interested in this training.  For more information, please call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, July 15, 2011

Old North Grocery Co-op Member-Owners’ Meeting & First Anniversary Celebration

The Old North Grocery Co-op opened its doors for business one year ago this weekend.  On Saturday the co-op’s members will gather to celebrate that anniversary and to conduct a little business, such as electing board members and reviewing some of the highlights of the store’s first year.

So, if you’d like to join us at the meeting, come on by the North City Farmers’ Market between 9 a.m. and noon, then swing by the Old North Grocery Co-op to pick up a few other grocery items before the meeting starts at 12:30 p.m.  For more updates from the store, visit www.OldNorthGrocery.com

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Picnic at the Iron Horse Trestle Thursday, July 7, at 7 p.m.

The conversion of the Iron Horse Trestle into an elevated hiking and cycling trail in the southeast corner of Old North Saint Louis will be a great recreational amenity for Old North residents and will attract visitors from well outside the neighborhood.  On Thursday night at 7 p.m., residents and friends of Old North will get a chance to learn more about the project and explore the trestle in person.   City Affair Saint Louis, “a forum for sharing ideas about the future of the St. Louis urban environment,” will host a picnic and discussion about plans for the redevelopment of the Iron Horse Trestle.  The gathering starts at 7 p.m. at Hadley & Howard and includes a walking tour of the trestle at 7:45 p.m.

Here’s how the City Affair blog describes the event:

For more information about the Trestle project, visit the Great Rivers Greenway page on the project.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch carried a story about the plans for the picnic (click here to read the online version) - and kindly repeated City Affairs’ encouragement that picnic-goers stop by the Old North Grocery Co-op to purchase their picnic supplies on the way to the event.

The image below and at the top of this post are courtesy of Great Rivers Greenway.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, June 30, 2011

St. Louis Beacon Article Tells the Story Behind Old North’s 28% Population Gain

An article posted on the St. Louis Beacon’s website today takes a look at some of the factors that have led to Old North’s 28% increase in population over the past decade.  Click HERE to read the full article.

The reporter for this story, Kristin Hare, produced a high quality video slideshow of before and after photos (provided by us) to illustrate the dramatic transformation that is contributing to Old North’s ability to attract and retain residents.

Watch for more on this series in the coming days…

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Old North Quality of Life Meeting: Thursday, June 30 at 6 p.m.

An Old North Saint Louis Quality of Life meeting will take place this coming Thursday, June 30, at 6 p.m.  The meeting will be held in the Gallery at the offices of the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group, 2700 N. 14th Street.  See below for a flyer with details about this month’s agenda.

To download a PDF version of this flyer - for printing and copying for others or for posting in your window, click here.

After this month, these meetings will be back on a regular 4th Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. schedule, which means the July meeting will be on Thursday, July 28.  The Quality of Life meetings are planned and coordinated by ONSLRG’s Social Outreach Committee.  To suggest topics for future meetings or if you’d like to help with the committee, contact one of the committee’s co-chairs, Thom Fletcher (phone: 314-623-4755; email: monstromo@yahoo.com) or Amy Corey (phone: 314-650-2827; email: i.a.corey@att.net).

Please help us spread the word about this and other upcoming meetings.  If you’d like to get a pile of flyers to distribute to your neighbors or to post at highly visible areas, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send a message to info@onsl.org.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rambles.com Signs Lease for Retail Space at Crown Square

Crown Square is picking up steam with a wave of new retail tenants making plans to open this summer.  On Friday Maria Falconer of Rambles.com signed a lease to open her first physical retail store at Crown Square.  By itself, that’s good news.  As is often the case in Old North, though, the story of how this outcome was achieved demonstrates the power of community and the determined spirit in Old North.

A few months ago Maria visited Crown Square to look at some possible locations to expand her business from the online world to include a bricks and mortar shop that would sell her eclectic mix of “fun, funky, functional” art, jewelry, furnishings, and other products.  Maria liked what she saw in Old North and shared that with her friends and followers through her blog and facebook pages.  However, when it turned out that another business had submitted a letter of intent for the space she wanted, Maria re-opened her options to consider other parts of town, including the Delmar Loop and the Central West End.

With a slight bit of encouragement from the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group, the community kicked into gear and mobilized a “Reel in Rambles” campaign to show Maria how much support there was for her to select Crown Square.  Consequently, ONSL residents, business owners, and other friends of the neighborhood flooded the Rambles facebook page with messages urging Maria to set up shop at Crown Square.

And the messages from community kept coming…

After another opportunity to take in the warmth and vitality of the neighborhood, this time through a visit to the Old North Homegrown Festival & House Tour on May 14, Maria decided that Crown Square was the ideal spot for Rambles.

The Rambles store will open at Crown Square on the 2600 block of N. 14th Street later this summer.  Thank you Maria!  We look forward to seeing you soon in the neighborhood.

In the meantime, Old North will get a chance to celebrate another retail grand opening at Crown Square on Friday, July 1, when Closet Repeats opens for business at 2603 N. 14th.   With Therapy Boutique at 2717 N. 14th, Closet Repeats will offer even more options for purchasing a variety of fashionable clothing in the heart of Old North.  Please join us in welcoming Yvonne Reed to Old North by coming out on July 1 to buy something nice for yourself or for your mother, sister, daughter…

Stay tuned for news soon about another summer opening at Crown Square, this time for Racq Salon & Spa at 2605 N. 14th.

If you know of any other businesses that would be a good fit for a friendly and supportive community (not to mention the more than 75,000 potential customers who live within 3 miles of Crown Square), contact Susan Sauer at Duffe-Nuernberger Realty, by phone at 314-571-7654 or email (ssauer@ndconsulting.com).  Floorplans and pricing for spaces at Crown Square can be found online HERE.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crown Square’s Therapy Boutique is Today’s “Hello GoodBuy!” Promotion at STLMag.com

Crown Square’s very own Therapy Boutique at 2717 N. 14th Street is offering a special deal today on St. Louis Magazine’s “Hello GoodBuy!” daily coupon promotion program.

To take advantage of this great offer - which can only be purchased before the end of the day Wednesday (but the coupon can be used through Sept. 20), click HERE.  Even if you miss the chance to purchase the coupon today, please show your support for Ebony by stopping in the store sometime soon to purchase a dress, a purse, jewelry, or any of her fashionable accessories.  And tell everyone you know about this great offer right in the heart of Old North’s Crown Square.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, June 4, 2011

More Scenes from Opening Day at North City Farmers’ Market

After the “big chill” put a damper on the Home Grown Festival & House Tour in May, we agreed to not complain about warm and sunny weather.  Today we had more than our share of warm and sunny with the heat index into the upper 90s, but we’re grateful that we didn’t get rained out on the first day of the 2011 North City Farmers’ Market season.

Our post from earlier this morning provided a few glimpses of the market just after start-up.  Now, we’re happy to share some additional photos from throughout the day.

The Ragged Blade Band provided a wonderful mix of blues, jazz, bluegrass, and other tunes to contribute to the cool atmosphere.

Come back next week - and we promise we’ll get the weather straightened out for a comfortable and pleasant stroll through the market.  The North City Farmers’ Market will continue every Saturday through Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. until noon at Crown Square in the heart of Old North Saint Louis.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, June 4, 2011

North City Farmers’ Market is OPEN for the 5th Season!

The market is open… so, come on out right now!  See below for a few shots from the opening minutes this morning…

The band, Ragged Blade, will start playing in a few minutes, so come on out and join in the fun - and pick up some healthy, farm-fresh produce while you’re at it!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Join us Sat., June 4 for Opening Day of the 5th Season of the North City Farmers’ Market

The Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group is pleased to bring back the North City Farmers’ Market for a whole new season starting this Saturday, June 4.  The market’s 5th season begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with a big opening day celebration along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street, just south of St. Louis Avenue.  The market will take place every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. until noon through October 15.

Confirmed vendors include:

  • 13th Street Community Garden
  • Angel Baked Cookies
  • Black Bear Bakery
  • Burning Kumquat
  • CJ’s Place
  • HopeBuild
  • La Mancha Coffeehouse
  • Lee Farms CSA
  • Moonlight Farm
  • Old North Grocery Co-op
  • New Roots Urban Farm
  • St. Louis Mennonite Peace Center/Columbia Garden
  • Villarreal Farm
  • Whetstone Farms
  • W.M. Farms
  • Ahjiba Handspun
  • Joyce Cooks
  • Made in Old North
  • Stuff N Things

All vendors at the North City Farmers’ Market are local; the products are grown, raised, or created in or within a short distance of the St. Louis area.  If you are interested in having a booth at our Market to sell your items or to distribute information about your organization, please contact the Market Master, Cassandra Howard, at cassandraleehoward AT gmail DOT com or call the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group at (314) 241-5031.

The North City Farmers’ Market accepts EBT, debit, and cash.

In addition to a good mix of vendors bringing farm-fresh produce to the heart of Old North, most market days will feature cooking demonstrations, live music, free health screenings, on-site bike repair, and other fun-filled activities for the whole family. This week’s musical entertainment will be provided by The Ragged Blade Band, featuring “original music by bandleader Jerry Rabushka… blues, jazz, country, show tunes, ballads, rock, & more.”

The Ragged Blade Band will play at 10 a.m.

The Ragged Blade Band will play at 10 a.m.

This Saturday will also include another round of the highly entertaining cooking demonstrations with several prominent St. Louis area chefs preparing tasty recipes with some of the ingredients coming straight from the market.

The North City Farmers’ Market is a project of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, made possible by significant funding support from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The market is also made possible by the dedication and commitment of many residents and friends of Old North who give generously of their time and effort.  If you’d like to assist with set-up, take-down, or any of the other tasks on market days, contact Jennifer Policow, Market Assistant, at jennifer.policow AT gmail DOT com.

