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Archive for April, 2010

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Celebration of Curbs!

Starting at 6 a.m. this morning, an army of yellow and orange vests descended upon the former 14th Street Mall to put in the new curbs along the two block stretch of N. 14th Street and the portion of Montgomery Street bisecting the former mall.   In less than 12 hours, the outlines of the new street were set in concrete.

Today's work involved a phenomenal piece of heavy machinery that molds a perfectly smooth curb.

The day is almost over... and now all we need is some pavement to make N. 14th Street into a real street once again.

The day is almost over... and now all we need is some pavement to make N. 14th Street into a real street once again.

Stay tuned for more news from the street.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Old North House & Community Tour Less Than 2 Weeks Away

The annual Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour is rapidly approaching, so start spreading the word and make plans to join us for a celebration of the dramatic community transformation in progress throughout Old North.  Scheduled for Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this year’s tour will highlight the soon-to-be-completed redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall (including commercial and residential spaces in historically rehabbed buildings at Crown Square), community gardens, the future Old North Grocery Co-op, and several historic homes.  The residential spaces on the tour represent the range of housing styles available in Old North, including a work in progress rehab of a former LRA building, an adaptive re-use of a former warehouse, rental apartments, and two properties that have been recognized with ”Most Enhanced” awards from Landmarks Association.  Click on the following link: oldnorthhouseandcommunitytourflyerfinal to download a PDF version of this flyer, and please pass it along to all who are interested in neighborhood revitalization, historic preservation, community-based development.

Tickets for the tour are available for purchase at $10 in advance (in person from ONSLRG’s office or the Urban Studio Cafe) or online, at the House Tour page on the ONSL website (where you can also learn about volunteer opportunities at the tour).  On the day of the tour, tickets will be available at $12 from the registration and information tent at the southwest corner of St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street (across from Crown Candy Kitchen).  For more information, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weekends are Made for Community-Building in Old North

A few years ago the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described Old North St. Louis Restoration Group as a “super-charged community organization.”  If that was the case in 2006, then the activities of recent weekends would suggest that the community has become even more “super-charged” over the past couple of years.

The highlight of this past weekend was a gathering of neighborhood residents and outside friends who assembled for an update on the plans for the Old North Grocery Co-op, which is scheduled to open in late June.  But this meeting wasn’t a simple presentation on the progress to date; the occasion provided an opportunity for the co-op’s planning committee to invite others to join in the work of the various task groups that are working on preparing the building for opening, identifying products to offer, refining the membership structure, and crafting an outreach strategy.

The product selection work group had a lively discussion about the food and non-food items neighbors would like to see in the grocery co-op.

The product selection work group had a lively discussion about the food and non-food items neighbors would like to see in the grocery co-op.

Stefene and Lucas report back to the whole group about the ideas from the outreach work group.

Stefene and Lucas report back to the whole group about the ideas from the outreach work group.

ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa reviewed some of the next steps necessary to get us to opening day in June.

ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa reviewed some of the next steps necessary to get us to opening day in June.

The Old North Grocery Co-op Planning Committee will meet on Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. to review the recommendations and status reports from the different work groups.  The Building Prep work group will gather at the co-op building (2718 N. 13th) this coming Saturday, April 24th at 10 a.m. for another work day in the building (and anybody willing to pitch in would be welcome!); the Product Selection work group will meet on Thursday the 22nd in the 13th Street garden; the Outreach task group will meet on Monday, April 26th at 6 p.m. at the ONSLRG office; and the Membership Structure task group will meet this evening, Tuesday, April 20th at 7 p.m.  All task groups are open to anyone who wants to participate in making the Old North Grocery Co-op a great amenity for all residents of Old North and other nearby neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, a lot of hard work has gone into sprucing up the green spaces and public areas of Old North.  On Saturday, April 10, residents and volunteers from outside the neighborhood fanned out to clean up the empty lots, alleys, community gardens, and streets of the neighborhood as part of the annual Operation Brightside blitz day.

Volunteers gathered at the Hebert Garden to get their work assignments.

Volunteers gathered at the Hebert Garden to get their work assignments.

Tom Bratkowski shows off some of the 10 trees from Forest ReLeaf that were planted in the Hebert garden by Maryville students.

Tom Bratkowski shows off some of the 10 trees from Forest ReLeaf that were planted in the Hebert garden by Maryville students.

Some of the volunteers were from St. Louis University's Filipino Student Association.

Some of the volunteers were from St. Louis University

Other volunteers came from Washington University.

Other volunteers came from Washington University.

Susan Tschetter and crew cleaned up an alley behind North Market.

Susan Tschetter and crew cleaned up an alley behind North Market.

