Saturday, March 9, 2013

How can YOU help Old North Continue Revitalization & Defy the Odds?

It’s not easy to turn a neighborhood around after more than a half-century-long downward spiral.  The little, historic neighborhood of Old North Saint Louis, however, is defying the odds and confounding the skeptics. Old North’s success with attracting new residents and businesses has demonstrated that reversing the pattern of abandonment and decay is possible.  And the dramatic 28% population gain from 2000-2010 shows how incredibly effective community-based development can be, especially when it involves strategic and coordinated investments in historic preservation, mixed income housing development, and other public improvements.

But the job is far from over.  The loss of historic buildings that reflect the neighborhood’s unique character and architectural integrity can undermine Old North’s positive momentum.  The devastating fire that consumed 1415 Benton yesterday provides a disturbing illustration of the continuing danger to the health, safety, reputation, and overall viability of the community posed by abandonment and neglect.

Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group has shown over and over again how vacant, historic, and even severely deteriorated buildings can be transformed into attractive and productive community assets.  For examples of some of these developments, click on the photo below to see a short YouTube video.

None of that would have been possible without an engaged and determined community and a neighborhood-based community development organization with the charge of preserving Old North’s history and unique sense of place.

Although the comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization of Old North requires major investments in the physical dimension of the neighborhood (through historic preservation, new home construction, neighborhood clean-ups, and community gardens), a viable and sustainable community also requires a healthy social dimension.  Consequently, ONSLRG’s work also involves addressing the needs of the community’s residents - as defined by the community - and efforts to nurture strong and supportive relationships among residents.  One of the best vehicles for achieving both of these goals has been the North City Farmers’ Market.  The open-air market in the heart of the neighborhood (every Saturday from June through October) brings healthy and affordable foods to the neighborhood and serves as a weekly platform for informal community building.  As an event that is open to all residents, as well as visitors, the market  celebrates the diversity of the community, shows off the vibrancy of the neighborhood, and draws customers to the new businesses setting up shop at Crown Square.  Click on the image below to see a short, high quality video that captures the spirit and atmosphere of the North City Farmers’ Market.

ONSLRG’s ambitious mission to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character requires a lot of time and effort from both volunteers and professional staff.  If you’d like to contribute some of your time, click HERE to learn more about the various opportunities to volunteer with ONSLRG.

Because Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group relies on residents, friends, and other supportive individuals to cover a significant chunk of our costs for maintaining an office, employing a professional staff, and implementing a broad variety of community improvement initiatives, your financial contribution can help us continue our work.  Nearly 3/4 of ONSLRG’s $338,709 operating budget for 2013 will need to come from foundations, corporate grants, individual contributions, and memberships.  Since corporate and foundation grants require a good deal of staff time to research and prepare applications, direct contributions from individuals and businesses represent the best way to allow our staff to dedicate more of their time and focus to the work of revitalizing Old North. Please show your support by clicking on the Donate Now! button below.

If you know of others who may be interested in our work, please pass this information along to them via personal contact, postings on Facebook, or tweets on Twitter.  Thank you to all who have helped ONSLRG do so much over the past 32 years.

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 9th, 2013 at 1:54 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. 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.


"How can YOU help Old North Continue Revitalization & Defy the Odds?"


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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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