1COMMENT
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RFT Features Old North as one of “five awesome walkable neighborhoods”

This week’s issue of the Riverfront Times includes a special section on “Summertime in St. Louis” - and within that section is an article that profiles “5 Downtowns that aren’t Downtown” with the subtitle, “Beyond the Arch: surprisingly cool destinations within a 30-minute drive.”   Old North made the list of the “five awesome walkable neighborhoods perfect for daytrippers.”

Noting that “nice folks do go north of Delmar,” the author of the section on Old North, Diana Benanti, describes the neighborhood as “home to an inspiring community of urban pioneers fomenting the renaissance of their historic neighborhood.”  In addition to the obligatory tribute to Crown Candy Kitchen, the article also has kind words about Crown Square, La Mancha Coffeehouse, the Poor Souls Society Art Gallery, the Old North Grocery Co-op, Wingmann Park, the 13th Street Community Garden (and its resident chickens), and Old North’s architecturally significant historic buildings.  To read the full piece, pick up a copy of this week’s Riverfront Times or click HERE for the online version (and be sure to click on through to page 4 for the part about Old North).

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thanks to Ernst & Young for Help with Old North Grocery Co-op

On Friday the Old North Grocery Co-op benefited from some much-needed sprucing up in the form of a new paint job inside the store, courtesy of several volunteers from the St. Louis office of Ernst and Young.  Thank you to all of the volunteers and to Ernst & Young for making them available to help us with this project.

The job still needs a bit of trim work, but the results of the hard work invested by the good volunteers from Ernst & Young have greatly improved the look and feel of the store (see below).

Also, on the topic of fresh food resources in Old North, we’re just a couple of weeks away from the start of the 5th season of the North City Farmers’ Market. Mark your calendar now:  Opening Day celebration is Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m.-noon.  Once again, the North City Farmers’ Market is made possible by generous support from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The market, however, still needs other funding.  You can help us cover the myriad of costs associated with putting on one of the Top 20 boutique-sized farmers’ markets in the nation by attending a trivia night fundraiser next Saturday night, May 28 at 7 p.m.

This multi-media pop culture trivia contest is sure to delight and entertain! For a mere $15 per person or $100 for a team of eight, you can help us support local farmers and provide fresh, healthy food to the elderly, disabled, and impoverished. BYOB, snacks, and pop culture knowledge. Beer and sodas will be available for a donation. Live auction, 50/50 raffle, and prizes for the winners. To register, contact Veronica Holden: 314-422-2382, or Ivy Tominack: 636-288-2099.

To learn more about North City Farmers’ Market, visit the market’s website.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, May 16, 2011

Old North on the Cover of Nation’s Cities Weekly

Today’s issue of Nation’s Cities Weekly features a front page story about the revitalization of Old North St. Louis and how some of this has been made possible by investment of Community Development Block Grant funds.

Although a few of the details were slightly off, the article accurately points to Old North as a community where the federal government is getting a return on its investment of CDBG dollars.  The public funds invested in Old North have been more than matched by private investment and have succeeded in attracting new residents, businesses, and jobs to a neighborhood that previously had a several decade-long pattern of losing people and jobs.  By all accounts, Old North is a more vibrant, sustainable, and attractive community today than it was just a few years ago, and is one of the few areas in the City of St. Louis where the population increased over the past decade.  Actually, Old North didn’t just grow over the past 10 years, it boomed with a 28% increase, a rate more robust than experienced in St. Charles County over the same period.

Among the reasons Old North is being looked to as a success story is that CDBG funds were part of a broad range of funding sources that fueled a comprehensive revitalization strategy that was rooted in a community vision, facilitated by a community-based neighborhood development organization.  None of this would have happened without a passionate and determined community willing to put in a lot of hard work, and strong support from local officials, such as Alderwoman April Ford Griffin and Mayor Francis Slay.  The work is far from over, but the results from the investments to date are quite evident.

To read the whole article, click HERE to visit the online version of this week’s issue of Nation’s Cities Weekly.

1COMMENT
Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scenes from Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour -Part 2

The wet and chilly weather may have kept some people away, but the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour still was a great success in many other ways that can’t be measured by attendance figures alone.

Some of the community’s strong supporters who haven’t been back to the neighborhood in a while enjoyed the opportunity to see all of the changes, including some that have taken place just within the past couple weeks, including a bright, new look for the Old North Grocery Co-op.

Although we don't normally recommend painting on brick, the building that houses the Old North Grocery Co-op was classified as "non-contributing" at the time the neighborhood was approved as a National Register Historic District, in part because of the newer, non-historic brick on the exterior of the later addition as well as the historic portions of the former horseradish factory.

Although we don't normally recommend painting on brick, the building that houses the Old North Grocery Co-op was classified as "non-contributing" at the time the neighborhood was approved as a National Register Historic District, in part because of the newer, non-historic brick on the exterior of the later addition as well as the historic portions of the former horseradish factory.

The event was successful in serving as a platform for establishing new connections, including with one individual who was so impressed that he made plans to hold a wedding reception at Crown Square, and in demonstrating the vibrancy of the community.  A few prospective commercial tenants came out to get a feel for the area and to look at look at commercial spaces that are available for lease.

The Home Grown Festival represented an opportunity to shine the spotlight on artistic talent within and nearby Old North.

Juan William Chavez had an exhibit that shared the story of Team Cookbook, inspired by the Old North Cookbook.

Juan William Chavez had an exhibit that shared the story of Team Cookbook, inspired by the Old North Cookbook.

The space at 2607 N. 14th was the site of an installation created by Chinyere E. Oteh, Dail Chambers, and Simiya Sudduth representing the Ye Yo Arts Collective.

The space at 2607 N. 14th was the site of an installation created by Chinyere E. Oteh, Dail Chambers, and Simiya Sudduth representing the Ye Yo Arts Collective.

Visitors got a chance to try out new neighborhood businesses, such as La Mancha Coffeehouse.

Visitors got a chance to try out new neighborhood businesses, such as La Mancha Coffeehouse.

The gallery at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office hosted a range of spoken word performances and the re-dedication of Wingmann Park (more about that in a later post), while the Parks Building was the site for a variety of craft vendors.

As always, the house tour showed off the beauty and unique character of homes in Old North…

… on the inside:

…and outside:

Although redevelopment of this cottage house on Palm isn't visible yet, the property still drew a lot of interest. The owners posted a display of architectural plans for the rehab, along with interesting bits about the building's history and its former occupants.

Although redevelopment of this cottage house on Palm isn't visible yet, the property still drew a lot of interest. The owners posted a display of architectural plans for the rehab, along with interesting bits about the building's history and its former occupants.

As the photo of the cottage on Palm demonstrates, Old North’s house tour is unlike many other house tours in other neighborhoods.  We don’t limit our tour to the homes that are in pristine condition or likely to show up on the cover of glossy home magazines.  Old North’s tour shows off the diversity of the community, including the range of housing styles and conditions.  There are many homes that have been beautifully restored to reflect their original, Victorian design.  There also are many homes that are at early stages of rehab work, and many that put more contemporary interiors into the shells of their historic homes.

The rain forced many of the street festival activities indoors, including the performances that had been scheduled for the main stage at Crown Square.

Students from Grand Center Arts Academy's Front & Center Show Choir were among the performers.

Students from Grand Center Arts Academy's Front & Center Show Choir were among the performers.

Young performers from Club CHIPS shared songs with positive messages about healthy living.

Young performers from Club CHIPS shared songs with positive messages about healthy living.

David Foote invited audience members to participate in a Zumba dance demonstration.

David Foote invited audience members to participate in a Zumba dance demonstration.

Meanwhile, out on the street, many of our sponsors and other neighborhood service providers braved the weather to staff information tables.

Kohner Properties staff shared information about apartments available in the neighborhood, including at Crown Square Apartments.

Kohner Properties staff shared information about apartments available in the neighborhood, including at Crown Square Apartments.

Grace Hill representatives distributed information about the upcoming Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing event scheduled for next weekend.

Grace Hill representatives distributed information about the upcoming Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing event scheduled for next weekend.

Trailnet representatives and friends gathered at the corner plaza while waiting for start of the environmental justice bike ride.

Trailnet representatives and friends gathered at the corner plaza while waiting for start of the environmental justice bike ride.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, one of our sponsors, was on hand to recruit more gardens for their 10,000 Garden Challenge.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, one of our sponsors, was on hand to recruit more gardens for their 10,000 Garden Challenge.

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group thanks all sponsors, volunteers, homeowners, and visitors for making the day such a wonderful experience!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rain Can’t Dampen Spirits at Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour

Despite misty, cool, and sometimes rainy conditions, the crowds that came out to the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour enjoyed their visit to Crown Square and seeing the revitalization throughout the neighborhood. See below for some scenes from today’s fun.

Watch for more photos from the big day tomorrow.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, May 12, 2011

2 Days Away: Old North Home Grown Fest & House Tour Will Feature Music, Dance, Arts, Crafts, & Food

We’re just two days away from the Old North Saint Louis Home Grown Festival & House Tour, scheduled for this Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Our last post provided a preview of the really cool range of housing, businesses and architectural styles that will be part of this year’s house & community tour.  Now, we’d like to highlight the Home Grown Festival side of the big day in Old North.

Since Old North is a community that embraces the arts and the creative talents of artisans and crafters, our Home Grown Festival will put the spotlight on some of the great talent right here in Old North and the broader St. Louis community.  Among the artists who will have installations in commercial spaces at Crown Square are:

Juan William Chavez, who not only was selected by Missouri Arts Council as their Individual Artist winner of the 2011 Missouri Arts Award, will be establishing a new arts center in Old North at 1306 St. Louis Avenue.

Dail Chambers of YeYo Arts Collective - Just this past week, the St. Louis Beacon published a profile of Dail and her work.

and an exhibit of work from students representing Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School and Holy Trinity Catholic School as curated by Old North resident Claire Wolff.