Between the continuing work on the Old North Grocery Co-op, the North City Farmers’ Market (which opens its 4th season on Sat., June 5), and the annual Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour on Saturday, May 8, there will be plenty more opportunities to get involved with the community’s ongoing revitalization efforts.  Give us a call at 314-241-5031 to learn more.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

ONSLRG’s Spring Newsletter is Now Online!

The Spring 2010 edition of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s newsletter is ready for your viewing pleasure.  Click on the image below to download your own copy.

Previous attempts to get our newsletter up on our website have been thwarted due to its large file size — but those kinks have been worked out.  We’ll be working on getting past editions up soon.  In addition to the link above, the current issue can be found our our website on the “About Us” page.

Feel free to pass this along to others who may be interested in learning more about the revitalization in progress in Old North — and please come out and join us for the many upcoming events announced in the newsletter.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Joy of Community Building - Neighbors Pitch In at 13th Street Garden & Future Co-op Building

For those who doubt that sustainable neighborhood transformation can happen on a grassroots level, a visit to Old North St. Louis this morning would have provided enough evidence to turn any skeptic into a believer.  Although a large chunk of cash would be helpful, Old North residents are contributing some of the key elements of thriving communities that money can’t buy:  determination, commitment, passion, and sweat equity.  The return on this investment: visible, physical improvements and a stronger sense of community.

Armed wih work gloves, goggles, rakes, shovels, and sledge hammers, residents of Old North headed to the 13th Street Community Garden and the building that will house the Old North Grocery Co-op.  While the younger participants played ball, rode bikes, and occasionally helped plant a seed or two, the more mature volunteers took on a broad range of tasks related to cultivating and tending the garden that will produce fresh vegetables and fruit for the North City Farmers’ Market and dinner tables throughout the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, inside the building in the background in the photo above, the “Macho Action Group” was busy preparing the space to accommodate the Old North Grocery Co-op…

Work will continue in the garden throughout the spring and summer all the way through final harvest in October.  As the photos above suggest, there still is a lot of work to finish prepping the co-op building. To volunteer for future garden and building improvement days, call the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Informational Meeting about Old North Grocery Co-op Scheduled for Sat., April 17

The image above is from a flyer prepared for the April 17 community meeting.

The image above is from a flyer prepared for the April 17 community meeting.

On Saturday, April 17 at 9 a.m., ONSLRG will host an informational meeting about plans for the Old North Grocery Co-op for residents of Old North St. Louis and surrounding neighborhoods, and anyone else interested in helping with this new initiative.  Members of the grocery co-op’s planning committee will share what they’ve been working on and invite any other interested parties to join in the necessary work to get the store open for business by the end of June.  So, if you have ideas to share or just want to get more information, please join us on April 17.

Click here for a PDF-version of the flyer for the meeting - and feel free to pass the word along to anyone else interested in this community-based approach to improving the neighborhood’s access to healthy and affordable foods and other locally-produced goods.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Dynamic Neighborhood

Looking down N. 13th Street

Looking down N. 13th Street

Old North was abuzz with activity all around the neighborhood.  The following are just some of the sites and scenes on this beautiful, sunny, April day.

Heidi Sever answering questions from Ben in the Old North Authorized Census Assistance Center.  The answer is, "no, dogs should not be listed on your census form."

Heidi Sever answering questions from Ben in the Old North Authorized Census Assistance Center. The answer is, "no, dogs should not be counted on your Census form."

More sidewalk work in front of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group's office.

More sidewalk work in front of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group's office.

Archie has been keeping a close watch on the construction from the front door of his barber shop.

Archie has been keeping a close watch on the construction from the front door of his barber shop.

The construction provided entertainment for the people in line at Crown Candy Kitchen.

The construction provided entertainment for the people in line at Crown Candy Kitchen.

The line for chocolate bunnies and lunch was out the door at Crown Candy for most of today (and over the past several weeks).  You've only got a couple more days before Easter.

The line for chocolates and lunch was out the door at Crown Candy for most of today (and over the past several weeks). You've only got a couple more days to get your chocolate bunnies, frogs or monkeys for Easter.

It's a little easier to get a table at the Urban Studio Cafe.

It's a little easier to get a table at the Urban Studio Cafe, where the atmosphere is more relaxed.

There's enough business to keep Louise busy, though.

There's enough business to keep Louise happy, though.

Work is progressing at the Habitat for Humanity homes along 1900 Hebert and Sullivan.

Work is progressing at the Habitat for Humanity homes along 1900 Hebert and Sullivan.

And Graham is hard at work on his home on North Market.

And Graham is hard at work on his home on North Market.

WHAT'S NEW IN OLD NORTH

Welcome to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group's blog. What's New in Old North chronicles the dramatic transformation under way in the neighborhood of Old North St. Louis. As a neighborhood just north of Downtown St. Louis, Old North is becoming a dynamic urban village of new and historic homes, a landmark eating establishment, beautiful community gardens, and a diverse, friendly, and engaged community.

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