Sunday, January 2, 2011
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!
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