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Archive for August, 2010

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Celebrating the Contributions of Johnnie Owens

Most weekends in Old North St. Louis are filled with community-building events and activities.  This weekend was no different, with Friday night’s Cinema St. Louis screening of HomeGrown in the Old North Gallery, Saturday morning’s North City Farmers’ Market, and the community meeting Saturday afternoon to discuss future activities for the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  Until recently, we could have counted on Johnnie Owens to have shown up at each of those events.  However, due to a difficult battle with cancer, Johnnie hasn’t been able to get out very much lately.  On Saturday morning, though, Johnnie did get out to the Hebert Community Garden, across the street from her home, for the unveiling of a new sign dedicating the garden to Johnnie, as a tribute to one of Old North’s most beloved residents and one of the neighborhood’s most reliable and reasonable leaders.

Alderwoman April Ford Griffin presented Johnnie (seated on the right, with her back to the camera) with a resolution for the Board of Aldermen.

With ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa looking on, Alderwoman April Ford Griffin presented Johnnie (seated on the right, with her back to the camera) with a resolution from the Board of Aldermen.

The sign is unveiled.

The sign is unveiled.

The 1900 block of Hebert is also known now as Johnnie E. Owens Street.

Another surpirse for Johnnie: the 1500 block of Hebert will also be known now as Johnnie E. Owens Street.

Johnnie's family celebrated the occasion with her.

Johnnie's family gathered around her to celebrate the occasion.

Neighbors and friends came out to show Johnnie how much she has meant to them.

Neighbors and friends came out to show Johnnie how much she has meant to them.

Among the neighbors who were responsible for the occasion were Carmella Kranz and Se'an Whiteside.

Among the neighbors who were responsible for the occasion were Carmella Kranz and Se'an Whiteside.

Old North's own metal artist Janet Sanders was responsible for creating the custom frame for the sign and welding it all together with the antique post donated by the Bratkowski family.

Old North's own metal artist Janet Sanders was responsible for creating the unique frame for the sign and welding it all onto the antique post donated by the Bratkowski family.

As testament to Johnnie's capacity to bring the community together, residents lingered to enjoy the garden and each other's company long after the ceremony.

As testament to Johnnie's capacity to bring the community together, residents lingered to enjoy the garden and each other's company long after the ceremony.

 

Thank you Johnnie for all you’ve done for Old North St. Louis, as a dedicated board member & officer of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group; as a tireless worker in and advocate for the Hebert Garden; as an outgoing and welcoming neighbor; and as a generous, thoughtful, and caring friend.

UPDATE: To see more photos from the dedication  visit the Old North St. Louis flickr site or just click HERE.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Come See HomeGrown TONIGHT at Old North Gallery

Tonight (Friday, Aug. 27) at 7:30 p.m., Cinema St. Louis will bring their latest film in their screening series with Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  Tonight’s feature is HomeGrown, which tells the story of a family living off the grid in the heart of Pasadena, Calfifornia, who produce more than 6,000 pounds of food annually from their garden on less than a quarter-acre of land.

After the film, the audience will be able to participate in a discussion with some people in St. Louis who are doing something similar with urban gardens that produce food for the community, including our own Veronica Holden, coordinator of the 13th Street Garden and project coordinator for the North City Farmers’ Market. 

Click HERE for a downloadable flyer for tonight’s film.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

National Spotlight on Old North & How YOU Can Help Us Continue Revitalizing the Neighborhood

First National Public Radio shared the story of the Old North Grocery Co-op with their listeners across the nation on August 12.  (If you missed it, you can still read the transcript and/or listen to it on NPR’s website - and we owe a special thanks to Veronique LaCapra of St. Louis Public Radio for bringing the story to the attention of the producers at NPR).  Now, the Crown Square project is catapulting us into the national spotlight once again. 

Marvo Entertainment Group, an independent documentary production company, came to the Crown Square ribbon-cutting / street fest on July 29 and is using their footage from that as a promotional piece for their upcoming national television series on community revitalization efforts across the country.  This 5 minute video is currently posted on their website as a representation of the approach they’ll be taking in their national television series, and eventually will become a part of a full-length episode that will air on TV stations throughout the nation.  In the meantime, you can watch it and re-live the excitement of that evening right here: Promo for Old North St. Louis on America Revisited. Thank you to Marvo Entertainment (especially Sam Koltinsky) and Ironbridge Productions for selecting Old North as the starting off point for their new series. 

If you found that video inspirational and would like to see more redevelopment throughout Old North St. Louis, we’ve got a simple way you can help make that happen.  We’ve registered Old North in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “This Place Matters” challenge.   With just a few clicks on your computer, you can help ONSLRG earn $25,000 to continue our efforts to save and preserve endangered historic buildings in Old North.  To vote for ONSLRG in this national challenge, start by by clicking on this link to the ONSLRG page on the This Place Matters website.

Once you’ve cast your vote for ONSLRG, you can help us spread the word by forwarding the link to everybody in your contacts folder.  And if you’ve got Facebook or Twitter accounts, feel free to use those vehicles to encourage even more people to vote for us on the This Place Matters challenge.

