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Archive for July, 2010

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

An Action-Packed Week in the Heart of a Dynamic Community

We barely had time to recover from celebrating the opening of the Old North Grocery Co-op when we had to shift gears to tend to some other events and activities in the core of what is becoming the busiest neighborhood in the city.  A few illustrations of the dynamic pace of life in Old North this week:

Tuesday, July 27

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group welcomed the Metropolis Wine Club to the gallery at ONSLRG’s office.  Many of these visitors enjoyed their first glimpses of the development that has been transforming Old North in recent years, including Crown Square. 

Thursday, July 29

Crown Square Ribbon-Cutting Celebration and Street Party.  This event warrants its own post, so check back for more scenes from that big day that was years in the making.

Friday, July 30

Cinema St. Louis brought another installment of its monthly screening series to Old North St. Louis.  This month’s feature: The Rink, a locally produced documentary about roller rinks in African American communities.  The event included a lively Q & A session with director Ron (”G Whiz”) Butts and other roller skating stars profiled in the film.

Saturday, July 31

Mike Miller of the Garden Hotline broadcasting from the North City Farmers' Market

Mike Miller of the Garden Hotline broadcasting from the North City Farmers

The North City Farmers’ Market enjoyed some good media exposure as KMOX radio broadcast its weekly Garden Hotline show live from the market. 

 

The band Wack-a-Doo contributed to the positive vibes at the North City Farmers’ Market, on the plaza at the St. Lous Avenue end of Crown Square.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Join Us for the Big Day at Crown Square Today

After years of talk, planning, re-planning, exploring resources, community meetings, more planning, acquiring properties, conducting feasibility studies, holding more community meetings, more planning, construction work, enduring countless questions about when is it ever going to be finished, and a lot of other hard work that defies categorization….

Crown Square is finally ready to host a really big party!

To help set the stage for today’s ribbon-cutting celebration (starting at 4 p.m.) and the street party that will follow, St. Louis Public Radio aired a good report by Matt Sepic about the redevelopment and posted some great photos on their website.  You can listen to the story - or read it if you prefer - by clicking HERE.

And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a good front-page story by Diane Keaggy about the efforts to cultivate a thriving arts-friendly atmosphere in Old North.  You can read that story online - and also see some good photos of the fresh pavement in the street - by clicking HERE.

As noted in the Post-Dispatch article, among the activities at this evening’s street festival will be a snow cone performance by artist Juan William Chavez.  We’re not quite sure what that means - so you’ll have to come out and see for yourselves - but it sounds refreshing on a hot day.

Thank you again to all who made this day possible, and please join Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance in thanking all of them in person at the ribbon-cutting and street party this afternoon at 4 p.m.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We Now Have a Street for Thursday’s Street Party!

For those of you who were wondering how we could have a street party without a street, worry no more.

The work on the street once again is fascinating residents and visitors alike.

The work on the street once again is fascinating residents and visitors alike.

Tourists with cameras have found a new stop on their sightseeing tours.

Tourists with cameras have found a new stop on their sightseeing tours.

And now Crown Candy's staff won't have to answer their customers' questions about when the street is coming.

And now Crown Candy's staff won't have to answer their customers' questions about when the street is coming.

If you would like to download the invitation for Thursday’s big event, click HERE for that… and please forward to all in your contacts file.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Previews of What Will Be Celebrated at Thursday’s Crown Square Ribbon-Cutting

As noted in Friday’s post about the Crown Square ribbon-cutting, we’re planning a big celebration this Thursday, July 29, to mark the completion of the $35 million, 27-building redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall.  To get in the mood for the big day, we’re offering a few previews and a look back at how some of these buildings have changed over the years.

The Crown Square redevelopment includes new landscaping between buildings and in public spaces.

The Crown Square redevelopment includes new landscaping between buildings and in public spaces.

The pathway shown above leads to the buildings at 2607 and 2611 N. 14th, which have come a long way over the past few decades.

Above: the buildings at 2607 through 2611 N. 14th have benefited from full historic rehabilitation after years of abandonment and deterioration.

2607 through 2611 N. 14th in 2006.

2607 through 2611 N. 14th in 2006.

2607 through 2611 N. 14th in 2008.

2607 through 2611 N. 14th in 2008.

Join us on Thursday at 4 p.m. as we celebrate positive changes that have taken place at all 27 buildings and throughout the whole Crown Square redevelopment area.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Crown Square Ribbon-Cutting & Street Festival: Thurs., July 29

Now that we’ve recovered from last weekend’s ribbon-cutting for the Old North Grocery Co-op, we’re gearing up for an even bigger celebration on Thursday, July 29.  On that day, we will mark the completion of the $35 million Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall.  So, START SPREADING THE NEWS

All 27 buildings have been historically rehabbed; new sidewalks are in; street trees have been planted, and the pavement on the street WILL be here any day now.  Join us for the street party several years in the making on Thursday, July 29th from 4-8 p.m. Click HERE to download your own PDF of the invitation to this exciting event, and send it on to everybody you know who might be interested and anyone who cares about historic preservation, sustainable development, and transformative, community-based neighborhood revitalization.

We’ve said it here many times before, but it bears repeating now that the redevelopment is just about complete:  Crown Square offers one-of-a-kind, historically rehabbed commercial and residential spaces in the heart of a dynamic community in the midst of a dramatic transformation.  The street festival on July 29th would be a great opportunity to get a first-hand glimpse of the remarkable spaces and the overall spirit of the community.  If you’d like to learn more about what’s available before then, click HERE for a downloadable flyer about the commercial spaces (and contact information for the commercial brokers at Duffe-Nuernberger) or click HERE for a downloadable flyer about the residential spaces (and contact information for the leasing agents at Cohen-Esrey).  We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, July 29th!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

More Media Coverage & Photos from Saturday’s Grocery Co-op Opening

Manager Sarah Kate Buckles works the cash register while Curtis (in the white t-shirt and cap on the left) prepares to help customers with their bags.