The craft area of the Home Grown Fest will include booths for:

Gail Havens (decorative gourds); Allison L. Norfleet Bruenger (mixed media jewelry); Gloria Bratkowski (Art from the Attic); Susan Tschetter (rug hooking); Katherin Accettura; Alicia Christopher (decorative containers); Janet Sanders of Perpetua Iron (metal sculptor); Julie Longyear (candles and skin care); Connie Cole (caricature artist); Caryn Patterson of Pattercraft; Sun Ministries (wood furniture); Rae Calliach (fortune telling); Rebecca Wilson (photography); Andrea Berry (weaving).

Music and other entertainment, coordinated by Kathryn Bentley, will include (exact schedule subject to change):

10:15- presentation by Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office, in the Old North Gallery;

10:30 – 11:00-Zumba with David Foote, on the main stage;

11:00 – 12:00 - Grand Center Arts Academy; FRONT AND CENTER Show Choir, on the main stage;

12:00 – 12:20 - Wingmann Park Rededication Event (at Wingmann Park);

12:30 – 1:15 - Onion in a Pot, bluegrass band, on the main stage; Spoken Word, in the Old North Gallery;

1:30 – 2:15 - CLUB CHIPS with “Madame Wright”, on the main stage;

2:15- 2:45 - Barry Moton, on the main stage;

2:45 – 3:00 - Hassie Davis, on the main stage;

3:00 - presentation by Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office, in the Old North Gallery.

In addition to a complimentary ice cream cup, thanks to the generosity of Crown Candy Kitchen (for the first 250 or so House Tour ticket-holders), we’ll have other food vendors at this year’s event:

Mangia Mobile has made plans to bring their food truck to 14th Street.

The Sweet Divine will have their Sweet Shop Truck at Crown Square.

As always, food and beverages can be be purchased at Old North’s restaurants at or near the intersection of St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Streets:  Crown Candy Kitchen, La Mancha Coffeehouse, and Mandina’s Sports Bar.

Trailnet will be bringing even more activity, in the form of another Environmental Justice Bike Ride, co-sponsored by Forks and Feet Forward (ONSLRG’s healthy and active lifestyle partnership with Trailnet and the community), Grace Hill, and the EPA.  The ride will begin and end at the Crown Square plaza area across from Crown Candy.  Registration for the ride begins at 11:00am and the ride departs at 11:30am.  The ride will last approximately 2 hours.

For more information about the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour, give the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group a call at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.  Additional information and a link to purchase tickets online can be found at the ONSL.org page for the house tour: Click HERE to visit the House Tour page of the ONSL website.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, May 7, 2011

Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour Just 1 Week Away!

We’re down to 7 days now.  Since next weekend will be here before you know it, be sure to firm up your plans to attend the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour on Saturday, May 14.  This weekend also marks the last weekend to spread the word while you’re out and around taking care of other errands and / or visiting your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment venues, or church.  So, be sure to invite your friends to join us next Saturday.

And now, a few more previews of what can be seen and enjoyed at the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour on Saturday, May 14:

As part of the Home Grown Festival, some of the storefronts along this stretch of N. 14th Street at Crown Square will be filled with art exhibits featuring local artists, such as Juan William Chavez, Dail Chambers, and young artists from St. Louis ArtWorks.

As part of the Home Grown Festival, some of the storefronts along this stretch of N. 14th Street at Crown Square will be filled with art exhibits featuring local artists, such as Juan William Chavez, Dail Chambers, and young artists from Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School and Holy Trinity School. La Mancha Coffeehouse will have continue its showing of photos by St. Louis ArtWorks participants.

The registration tent for ticket sales, tour booklets, and other information will be at this plaza area at N. 14th and St. Louis Avenue. The Parks building, in the background, will house a variety of local crafters.

The Old North Grocery Co-op will be one of the new neighborhood businesses on the tour.  Many of last year's visitors who saw the building had good reason to be skeptical that the space would be ready for opening by mid-summer.  But the store DID open last July, and return visitors will be pleased to see the co-op in business.

The Old North Grocery Co-op will be one of the new neighborhood businesses on the tour. Many of last year's visitors who saw the building had good reason to be skeptical that the space would be ready for opening by mid-summer. But the store DID open last July, and return visitors will be pleased to see the co-op in business.

Another new business that will be on the tour is La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2815 N. 14th Street.

Another new business that will be on the tour is La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2815 N. 14th Street.

The Hebert Street Community Garden has been on the tour in the past, but this will be the first time since it was dedicated to Johnnie Owens..

The Hebert Street Community Garden has been on the tour in the past, but this will be the first time since it was dedicated to Johnnie Owens..

A stroll down the 1300 block of North Market will provide glimpses of the mix of old and new, as well as the variety of housing options from apartment buildings to owner-occupied houses. The North Market Apts. community space, in the background, will be open and will feature a display of plans for another round of Habitat for Humanity houses in Old North.

A stroll down the 1300 block of North Market will provide glimpses of the mix of old and new, as well as the variety of housing options from apartment buildings to owner-occupied houses. The North Market Apts. community space, in the background, will be open and will feature a display of plans for another round of Habitat for Humanity houses in Old North.

Since Old North continues to be a work in progress, the tour also features homes that are still in the midst of rehab, such as this home on the 1200 block of North Market.

Since Old North continues to be a work in progress, the tour also features homes that are still in the midst of rehab, such as this home on the 1200 block of North Market.

This house on Monroe, in its final stages of rehab, provides evidence that not everything in Old North has red brick facade.

This house on Monroe, in its final stages of rehab, provides evidence that not everything in Old North has red brick facade.

This house on Sullivan has great interior space as well as a wonderful patio and garden in back.

This house on Sullivan has great interior space as well as a wonderful patio and garden in back.

Although the tour can only feature a limited number of buildings, the architectural and historic character of the streetscape can still be appredcia not officially on the tour can be appreciated on the way to and from the different stops on the tour.

Although the tour can only feature a limited number of buildings, the architectural and historic character of the streetscape can still be appreciated on the way to and from the different stops on the tour.

As noted in previous posts, more information and a link to purchase tickets online can be found at the ONSL.org page for the house tour: Click HERE to visit the House Tour page of the ONSL website.  Volunteers still have time to sign up to help with this year’s tour.  Just call the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org and let us know when you’re available and how to reach you.

1COMMENT
Monday, May 2, 2011

Old North House Tour & Home Grown Festival: 12 Days Away!

This beautifully restored home on N. 19th Street once was a crumbling, abandoned shell.  Come see how it has been brought back to life on Sat., May 14.

This beautifully restored home on N. 19th Street once was a crumbling, abandoned shell. Come see how it has been brought back to life on Sat., May 14.

We’re just 12 days away from the Old North Home Grown Street Festival & House Tour on Saturday, May 14. Now would be a good time to call, email, or send Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn notices to all of your contacts to give them a heads-up and to invite them to join you on Saturday, May 14.  We have postcards in the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office that you can come in and address to those you want to mail them to, and then we’ll put a stamp on them and mail them for you.

One of the homes on this block of Sullivan will be on the tour.

One of the homes on this block of Sullivan will be on the tour.

In addition to many houses dating from the mid-to-late 1800s that have benefited from historic rehabilitation, Old North also is home to 21st Century houses built within the past year.  As part of the dynamic mix of old and new housing found in Old North, the tour will feature a couple of LEED-certified homes built by Habitat for Humanity that were designed to fit the lot sizes and setbacks of the blocks where they were built.

A one-story and a two-story flounder house built by Habitat will be on this year's tour.

A one-story and a two-story flounder house built by Habitat will be on this year's tour.

Among the many neighborhood amenities that will be celebrated are several community gardens.

This triangular greenspace bounded by Wright, Dodier, and Branch Streets has received a lot of attention lately, including significant support from Operation Brightside. Wingmann Park will be re-dedicated at noon on the day of the tour.

This triangular greenspace bounded by Wright, Dodier, and Branch Streets has received a lot of attention lately, including significant support from Operation Brightside. Wingmann Park will be re-dedicated at noon on the day of the tour.

More information and a link to purchase tickets online can be found at the ONSL.org page for the house tour:  Click HERE to visit the House Tour page of the ONSL website.

If you have a Facebook account, type “Old North Saint Louis House Tour” in the search box and you’ll find our event page.  Once there, be sure to click on “Attending” and then click on the option to share this with all of your friends.

The 2011 Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour is made possible due to the generous sponsorship support from PNC Bank (lead sponsor), Missouri Dept. of Agriculture, Bank of America, Commerce Bank, Duffe Nuernberger Realty, E. M. Harris Construction Co., Kohner Properties, Mackey Mitchell Architects, and USBank.

For other information or if you want to volunteer on the day of the tour, please give us a call at 314-241-5031.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grand Opening for La Mancha Coffeehouse on Friday

On Friday, April 22, La Mancha Coffeehouse will celebrate their first month in business at 2815 N. 14th Street, the space formerly occupied by the Urban Studio Cafe, and will mark the occasion with a Grand Opening Celebration starting at 6 p.m.

The following invitation to “Come Party with Us” has been excerpted from La Mancha’s facebook page:

We’ve been open for a month, and have had a lot of practice serving coffee and making sandwiches.   Now we’re ready for our Grand Opening.

Festivities Start at 6 pm on April 22nd

Ribbon Cutting will be done by one of our biggest fans and nearest neighbors, Bob Havens.

Flamenco Dancing by Emma Frey, courtesy of the St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society.

Lots of free samples!

La Mancha Coffeehouse T-shirts for sale.

And of course, neighbors & friends drinking coffee together.

Claire Wolff, Old North neighbor and co-founder of the Urban Studio Cafe, is displaying photographs taken by ArtWorks youth. The youth photographed & interviewed Old North residents, so you will probably recognize several of the faces on the wall.

Currently, our hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 7 am - 4 pm.

