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.
This entry was posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2011 at 8:00 am and is filed under Art in Old North, Awards and honors, Bikes and Trails, Community Gardens, Crown Candy Kitchen, Crown Square, Crown Square Businesses, Habitat for Humanity, Historic rehabs, Infill housing, Life in ONSL, North City Farmers' Market, North Market Place, ONSL amenities, ONSL in the news, ONSL people, Old North Gallery (formerly known as Crown Village Gallery), Old North Grocery Co-op, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, Parks and green spaces, RHCDA, Renovation, Uncategorized, Videos, sustainability. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.