Friday, August 20, 2010

You’re Invited to a Discussion about What’s Next for Old North St. Louis

Now that the Crown Square project is basically finished, and we’ve successfully launched the Old North Grocery Co-op, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is seeking community input and ideas for sustaining and expanding the neighborhood’s revitalization.  With that in mind, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group will host a community meeting next Saturday, August 28 at 1:00 p.m. at the ONSLRG Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street, to discuss ideas and priorities for our ongoing efforts to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of the Old North neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

All residents and friends of the neighborhood are invited to participate in the dialogue.  Please help us get the word out and pass this information along to any who care about OId North and would be interested in helping.  Click here for a PDF version of the meeting flyer.

For more information about the meeting, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Your Votes Can Help Support Two Old North Projects

There are just a few days of voting left in KSHE 95’s Great Green Yard Giveaway Contest, and one of the finalists is “Graham from Old North St. Louis” - so be sure to cast your vote EVERY day for Contestant #3 through Aug. 22.

The winner of the contest will receive yard improvements, including plantings, garden furniture, lighting, and other work worth up to $25,000.  If Graham wins, not only will his neighbors get an improved view, but he’s also promised to host a great big party in the yard for the whole neighborhood. 

As noted in Graham’s explanation of why he deserves to win the garden makeover, he and his wife V have spent a lot of time and money converting the interior of a former warehouse building into a really cool home and sculpture studio, which means they haven’t had much time left for the yard.  They’ve also contributed hundreds of hours to other projects throughout the neighborhood, including helping to get the Old North Grocery Co-op building in shape before its opening on July 17.   Voting for Graham’s yard can’t come close to covering the value of his time that he’s contributed to the neighborhood, but it certainly would be a nice way of showing our appreciation.  To vote, go to the Great Green Yard Giveaway Contest page, sign up, and vote.  Be sure to return to the site every day between now and the 22nd.

Help North City Farmers’ Market Be America’s Favorite Farmers Market!

It’s summertime and that means two things:  1) There are loads of delicious farm fresh produce available at North City Farmers’ Market every Saturday; and 2) American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Markets™ contest has kicked into gear and we need your votes to win! 

The process is simple.  To vote for our market, all you have to do is:

1)    Go to www.farmland.org/vote

2)    Type in North City Farmers’ Market (or you can just type in zip code 63107); and,

3)    Click “Vote”

That’s it. That’s all it takes to bring North City Farmers’ Market one step closer to being America’s favorite farmers market!

According to American Farmland Trust (AFT), the purpose of this contest is to re-connect local consumers to local farms, with the ultimate goal of keeping our nation’s farm and ranch land productive and healthy!  Buying at the farmers market keeps money in the local community and helps farms and ranches remain economically viable. By voting, you’re helping support farms and communities across the nation. As American Farmland Trust says, “No Farms No Food™!”

So don’t forget to vote for North City Farmers’ Market at www.farmland.org/vote and spread the word!  Big thanks to everyone who has already voted! 
Local Food and Local Farms

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scenes from Crown Square Ribbon-Cutting / Street Fest

This is long-overdue, but we’ve had our hands full recently tackling other business that had been put off while we were busy launching the Old North Grocery Co-op and finishing work on the Crown Square project.  Nevertheless, by popular request - and better late than never, we now share some of our photos from the Crown Square Ribbon-Cutting Celebration and Street Party.

Since we invited all of our board members, staff, and residents to participate in the ribbon-cutting, we didn't get any of our own photos from the other side of the ribbon. This shot was taken by the St. Louis Beacon's photographer and used in their article about the event.

Since we invited all of our board members, staff, and residents to participate in the ribbon-cutting, we didn't get any photos of our own from the other side of the ribbon. This shot was taken by the St. Louis Beacon's photographer and used in their coverage of the event. Click below to read the Beacon's article.

We received a lot of good attention from various local media, including coverage on the day of the event in the Post-Dispatch and on St. Louis Public Radio (and we provided links to those stories in our July 29th post), on Channel 4 earlier in the week (click here for KMOV’s Good News 4 a Change segment with Larry Conners, even though they keep referring to “Crown Plaza” instead of Crown Square), and the St. Louis Beacon (and you can read their article by clicking HERE).

Mayor Slay was one of the speakers. He noted that his mother grew up nearby and expressed her amazement of how much the area has improved recently.

Fifth Ward Alderwoman April Ford Griffin also took the occasion to describe how this project wouldn’t have happened without an engaged community.

The presence of State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (between Mayor Slay and ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa in the photo above) was a demonstration of the importance of state support, including investments from the Missouri Housing Development Commission and state historic preservation tax credits.

After the speeches, the crowd wandered down the street to celebrate the occasion and to partake in various street fest activities, such as Juan Chavez's snow cone art booth.
After the speeches, the crowd wandered down the street to celebrate the occasion and to partake in various street fest activities, such as Juan Chavez’s snow cone art booth.

As noted many times earlier, the Crown Square redevelopment has been a crucial piece of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s work over the past few years.  ONSLRG’s mission is to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.  This project certainly touches on all of those elements, but more importantly, it is helping to re-connect all parts of the community as a stable geographic bridge between the northern and southern parts of the neighborhood, but also as a physical space where residents and visitors alike can gather and interact for community-building purposes.
Since this post is long enough already, we’ll have to dedicate space in another post to the long list of all who made it possible for ONSLRG and the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance to initiate and complete one of the largest neighborhood revitalization projects in the City of St. Louis.  Stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about opportunities to get an apartment or a commercial space at Crown Square, click HERE for the links to the leasing agents, as provided in one of our previous posts.

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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