While you’re checking out the La Mancha Facebook page, be sure to visit the Old North Saint Louis House Tour and Home Grown Street Festival page — and let all of your friends know that you’ll be attending by clicking on the “I’m Attending” button.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, April 15, 2011

Old North HomeGrown Street Fest and House Tour Just 1 Month Away

This year’s Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour is expanding beyond the traditional format to incorporate a street festival that will celebrate and put the spotlight on locally produced foods, goods, and services.  The first ever HomeGrown Street Festival and our usual Old North House & Community Tour will take place on Saturday, May 14th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Tour tickets are available in advance for $10 and will be available on the day of the tour for $12 per person. To purchase tickets online or for more information, visit the ONSL.org page about the tour & street fest by clicking HERE.

The tour will feature the great diversity of housing styles that make Old North a community where almost everyone can find a place that suits their budget and lifestyle.  Stops on the tour will include historically rehabbed houses that once were abandoned shells, a LEED-certified home built by Habitat for Humanity last year, community gardens (including the 13th Street Garden, which grows food for the North City Farmers’ Market and is home to the Old North Chicken Coop), the Old North Grocery Co-op, and new businesses at Crown Square.  The HomeGrown Street Festival will show off the cool, public space at Crown Square, along the redeveloped former 14th Street Mall, and will feature a variety of locally produced arts, crafts, and other goods.   If you know of a good, local product that is worthy of inclusion at the street fest, contact the ONSLRG office.

We also could use some help in spreading the word about this great celebration of neighborhood revitalization, historic preservation, and the best of urban living.  It’s not too early to start inviting your friends, neighbors, relatives, and other supporters of sustainable, community-driven neighborhood development to join you on Saturday, May 14.   If you’d like to request postcards for the event that you could mail to anyone who might be interested in attending, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.

This year’s tour is made possible by generous support from PNC, the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture, Commerce Bank, Duffe-Nuernberger Realty, Kohner Properties, Mackey Mitchell Architects, and USBank.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Join Us on April 28 for ONSLRG’s Strategic Planning Kick-Off Meeting

One of the keys to Old North’s success as a community is the fact that the recent revitalization - and current redevelopments still in progress - can be traced directly to the vision and desires of community residents.  Now, as we make plans for continuing the revitalization, we invite Old North residents, other stakeholders, and anyone who cares about the community to join us on THURSDAY, APRIL 28 at 6:30 p.m. for a meeting to kick off Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s 2012-’14 strategic planning process.

Please help us spread the word to all who may be interested by forwarding a link to this site or by downloading a PDF of the flyer and posting it where others will see it.  If you have any questions or need additional information, please call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Scenes from Saturday’s Brightside Clean-up in Old North

On Saturday, Old North residents and outside volunteers took to the streets, vacant lots, community gardens, and alleys of the neighborhood to clean up debris that had accumulated over the winter months. The annual Operation Brightside, neighborhood-wide clean-up day in Old North benefited from help sent by St. Louis University’s Alphi Phi Omega chapter, as part of their Showers of Service Day.

The first wave of neighborhood volunteers gathered at the Hebert Street Community Garden to receive their assignments.

The first wave of neighborhood volunteers gathered at the Hebert Street Community Garden to receive their assignments from Barbara.

Community service starts an early age in Old North.

Community service starts an early age in Old North.

SLU volunteers in Strodtman Park.

SLU volunteers in Strodtman Park.

Stefene demonstrates here trash collection prowess.

Stefene demonstrates her trash collection prowess.

Thom ensures that Palm Street is litter-free.

Thom ensures that Palm Street is litter-free.

Katy, one of our UMSL Community Building Fellows, assisted with painting the traffic planters at N. 19th and Palm.

Katy, one of our UMSL Community Building Fellows, assisted with painting the traffic planters at N. 19th and Palm.

Luz Maria and SLU volunteers tackle 13th and Benton.

Luz Maria and SLU volunteers tackle 13th and Benton.

Lunch break in the cleaned up Hebert Community Garden.

Lunch break in the cleaned up Hebert Community Garden.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Old North Neighborhood-Wide Clean-Up Day Saturday

It’s time for Old North’s neighborhood-wide spring cleaning.  Come on out and join your neighbors and friends this coming Saturday, April 9 for this neighborhood tradition, with support and trash bags provided by Operation Brightside.  Neighbors and outside volunteers will meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Hebert Garden, on the northwest corner of the 1500 block of Hebert and Blair to join forces and to learn about the areas in the neighborhood that need the most help.  Some tools will be available for borrowing from the 13th Street Hub Garden, but please feel free to bring your own rake, shovel, wheelbarrow or broom.

We also expect to receive help from approximately 25 students from St. Louis University, who will be joining us as part of their annual spring service day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old North Featured in St. Louis Magazine’s “Where We Live” Issue

St. Louis Magazine has done it again.  And we thank them very much! Old North St. Louis once again is featured prominently in St. Louis Magazine’s annual issue in which they take a look at the many different neighborhoods, municipalities, and communities that make up the greater St. Louis region.

The April issue arrived in our mail today, and we were very pleased to discover that not only did Old North make it into St. Louis Magazine’s 2011 Neighborhood Guide, the very first article in this section included a full-page photo of Old North residents Claire Wolff and Joe Sweet, sipping coffee at the former Urban Studio Cafe (soon to re-open as La Mancha Coffeehouse), followed by another full-page update on “What’s New in Old North” with even more photos of Crown Square, the North City Farmers’ Market, and the Johnnie Owens sign at the Hebert Community Garden.

And if that wasn’t enough to make us happy, the magazine’s website at stlmag.com uses the photo of the Crown Square buildings at 2601-09 N. 14th Street as the image to promote the link to the online content for the Neighborhood Guide.

As our way of thanking St. Louis Magazine for this well-deserved but generous coverage of Old North, we encourage one and all to rush out to the newsstands to pick up your own issue.  However, when you get the magazine in your hands, don’t just flip ahead to page 80 for the article about Old North.  Feel free to read the whole issue from cover to cover, but take a moment to stop at page 16 and read what Stefene Russell, the magazine’s Culture Editor, has to say about why she lives in Old North.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, March 25, 2011

A Lot Going On in Old North This Weekend, from Art to Blood Pressure Screening to Noodles Workshop

As usual, there’s no shortage of things to do in Old North this coming weekend.  In fact, the biggest challenge will be in deciding just how much can be done in one weekend.

On Friday night, the Poor Souls Society Art Gallery at 2701 N. 14th Street in Crown Square will hold an opening reception for their new exhibit and a “MeetUp” event, starting at 7 p.m., with more activities from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, including music, poetry, and an open mic session.  See below for details.

Also on Friday, just a little farther down St. Louis Avenue from Old North’s western border, the Polish Falcons will be hosting their weekly Lenten Fish Fry from 5-7 p.m. at 2013 St. Louis Avenue.

On Saturday, the Old North Grocery Co-op will host a blood pressure screening from 9 to 11 a.m.  This is just one in a series of events that will be happening at the co-op to make it easier for residents and customers to pick up some good, fresh information while they’re loading their shopping carts with good, fresh foods.  If you’d like to get a weekly email with news and updates from the Old North Grocery Co-op (similar to the message below), just send an email to info@oldnorthgrocery.com.

Also on Saturday, Old North will be the site of another LOVEtheLOU Community Festival, this time as a show of support for the soon-to-open La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2815 N. 14th Street.   See below for a flyer for that event - and click HERE to see the online version of an article that appeared in this morning’s Post-Dispatch about the plans for La Mancha, including pictures of owners Veronica and David Holden.

And if you have hopes for a modeling career, stop by Therapy Boutique at 2717 N. 14th Street between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday while the boutique hosts its model call for their May fashion show.

On Sunday, at 1 p.m., Team Cookbook will be holding their second in a series of workshops leading up to an eventual re-launching of a new Old North cookbook.  This week’s workshop will focus on noodles.  See below for information or email teamcookbook@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, March 20, 2011

Open/Closed Conference Puts Focus on Opportunities for Development

The Open / Closed Conference this past weekend brought together an eclectic mix of urban enthusiasts, preservationists, neighborhood development advocates, academics, and developers to explore various issues related to vacant land in St. Louis.  Old North St. Louis Restoration Group was pleased to play host for the event’s opening reception on Friday evening and the closing reception on Saturday evening.

ONSLRG’s gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street was the setting for a standing-room-only crowd on Friday evening for the opening remarks by the event’s planners from nextSTL.com and Frontier St. Louis, followed by a presentation by Juan William Chavez, and clips from the soon-to-be-released documentary, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, along with the film’s producer, Paul Fehler, and former Pruitt-Igoe resident, Sylvester Brown, Jr. (shown in the second photo below).  Complimentary beverages were made available through the generosity of one of the newest microbreweries in town, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.

With all of the interest in bringing development to vacant properties, this is a great time to point out that Old North is home to many historic buildings ready for purchase by individuals or developers with a commitment to preserving these buildings and capacity to carry out the job.  A full listing of properties available for rehabbers can be found on the Rehabbers page in the Real Estate section of ONSL.org - or by clicking HERE. Contact Matt Fernandez, ONSLRG’s Community Development Specialist, at 314-241-5031 or via matt@onsl.org to learn more about what’s available and how to go about preparing an offer or planning for a rehab.

The building at 1316 North Market is just one of many historic properties that are great opportunities for good rehabbers with commitment and capacity.

The building at 1316 North Market is just one of many historic properties that are great opportunities for good rehabbers with commitment and capacity.

ONSLRG stabilized and secured the building at 1300 Monroe, along with several others from the Land Reutilization Authority, so that it could survive long enough to be taken on by future rehabbers.

ONSLRG stabilized and secured the building at 1300 Monroe, after purchasing it and several others from the Land Reutilization Authority, so that it could survive long enough to be taken on by future rehabbers.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Retail Businesses Growing in Old North

It’s that time of year again when the lines at Crown Candy Kitchen start stretching out the front door and around the corner, with customers coming from far and wide for Crown’s famous BLTs, malts, various chocolates, and their legendary Easter monkeys.