Manager Sarah Kate Buckles works the cash register while Curtis (in the white t-shirt and cap on the left) prepares to help customers with their bags.

Our post on Saturday evening included a sampling of photos from the Old North Grocery Co-op’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration.  Our full collection of photos from the big day can now be seen on the Old North St. Louis Flickr page

We also received great coverage about the store on St. Louis Public Radio (click HERE to listen to the story by Veronique LaCapra that aired on St. Louis Public Radio), as well as from the St. Louis Beacon (read that article here, where you also can see some good photos).  KMOV-Channel 4’s report Saturday night provided good visuals of the event and the crowd packing the store (and we’ll have a link to that here soon).  That story followed on the heels of Channel 4’s Good News 4 a Change segment that aired last Thursday, prior to the opening.

In addition to improving access to healthier food options for Old North residents, the very presence of the Old North Grocery Co-op already is making the neighborhood a more desirable place to live.  On Saturday afternoon we received an email from a resident of Chesterfield who recently found a job in downtown.  This person said:

“I’m looking to live close to where I work (so I can decrease my carbon footprint by not having to commute to work), and I’m looking for a neighborhood where there is a sense of community–where I can spend a good portion of my time outside of my apartment, doing neighborhood gardening, hanging out in a local coffeeshop, buying locally-grown groceries at a local store, hanging out at a park.  And, where the rent is not too expensive.  Old North looks kind of like it has that.”

We couldn’t have said it much better than that.  Thanks again to all who helped us launch the Old North Grocery Co-op and who are making Old North become a sustainable, desirable community that is open and welcoming to all.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Scenes from Today’s Ribbon-Cutting at Old North Grocery Co-op

A great crowd came out to celebrate the opening day of the Old North Grocery Co-op at 2718 N. 13th Street.  Despite the blazing heat outside, neighborhood residents and visitors from throughout the city seemed to enjoy the momentous occasion and were thrilled to see the neighborhood’s newest amenity.

The store earned an “A” rating from the City’s health inspector.

Even before the official ribbon-cutting, visitors took advantage of the opportunity to tour the store and check out the groceries stocking the shelves.

Even before the official ribbon-cutting, visitors took advantage of the opportunity to tour the store and check out the groceries stocking the shelves.

Today’s opening could not have happened without a lot of help and support from many sources who deserved public recognition for the role they played in bringing about this one-of-a-kind community & consumer-owned business.  The long list of key partners and funders (including Missouri Foundation for Health and the Greater St. Louis Regional Empowerment Zone) were acknowledged while the crowd waited patiently in the shade of tents set up for the occasion. 

Alderwoman April Ford Griffin helped secure a facade improvement grant which will make it possible for a ramp to be built to the new front door.

Alderwoman April Ford Griffin helped secure a facade improvement grant which will make it possible for a ramp to be built to the new front door.

Among those cutting the ribbon were (from left) Beverly Coberly & Kara Lubischer of University of Missouri Extension; Tino Ochoa and Sean Thomas of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group; 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin; Tara Buckner of the Greater St. Louis Regional Empowerment Zone; Rusty Lee of Lee Farms; Ken & Nancy Kranzberg, who bought the building and made it available for this project; Missouri Dept. of Agriculture Director, Dr. Jon Hagler;  Joe Palm, chief of the Office of Minority Health at the Missouir Dept. of Health & Senior Services; Charles Bryson, City of St. Louis Director of Public Safety; and Melba Moore, City of St. Louis Commissioner of Health.

We didn’t get any clear shots of store manager Sarah Kate Buckles because a constant stream of customers at the check out counter kept blocking good views of her.   Despite the chaos of an opening day and occasional technology glitches, Sarah Kate found a way to make the first day of a business a great success - and even recruited her husband and other relatives to help out all day.

Thank you to all who made the day possible - and contributed so much time and energy over many months of planning and building preparation, especially over the past couple weeks.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ribbon-Cutting TODAY! for Old North Grocery Co-op

Today is the big day for the community-wide celebration of the Old North Grocery Co-op’s grand opening.  Come on out at 12:30 for the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon and do some shopping for good, fresh foods and other grocery items.

If you come early, you can visit the North City Farmers’ Market, which is set up on N. 14th Street again until noon (as it will continue to be every Saturday morning through Oct. 16). 

We’ve attracted a good amount of interest in the co-op well beyond the borders of Old North.  Here’s how the media and other sources have been telling the story:

Post-Dispatch article this morning: Food Oasis Will Spring to Life Today

St. Louis Globe-Democrat.com: Grocery Co-op Ribbon-Cutting Saturday in St. Louis

Missouri Dept. of Agriculture: Celebrating Something New in Old North

Fox 2 Morning Show

KMOV Channel 4’s Good News 4 A Change segment

For more details about the grocery co-op, visit their website at www.OldNorthGrocery.com.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Join the Celebration on Saturday for Old North Grocery Co-op’s Ribbon-Cutting

We’ve been so busy getting the Old North Grocery Co-op up and running that we haven’t had as much time as we would have liked to get the word out about the big event this coming Saturday.  So, we need your help in spreading the word - and please come on out and join us Saturday at 12:30 p.m. for the community celebration of our city’s first grocery co-op, where everyone is welcome to shop for farm-fresh food and other groceries.  Feel free to forward the invitation to all who may be interested.

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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