This year, however, customers waiting to get into Crown Candy can look up and down the street to see other retail businesses to visit after picking up their lunch or Easter chocolates.

Just across St. Louis Avenue, at 2717 N. 14th Street, is Therapy Boutique, which was featured in St. Louis Magazine last month.

You can read the whole article at St. Louis Magazine’s online site by clicking here, but the best part includes the following:

What’s your favorite part about owning a boutique in this neighborhood?

The community is like a little town. The first week that Therapy opened, everyone from business owners to the neighbors came by and introduced themselves. It’s like being on Cheers. Old North is very, very family-oriented; throughout the year there are family events for the community.

Congratulations Ebony for the great press, and thank you for the kind words about the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, a few doors north of Crown Candy will soon be home to La Mancha Coffeehouse, in the space that up until recently housed the Urban Studio Cafe.

As the notices posted in the window explain, La Mancha Coffeehouse will open by late March or early April at 2815 N. 14th Street.  Read all about the plans for this new, neighborhood-family-owned business at their website:  http://lamanchacoffeehouse.blogspot.com/.  This website also includes a link to a March 1 post about LaMancha on the Riverfront Times blog.

Stay tuned for more news soon about other businesses that will be opening at Crown Square.  For more information about commercial and retail spaces that are still available, contact Susan Sauer of Duffe Nuernberger Realty. by email (ssauer@ndconsulting.com) or phone (314-571-7654).

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, March 7, 2011

Branch Street Improvements & Iron Horse Trestle Plans Will Be Discussed at Meeting Thursday

Your ideas and feedback are requested as part of the planning process for improving the access to the Riverfront Trail from Old North along Branch Street.  The first public meeting and visioning session for this project will take place on Thursday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office and gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.

As noted on the flyer, staff from Great Rivers Greenway will be on hand to provide an update on the plans for developing the Iron Horse Trestle into an elevated hiking and biking path from Old North to the Riverfront Trail.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, March 4, 2011

New Entry Completed at Old North Grocery Co-op

As of today, the Old North Grocery Co-op has a new entry, with a convenient, ADA-compatible ramp.

The ramp is finished but the new railings aren't in yet.

The ramp is finished but the new railings aren't in yet.

The new doors bring a lot more light into the store and make it easier for prospective customers to get a glimpse into what the store offers as they walk or drive by the intersection of St. Louis Avenue and N. 13th Street.

Before all of this work was finished, the store received a high profile visitor last week when Dr. Roger Beachy stopped by to learn more about the efforts under way in Old North to increase access to healthy, affordable, and fresh foods.  Dr. Beachy is the Director of the National Institute of Food & Agriculture at the United States Dept. of Agriculture.  Dr. Beachy’s visit generated some more media coverage about the store, including a story on St. Louis Public Radio and an article in the St. Louis Beacon.

Rusty Lee, Dr. Roger Beachy, Kara Lubischer, and store manager, Sarah Kate Buckles.

Rusty Lee, Dr. Roger Beachy, Kara Lubischer, and store manager, Sarah Kate Buckles discuss the local foods sold at the Old North Grocery Co-op.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, February 27, 2011

Last Call for Community Supported Agriculture Subscriptions

The Lee Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is now taking subscriptions for this year’s season of 20 weekly deliveries of farm-fresh produce.  This arrangement involves consumers who agree to pay Lee Farms to plant and harvest enough seeds to produce approximately 7-20 pounds of fruit and vegetables per subscriber each week from June through October.   Click on the images of the brochure below for more details.

If you can get your order in directly to Lee Farms (as described in the brochure), we strongly encourage you to do that - and please indicate a desire to pick up your box at the Old North drop-site.  The weekly deliveries for Old North take place at the Old North Grocery Co-op at N. 13th Street and St. Louis Avenue, just one block east of Crown Candy and two blocks west of I-70.   In the past, ONSLRG has provided a handout with each week’s box describing all of that week’s items and offering recipes for each item.

Over the past couple seasons, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has purchased several extra subscriptions for residents who can’t get their order in before the deadline - and for some residents who can’t purchase a whole season’s worth of deliveries up-front but still want to buy a box on a weekly basis.  If you can’t get your subscription in to Rusty or Teresa at Lee Farms, please contact us at info@onsl.org (or by phone at 314-241-5031) to let us know you’re interested in buying one of our subscriptions or making arrangements for a purchase on a week-by-week basis.  The produce from these extra boxes that doesn’t get purchased by residents will get sold at the North City Farmers’ Market.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, February 18, 2011

Team Cookbook Workshop on Sunday Afternoon

Join the folks from Team Cookbook on Sunday afternoon for the first of two planned (and more to come later) workshops in collaboration with Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  Click on the flyer below for the details.

Check back later for more details about the project and future events.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Crown Square Featured on National Trust for Historic Preservation Blog

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has put the spotlight on the Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street pedestrian mall once again with a feature on the NTHP’s PreservationNation blog earlier this week.  Click HERE to see the post that ran on Feb. 15 as part of the NTHP’s series on projects that received awards at the National Preservation Conference on Oct. 29, 2010.

As noted in our post on October 19, Crown Square was selected for their National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Wins Civic Stewardship Award from ASLA

On Saturday evening, the St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects presented Old North St. Louis Restoration Group with its Civic Stewardship Award.  The Civic Stewardship award  recognizes individuals, businesses, and organizations who have raised awareness or have shown stewardship of the natural or built environment through their actions and deeds.  The announcement of the award noted that ONSLRG was selected for our efforts in revitalizing Old North St. Louis through such efforts as the 14th Street Mall redevelopment, historic preservation, neighborhood beautification, and sustainable strategies.

Above: ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and Executive Director Sean Thomas receive the Civic Stewardship Award from ASLA Vice President Stephen Ibendahl and President Anne Lewis

Above: ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and Executive Director Sean Thomas receive the Civic Stewardship Award from ASLA Vice President Stephen Ibendahl and President Anne Lewis

For more details about the St. Louis chapter of ASLA, visit their website at www.stlouisasla.org.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, February 11, 2011

New Gallery Exhibit: “Feedom From, Freedom To” Opens Tonight

The Old North Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street will be the site of an opening reception tonight for a new exhibit this evening (Friday, Feb. 11) at 6 p.m.  The art show, titled “Freedom From, Freedom To,” is brought to us by the St. Louis Rescue & Restore Coalition and seeks to raise awareness of the unfortunate reality that slavery still exists today.  The exhibit features the work of several local artists who responded to a challenge to create a piece of art that responds to the question, “What does freedom mean to you?”

Among the pieces on display will be one from Kelley Brown, titled “Butterflies” (see below).  More of her work can be seen on her blog.

Another piece, “Awaiting Freedom’s Flight,” was produced by Elliot Glass, a local high school student.

To view the art and to show your support for the St. Louis Rescue & Restore Coalition, join us this evening from 6-9 p.m.  Although not required, you can RSVP to the St. Louis Rescue & Restore Coalition by emailing rescueandrestore@gmail.com or by calling 314-773-9090, ext 143.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, February 6, 2011

Old North Flickr Set Features Highlights from 2010

The collection of Old North photos on Flickr now includes a set dedicated to highlights from the activities and events of 2010.  Check it out by clicking here.

Some of these photos will be included in the slideshow of 2010 highlights that will happen at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper, which will start at 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, February 5, 2011

Join us Mon., Feb. 7 for Re-Scheduled Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper

We won’t let a little bit of snow get in the way of a great celebration, so please join us on Monday evening for the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting and Pot-Luck Supper at 2624 N. 14th Street.

In addition to highlighting the many achievements of 2010 and a preview of plan for the rest of 2011, ONSLRG members will elect board members for the 2011-’13 positions.  The nominations committee has proposed the following individuals for these positions:

Kelly Owens - Born & raised in this neighborhood, Kelly is raising her own family in Old North, and is a new homeowner on the 1900 block of Hebert St.  Kelly is the daughter of former long-term board member, Johnnie Owens.  She is a graduate of the UMSL Neighborhood Leadership Academy and is employed by the St Louis Public Schools.

Sean Lowery - During his time in the neighborhood as a renter on the 1400 block of Sullivan, Sean hasbeen actively attending community meetings and events such as cleanup days and the Farmer’s Market. He also has worked hard to promote community by being visible within the neighborhood and getting to know as many as his neighbors as he can, through gardening, regularly walking his dog Jake, and chatting with anyone he  meets.  Among his goals are to see the community grow closer together, for the continued growth of new endeavors in the neighborhood such as the co-op and 14th street mall.

Dave Eisenbraun - Current ONSLRG Board member; member of the Finance and Real Estate Committees; regular participant in the “Macho Action Group”; past president of ONSLRG; 33-year resident of ONSL at 1409 Sullivan; Senior Engineering Specialist, Nidec Motor Corporation.

Graham Lane - Resident of 1300 block of North Market, renovating formerly vacant building for personal residence and sculpture studio; sculptor. Current ONSLRG Board Member, Board Secretary, member of the Real Estate Committee, regular participant / coordinator of “Macho Action Group” initiatives, Planning Committee member for the Old North Grocery Co-op, and reliable volunteer for countless neighborhood projects.

As with all of ONSLRG’s meetings and events, any assistance with spreading the word to more neighbors would be greatly appreciated. For more information, please call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, January 31, 2011

Tonight’s Meeting POSTPONED 1 Week

Due to the current icy conditions - and widespread concern that we’re about to get hit with a “crippling winter storm” (as the National Weather Service calls it) - Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has canceled this evening’s planned Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper.  The gathering has been re-scheduled for NEXT MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7 at 6 p.m.

Please help us to spread the word to anyone who may have been planning to attend tonight.

Please plan to join us next Monday, Feb. 7, and in the meantime, stay safe.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reminder: Join us Monday, Jan. 31, for Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck

As you make your rounds over the weekend, please feel free to help us spread the word that the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper will take place this coming Monday, Jan. 31 at 6:00 p.m. See below for a flyer with details and gentle suggestions for the food items to bring.

Please take a look at our earlier post about this for information about a cool new project called Team Cookbook, which will be introduced at the meeting.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

After 6 Months, Still A Lot of Buzz About the Old North Grocery Co-op

The Old North Grocery Co-op has been in business now for more than six months, but it’s still getting a lot of attention as an innovative and creative way of bringing healthy and affordable foods to an area classified as a “food desert.”  The co-op and several other initiatives in Old North or affiliated with ONSLRG recently got added to the list of community wealth building models posted on Community-Wealth.org, which is billed as “the web’s most comprehensive and up-to-date information resource on state-of-the-art strategies for democratic, community-based economic development.”  The website also profiled the City of St. Louis as a Community Wealth City, with many initiatives in Old North credited as contributing to the city’s revival.

To read the whole article, click here.

Another article that put the spotlight on the Old North Grocery Co-op was published online this week by newhope360.com, “the premiere digital marketplace that connects the healthy lifestyle industry from supply to shelf.”  This feature connects the Old North approach to new interest from the federal government in the challenges of access to healthy foods in urban areas: “The Obama administration has introduced legislation to help solve the problem of ‘food deserts’.  In such communities as the Old North St. Louis neighborhood and Philadelphia, they are coming up with initiatives of their own.”

To read the full article, click here.

Meanwhile, Specialty Food Magazine’s January/February issue includes a story about the “Boom in Food Co-ops” with several references to the Old North Grocery Co-op as an example of the do-it-yourself ethic at the heart of many co-ops.

To learn more about the Old North Grocery Co-op, stop in to check it out at 2718 N. 13th Street, just south of St. Louis Avenue.  Over the past six months, the store has become a great resource for the community, but there’s still room for improvement.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for - be sure to put in your request with the staff or send a note to Sarah Kate Buckles, the manager, (email:  manager@oldnorthgrocery.com) and they’ll see what they can do for you.  And if you’d really like to show your support, there’s always room for more member-owners - just click here for details.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, January 23, 2011

ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper: Mon., Jan. 31

All members, friends, and supporters of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group are invited to join us on Monday, January 31st at 6 p.m. for ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting and Pot-Luck Supper.  One of the great community events of the year, the gathering provides an opportunity for residents and friends to come together on a cold winter evening to celebrate the warmth of the community and publicly recognize all of those who helped make the previous year so successful.

Over the past few years we’ve moved this event around to different locations in the neighborhood.  This year, we’ll be gathering at the old Sobel’s Dept. Store building at 2624 N. 14th Street, at the center of what had been the 14th Street Mall, but now at the intersection of the re-opened N. 14th Street and Montgomery.  If you haven’t taken a look at Crown Square since the redevelopment finished and the street opened, this is a great chance to get inside one of the historically rehabbed buildings at this award-winning development.

As noted on the flyer, we invite all guests to bring a dish to share and have provided some suggested guidelines for the type of dish to bring (to avoid 100 pots of spaghetti), but we encourage you to bring whatever you’d like to share or to join us even if you won’t be able to bring something.

And, speaking of food, this year’s event will feature something new.  In the late ’90s ONSLRG produced a cookbook, “Out of Old North Saint Louis Kitchens,” to collect and put the spotlight on the many great recipes created or lovingly used by Old North residents, including many reflecting the diverse cultures of the community’s population.  The cookbook has been out of print now for several years, but we were approached recently about an opportunity to use that old cookbook as a jumping off point for a new initiative that celebrates both food and community…

DISCOVER: TEAM COOKBOOK

This creative team consists of an Artist/Cultural Activist, a Museum Educator, an MSW and an Art Administrator. They love to cook, they love to eat, love to talk about food… food history, celebrations… the way food can bring people together (or drive them apart).

TEAM COOKBOOK will be collecting recipes, stories and photos from residents and providing workshops and activities inspired by food in Old North St. Louis.

You can meet the TEAM and learn more about how to get involved in the project at the Annual Meeting and Potluck on Monday, January 31.

Bring your favorite recipe, your camera and most importantly your appetite!

Give us a call at 314-241-5031 if you have any questions.  As always, we invite you to help  us spread the word and invite all of your neighbors to come on out for this wonderful community event.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, January 2, 2011

Huge Year for Old North in 2010 - Part 2

Our year-end inventory of the major events and developments in Old North during 2010 started on Friday with Part 1.  We now continue the review of what made 2010 such an eventful year with an even longer list in Part 2…

NORTH CITY FARMERS’ MARKET AMONG TOP 20 OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE FARMERS MARKETS

Although the North City Farmers’ Market had to move around a bit due to the street work along 14th Street and at the St. Louis Avenue plaza area, the 4th season of the market was still a great success.  In fact, this year friends of the North City Farmers’ Market showed the intensity of their support by logging enough votes in American Farmland Trust’s annual competition to get the North City Farmers’ Market into the top 20 list of ”America’s Favorite Farmers’ Markets” (among other markets of similar size)!  In addition to that national exposure, the market got some major air-time on July 31 when the KMOX Radio program “Mike Miller’s Garden Hotline” broadcast live from the market (as seen in the final photo below).

Special thanks go out to all of the volunteers who came out week after week to help with setting up tables and tents, staffing some of the food and information stands, taking down everything at the end of the market, and countless other chores; and to Sarah Pritchard, market master; Lucas Hudson, project coordinator at the beginning of the season until leaving to pursue a career in law enforcement; Veronica Holden, who took over as project coordinator for the rest of the season; and Ivy Tominack (seen in the 3rd photo below), who joined the team this year as nutrition education coordinator; and, of course, Missouri Foundation for Health for providing the financial support that has made it possible for us to host the past four seasons of the North City Farmers’ Market.

ARTS EVENTS AND PROGRAMMING

The Old North Gallery (sometimes referred to here as the “Crown Village Gallery”) in the space adjacent to ONSLRG’s office at 2700 N. 14th Street buzzed with arts events all year long.  ONSLRG partnered with Cinema St. Louis to bring monthly film screenings to the community, often with Q & A sessions with the films’ producers or directors (shown in the 1st photo below), and special screenings for students from Ames School and Confluence Academy (in the 2nd photo below); and Metro Theater Company to bring live performances of Delilah’s Wish.  In July, the monthly story-telling gathering called “Moth-Up” took place at our gallery.

At other times throughout the year, visitors from throughout the St. Louis area came to view exhibits at the gallery, including the professionally-curated Visionary Arts of Haiti exhibit brought to us by Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates; and a display of works by local artists Chris Ruess and Nick Riggio at the rehabbed Crown Square commercial space that once housed Sobel’s Dept. Store; events hosted by the Mayor’s Vanguard Cabinet Subcommittee on Arts and Entertainment, or the Metropolis Wine Club; the graduation celebration for the Pulitzer Foundation’s Hyde Park youth arts program (the Pulitzer is also responsible for bringing the “waving hand” images that are posted at various locations throughout the neighborhood); and for Juan Chavez’s snow cone project during the Crown Square completion street party.  Watch for more art projects from Juan in the coming year.

OTHER COMMUNITY & EDUCATIONAL EVENTS / PROGRAMS AT OLD NORTH GALLERY

In 2010, the Old North gallery space became the most popular spot in the neighborhood for meetings, parties, educational workshops, and other community gatherings.  Among the many events in the gallery this year were ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper; a finance & budgeting workshop with presenters from Bank of America; Quality of Life meetings, including presentations about neighborhood safety and MODOT’s plans for the Mississippi River Bridge and re-building the St. Louis Avenue and Madison Street overpasses; a workshop on weatherization techniques and resources; several training sessions for the Minority Contractors Initiative; a meeting of the Covidien Community Advisory Panel; the annual breakfast meeting for the Workers Rights Board; planning meetings for the Old North Grocery Co-op; an 80th birthday party; and the October of the St. Louis Beacon’s monthly “Beacon & Eggs” gatherings.

ACTIVITIES AT OLD NORTH’S COMMUNITY GARDENS & NEIGHBORHOOD BEAUTIFICATION WORK

Depending on how you define a community garden and who you ask, Old North is home to anywhere from 9 to 11 community gardens.  In any case, the gardens throughout Old North benefited from countless hours of volunteer labor from neighborhood residents and various outside groups, including service clubs from several colleges and other volunteers brought in by Operation Brightside to help with significant improvements to Wingmann Park.  The annual Brightside Blitz clean-up day in the spring brought even more help for these gardens, as well as for clean-ups at vacant lots, alleys, and streets throughout the neighborhood.  This year’s effort included extra help from Maryville University students with the planting of trees from Forest ReLeaf.

13th STREET GARDEN DESIGNATED AS A GATEWAY GREENING ”HUB GARDEN”

The community garden that saw the most activity throughout the year was the 13th Street Garden, which grows fruits and vegetables for the North City Farmers’ Market and the Old North Grocery Co-op.  Under the watchful eye of garden coordinator Veronica Holden, the garden also became home to some of Old North’s most popular new residents, the inhabitants of the 13th Street Garden Chicken Coop.  Another highlight of the year was the selection of the 13th Street Garden by Gateway Greening for designation as one of their Hub Gardens, which means additional support and investments from Gateway Greening and expanded use as a demonstration and learning space for gardeners throughout St. Louis.

NEW BUSINESSES ON 14th STREET

If attracting and retaining residents is important for a neighborhood on the way to becoming sustainable, it’s also key to attract and support businesses that make the community more walkable and economically viable. New businesses opening up on N. 14th Street included Therapy Boutique at 2717 (shown in the first two photos below), Norah Ryan’s law office (with Norah shown below, getting interviewed by Matt Sepic of St. Louis Public Radio - and the story still can be found on St. Louis Public Radio’s website by clicking HERE ), which moved from Clayton to 2708 N. 14th, and Poor Souls Society Art Gallery, which opened in December.

TOURS AND VISITS FROM FAR & WIDE

The Annual Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour in May is traditionally the biggest event of the year for ONSLRG.  This year’s tour on May 8 featured two current Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced Award”-winning projects and two Most Enhanced Award-winning homes from previous years, although the work in progress in the street along 14th Street caused a few challenges.

(Be sure to check back later for details about plans for a bigger and better tour this year, scheduled for Saturday, May 14, including the addition of a HomeGrown Street Festival on 14th Street to put the spotlight on all of the great locally produced foods and other goods from around St. Louis.)

Other groups paying a visit to the ONSLRG office for presentations and tours this year included another delegation of community development professionals from Russia (in the first photo below), members of the Retail Design Institute, attendees from a national conference for Metropolitan Planning Organizations, representatives from Federal Reserve Bank branches around the country, UM-Extension’s Community Development Academy, and classes from various programs at SLU, Washington University, UM-St. Louis, Mizzou, and Webster University.  We also welcomed several visits from former residents who came back to the progress in their old neighborhood.

BECOMING A MORE BIKE-ABLE & WALKABLE COMMUNITY

In 2010 we hosted several steering committee and community planning meetings for the Bikeable/Walkable Old North Master Plan, spear-headed by Trailnet and their planning consultants, and in October, the last of the year’s Open Streets came through Old North, with Crown Square serving as one of the major activity hubs.

NEW BOOK HIGHLIGHTS REVITALIZATION IN OLD NORTH

Andrew Hurley, chair of the UM-St. Louis History Dept., has put Old North in the spotlight with his new book, Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities, which was published in May by Temple University Press.  The book is available for purchase through a major online retailer, but you might want to start by checking with one of our local, independent booksellers, such as Left Bank Books, just a mile south of Old North in Downtown St. Louis.

OTHER EVENTS INITIATED BY NEIGHBORS

A lot of outsiders take note of the highly visible physical transformation that has taken place with many of the neighborhood’s historically rehabbed properties, but the real evidence of the Old North’s revitalization is in the incredibly active people who call Old North home.  Among the events initiated and coordinated by Old North residents this year included a lively and well-attended National Night Out celebration on N. 19th Street in August and a great Halloween party and trick-or-treating event in October.

One of the year’s best demonstrations of neighbors supporting each other was the successful campaign to mobilize enough votes to help Graham & Viveca Lane win the KSHE-95 Great Green Yard Giveaway contest. The Lanes may have won the contest, but the whole community benefits from the investments that have brought major improvements to the corner of 13th and North Market.

Thanks again to all who helped make all of the above happen.  Stay tuned for much more to come, and plan to join us on Monday, January 31st for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting and Pot-Luck Supper where we’ll provide a preview of some of our plans for 2011.

Happy New Year!

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, December 31, 2010

Huge Year for Old North in 2010 - Part 1

With a couple hours left to celebrate the accomplishments of 2010… and to make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work into 2011 (as noted in the previous post, with a link to our online contributions page), this is as good a time as any to review some of the events and activities of this unbelievably busy year.

NEW RESIDENTS

One of the keys to becoming a sustainable and thriving community is attracting and retaining residents.  It’ll be a while before we get neighborhood-level details from the 2010 Census, but we do know that Old North welcomed at least 80 new households to the neighborhood this past year, including new tenants at recently completed Crown Square Apartments; homebuyers who moved into the 17 Habitat for Humanity-built homes on Dodier, Sullivan, and Hebert; and other homebuyers who purchased houses throughout the neighborhood, from North Market to St. Louis Avenue to Hebert.

CROWN SQUARE COMPLETION & RE-OPENING OF 14th STREET

While some of the residential apartments at Crown Square were finished and occupied by the end of 2009, the rest of the apartments, the sidewalks, trees, bike racks, street lights, and the new street were completed at various points throughout 2010, giving us reason to celebrate something new almost every other month.

Although the street didn’t officially open until the end of October - after the street lights were installed, we held our ribbon-cutting and grand opening street festival on July 29.  The film crew from Marvo Entertainment recorded the event for a future production that eventually will air on PBS stations across the country.  Until then, a short clip from the occasion can be viewed online at Marvo Entertainment Group’s website.

Landmarks Association of St. Louis and the National Trust for Historic Preservation gave us even more reasons to celebrate Crown Square when they presented awards to ONSLRG and our development partners at the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance for our work on Crown Square.  Landmarks presented us with one of their “Most Enhanced Awards” in May (along with one to Old North residents Nico & Nicole Leone, shown in the middle photo below, for the historic rehab of their home on Wright Street) and the National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation was presented to staff from ONSLRG and RHCDA at the National Preservation Conference in October.

OLD NORTH GROCERY CO-OP OPENED FOR BUSINESS

Old North’s growing population brings with it a greater demand for neighborhood goods and services and other amenities, as well as an increased supply of customers for neighborhood businesses.  To accommodate this demand, and in response to the expressed desires of long-time community residents, ONSLRG initiated efforts to establish a grocery store for Old North and surrounding neighborhoods.  After many months of planning and community meetings, and investment of thousands of hours of volunteer effort to get the building at 2718 N. 13th Street in shape to serve as a grocery store - and support from more people and groups than can be listed here (although UM-Extension, Missouri Foundation for Health, Ken Kranzberg, Kaemmerlen Electric, and IBEW electricians deserve special acknowledgment), the Old North Grocery Co-op opened for business on July 17.

Volunteers from groups such as Students Today-Leaders Forever (mostly from John Carroll University who spent part of their spring break with us), St. Louis area Yale University alumni and current students (who came out for this year’s Yale Day of Service), and students from St. Louis University and Washington University worked side by side with dozens of neighborhood residents and friends of Old North who carried out interior demo, new wall construction, painting, shelf assembly, and countless other tasks for much of the first half of 2010.

 

 

In addition to bringing healthy and affordable foods to Old North, the grocery co-op also brought a lot of outside attention to good things going on in the community.  Among those reporting on the developments in Old North, National Public Radio aired a story about the co-op on NPR stations all over the country.  Click HERE for a link to the NPR page where you can read the transcript or listen to the report by Veronique LaCapra of St. Louis Public Radio.

RE-DEDICATION OF HEBERT STREET GARDEN AS JOHNNIE OWENS GARDEN

We were greatly saddened by the passing of our great friend and longtime ONSLRG board member Johnnie Owens in September, but a few weeks earlier we were able to let Johnnie know how much she meant to all of us when we re-dedicated the Hebert Street Community Garden as a lasting tribute to Johnnie’s many contributions to the community.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2, with images and details about…

-ARTS EVENTS AND OTHER PROGRAMS AT OLD NORTH GALLERY

 

 

-NORTH CITY FARMERS’ MARKET AMONG TOP 20 OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE FARMERS MARKETS

-SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITY GARDENS & DESIGNATION OF 13th STREET GARDEN AS GATEWAY GREENING ”HUB GARDEN”

-NEW BUSINESSES ON 14th STREET

-TOURS AND VISITS FROM FAR & WIDE

-NEW BOOK HIGHLIGHTS REVITALIZATION IN OLD NORTH

In the meantime, have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year - & a Year-End Invitation

As we reflect on the events and achievements of the past year, this is also the time of year that many not-for-profit organizations make an appeal to their supporters to make contributions to continue their good work throughout the new year.  As a non-profit organization, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group also relies on support from its members, partners and friends to carry out the work of revitalizaing the physical and social dimensions of Old North.  So, if you’d like to include us in your charitable, tax deductible contributions for 2010, you still have a few hours left.

To make an online contribution to ONSLRG, just click here and you’ll be taken to the page on the ONSL.org website.

Stay tuned for a post later with details about the incredibly eventful year.  Until then, we extend our best wishes for a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Greetings from Old North St. Louis

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing over the holidays, we wish you all the best for a safe, peaceful, and happy season of appreciating the gifts of friends, family, and loved ones!  Although Old North is considered a warm and friendly community, we’re pleased that this time of year we can accommodate some rather cool visitors.

Thanks to Thom Fletcher for sharing this photo with us.

Photo by Stefene Russell; thanks to Thom Fletcher for sharing it with us.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, December 12, 2010

Scenes from a Snowy Day in Old North

It was a bit chilly and windy, but the fresh snow created the perfect conditions for a scenic winter stroll through Old North.

Crown Square, looking up N. 14th Street from Warren

Crown Square, looking up N. 14th Street from Warren

The office of Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group at the corner of N. 14th and Warren.

The office of Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group at the corner of N. 14th and Warren.

Looking up N. 14th toward Crown Candy Kitchen at St. Louis Avenue.

Looking up N. 14th toward Crown Candy Kitchen at St. Louis Avenue.

A home on Dodier decorated for the holidays.

A home on Dodier decorated for the holidays.

New owner-occupied homes recently built by Habitat for Humanity on Hebert.

New owner-occupied homes recently built by Habitat for Humanity on Hebert.

Just a few years ago this nicely rehabbed home on N. 19th Street was a collapsing, city-owned shell.

Just a few years ago this nicely rehabbed home on N. 19th Street was a collapsing, city-owned shell.

Hebert Community Garden, now dedicated to Johnnie Owens.

Hebert Community Garden, now dedicated to Johnnie Owens.

The 1400 block of Hebert.

The 1400 block of Hebert.

Looking toward the 2800 block of N. 14th at Wright.

Looking toward the 2800 block of N. 14th at Wright.

14th and Wright.

14th and Wright.

Looking down the 2700 block of N. 14th.

Looking down the 2700 block of N. 14th.

The Old North Grocery Co-op at St. Louis Avenue and N. 13th Street.

The Old North Grocery Co-op at St. Louis Avenue and N. 13th Street.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Enjoy the Holiday Film, “The Preacher’s Wife,” 7 p.m. Fri. at Old North Gallery

On Friday evening (Dec. 10) at 7 p.m., Cinema St. Louis will bring their December installment of their Old North St. Louis Screening Series to the Old North Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street.  This month’s film is a holiday classic, “The Preacher’s Wife,” which stars Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington in a story about making a difference in a troubled community.

 

This film is free and open to the public.  The Old North Screening Series is a co-presentation of Cinema St. Louis and Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and is made possible through a grant from the Kresge Foundation, the Arts and Education Council and the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation.  For more information, call ONSLRG at 314-241-5031.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, December 3, 2010

Therapy Boutique’s Grand Opening Celebration Tonight

Crown Square’s newest retail establishment, Therapy Boutique at 2717 N. 14th Street, will hold its Grand Opening Celebration tonight from 7-10 p.m.  All items in the store will be 30% off as part of this special occasion.

Come on by to show your support for the store’s owner, Ebony Wilson, and find out why this store is “where shopping relieves tension, stress and all that other mess!”

LEAVE A COMMENT
Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Shopping Options in Old North

Many decades ago, the North 14th Street commercial corridor was one of the most active shopping spots in town.  Now you can do some traditional Black Friday shopping in Old North St. Louis once again.  By avoiding the unruly crowds at the big box stores and traffic jams in and out of parking lots at mega-malls, you can support local businesses and help invest in Old North’s revitalization at the same time.

Shopping in Old North not only is more peaceful and good for the spirit, the options are good too:

Therapy Fashion Boutique at 2717 N. 14th Street is the newest business at Crown Square, just across St. Louis Avenue from Crown Candy Kitchen.  With stylish new dresses and accessories, it’s the perfect place for gifts for the women in your life.  For more about Therapy, take a look at our previous post about the store’s opening last month.

The Urban Studio Cafe at 2815 N. 14th Street has much more than its usual good coffee, sandwiches, and pastries today. 

 As the flyer below notes, you can pick up gifts from local crafters and get a free cup of coffee today with the purchase of a baked good.

 

Old North Grocery Co-op at 2713 N. 13th Street also offers unique options for Christmas gifts.  While the fresh produce and baked items on the shelves probably won’t last until December 25, many other items in the store would do just fine, including bags of whole bean coffee from Chauvin Coffee, salsas and pasta sauces from Chef Mel’s, packaged pastas, dried fruit, and other edible items.

Crown Candy Kitchen is always a good source for chocolates and other sweet stuff.  And since they sell gift certificates, their goods make great stocking stuffers and can be enjoyed all year long.

And let’s not forget that merchandise from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group can make great gifts, as well.  Although today is an office holiday, ONSLRG’s online shop is open 24/7 - and is always just a click away.  Unique gift options include Old North t-shirts, mugs, stickers, or even a contribution in the name of a loved one.

  

LEAVE A COMMENT
Monday, November 22, 2010

A Weekend of Art at the Old North Gallery

On Friday night, the Old North Gallery hosted the opening reception for the Visionary Arts of Haiti exhibit, sponsored by Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates.

On Saturday, visitors were able to enjoy a gallery talk by curator Laurie Beasley, who shared the stories of the artists who produced the works on exhibit.   The exhibit can be viewed through Dec. 17 during Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office hours, 9-5 Monday through Friday.

Earlier on Friday, the same gallery space played host to the Cinema St. Louis screening of the documentary, Inauguration Road, for students from schools in Old North.  Friday’s audience of students from Confluence Academy enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the film with director Lynelle White.   

The busload of students from Confluence Academy arrived just as Carson Minnow and Sam Coffey were taping a future video segment about Crown Square for MayorSlay.com. 

Above: Lynelle White takes a question from one of the students at Friday’s screening.

Screenings also took place in the gallery on Monday and Wednesday for students from Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Join us Friday for Visionary Arts of Haiti Opening Reception

Join us this Friday for the opening reception of the latest exhibit at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s in-house gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street.  The reception for ”Visionary Arts of Haiti” will begin at 6:30 p.m. and continue until 8:30 p.m. “Visionary Arts of Haiti,” a three week exhibit of Haitian art, will include steel sculptures, flags, primitive paintings and masks.  The Exhibit is curated by Laurie Beasley of Ridge Art Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, and is sponsored by the Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates.

The Exhibition is free to the public. Laurie Beasley will deliver a Gallery Talk on Saturday, November 20 at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to come and shop early for the holidays.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Saturday, November 6, 2010

St. Louis Avenue Overpass Re-Opens

The St. Louis Avenue overpass spanning Interstate 70 is open once again after many months of re-construction which made it challenging to get into Old North from the east.  On Friday, representatives from the Missouri Dept. of Transportation, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept., and Fred Weber Construction Co., along with staffers from the offices of Mayor Slay, Congressman Clay, Senator McCaskill, and Senator Bond participated in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting in the middle of the new St. Louis Avenue overpass.  The new bridge, complete with ornamental railings and light fixtures and sidewalks protected by concrete barriers, crosses over Interstate 70 between 10th and 11th Streets.  The overpass is the primary entry point into Old North for residents and visitors who exit westbound I-70 at the Madison exit (which actually feeds into N. 10th Street up to St. Louis Avenue).

The aerial image below is from the website for the new Mississippi River Bridge project, with a yellow oval at the overpass location.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Winter Weatherization Workshop Scheduled for Thurs., Nov. 11

Habitat for Humanity-Saint Louis, along with Missouri Botanical Gardens’ EarthWays Center and Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, will host a winter weatherization workshop on Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Old North St. Louis Restortion Group’s gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.  See below for details - and help us spread the word to any neighbors with old houses in need of weatherizing before the temperatures get much colder.  Click HERE for a downloadable PDF of the flyer that can be printed and posted elsewhere or passed along to your neighbors.

The workshop is free and open to the public.  As the flyer indicates, the first 50 attendees will receive a free package of weather stripping.

3COMMENTS
Monday, November 1, 2010

Fourteenth Street is OPEN for Driving and Parking

As of this past weekend, you are free to drive up and down the 2600 and 2700 blocks of North 14th Street in Old North St. Louis.  While the actual opening to traffic may feel a bit anticlimactic after the big celebration on July 29th, the cars on the street provide yet another piece of evidence that 14th Street is a real street once again. 

Come on by to take a look and drive down the street.  Feel free to park on the street or in the spacious, off-street parking lot behind the buildings along the east side of the street - and then enjoy a nice, leisurely walk along the two blocks to admire the award-winning, historically rehabbed and architecturally significant buildings that line the 2600 and 2700 blocks.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Neighbors Plan Old North Halloween Route & Activities

Further proof of the vitality of community life in Old North St. Louis:  Old North residents have taken the initiative to start a new neighborhood tradition with a plan for a Halloween evening of trick or treating at more than two dozen homes, businesses, and community gathering places.  Among the stops on the map are the 13th Street Community Garden, Old North Grocery Co-op, and the Urban Studio Cafe.  From 5-7 p.m. on Sunday evening, the children of the neighborhood will get a chance to collect some treats while the parents, guardians, and other adults will get a chance to get out for a walk through the neighborhood and to see more of their neighbors.

See below for the flyer that is being distributed to neighbors throughout Old North.  Please pass this along to any neighbors who might have missed receiving a flyer at their home:

 

1COMMENT
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Crown Square to Receive National Preservation Award

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced today that the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance will receive the National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation for the Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall.

The National Trust will recognize the Crown Square development and present the award at their National Preservation Conference in Austin, Texas, next week.  The announcement of the awards to be presented next week has been posted on the National Trust’s website and includes the following assessment from Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“In Old North Saint Louis, there’s a new spirit of achievement and optimisim.  The rehabilitation of this vibrant, diverse neighborhood is creating jobs, spurring additional revitalization and demonstrating there’s no building that’s more green or more sustainable than a historic building given new life.”

For more information about the award, click on the following link to the webite of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The story has already started receiving coverage from local media, including a report by Rachel Lippmann on St. Louis Public Radio, and an article in the St. Louis Beacon.  

Among the reasons that the Crown Square redevelopment has been attracting national attention is the fact that many of the buildings were crumbling into the street before being rescued and transformed into attractive spaces that now provide mixed-income housing for 80 households and providing commericial / retail spaces that are attracting new businesses to serve the community.

2423 Blair before redevelopment.

2423 Blair after redevelopment.

2423 Blair after redevelopment.

2712 N. 14th before redevelopment.

2712 N. 14th after redevelopment.

2712 N. 14th after redevelopment.

2601-2607 N. 14th Street before redevelopment.

2601-2607 N. 14th Street before redevelopment.

2601-2607 N. 14th after redevelopment.

2601-2607 N. 14th after redevelopment.

2822-2830 N. 14th before redevelopment.

2822-2830 N. 14th before redevelopment.

2820-2830 N. 14th Street after redevelopment.

2820-2830 N. 14th Street after redevelopment.

Just about all of the 27 historically rehabbed buildings have been finished for more than a year now, but the 2600 and 2700 blocks of N. 14th Street haven’t been opened to automobile traffic yet because the street lights aren’t installed yet.  Today, however, installation of the light poles began, which means the street will be opened, once and for all, in the very near future!  Some of these posts are visible in the photo at the top of this post but can be seen better in the photo below.  Stay tuned for more news on that front.

LEAVE A COMMENT
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday at 1 p.m. is 2nd Performance of Delilah’s Wish at Old North Gallery

A full house at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Crown Village Gallery enjoyed a peformance yesterday of Delilah’s Wish.  The 50-minute play, starring and written by Mariah Richardson, is a production of Metro Theater Company and deals with issues of community, diversity, and grappling with the fact that not everybody sees the world in the same way.  It’s a moving story that appeals to young and not-so-young audiences.  Come on out today for another performance at 1 p.m.  The play is free and takes place at 2700 N. 14th Street, in the heart of Crown Square, with plenty of off-street parking behind the building.

Mariah spent time after the performance answering questions from the audience.

Mariah spent time after the performance answering questions from the audience.

LEAVE A COMMENT