Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday was a day full of mixed emotions, from the energy and excitement of prospective rehabbers at ONSLRG’s Rehabbers and Developers Fair to the sadness and frustration upon learning that a serious fire was consuming the core of the former 4th Baptist Church building on Sullivan & N. 13th Street. By the end of the day, we were reminded that Old North is now enjoying a tremendous rebirth precisely because the community continues to attract new waves of people from far and wide, reflecting diverse backgrounds and different walks of life but sharing a desire to take on something that others had given up on and possessing a vision to make it their own. And as many long-time residents and newcomers alike have expressed to us, what they love about ONSL is the strong sense of community - and the type of warmth, generosity and kindness expressed during difficult times. All of that was evident on Saturday.
Despite the troubles in the real estate and financial markets well beyond Old North, the Rehabbers and Developers Fair still attracted a healthy attendance and a good amount of interest from many who couldn’t make it on Saturday.
The attendees received a welcome from ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa (in the photo at right), who shared some of the reasons why he is happy to be a resident of ONSL. Other speakers included Laura Costello, director of real estate for the St. Louis Development Corp., who discussed the process for acquiring LRA properties in Old North; Rick Horn (in the photo at the top of this post), who described how a 203k purchase-rehab loan works; Judy McDaniels from Lead Safe St. Louis; and developer/contractor Kevin Dickherber, who completed a rehab project in ONSL after attending our Developers Fair in 2005.
After all of the talking, attendees took a short walking tour to see some of the LRA properties available in Old North. Along the way, two of ONSL’s recent purchasers of LRA property, Viveca & Graham (seen below), opened up the formerly vacant garage that they are transforming into their home and Graham’s sculpture studio.
If you want to learn more about what was discussed at Saturday’s program or to pick up some of the materials distributed there, contact Real Estate Development Coordinator Karen Heet at the ONSLRG office (314-241-5031) or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4th Baptist Church Building Fire
Meanwhile, we expect to find out more this week about the extent of the damage to the 4th Baptist Church building. As of Sunday evening, most of the exterior walls were still standing, but much of the inside was completely destroyed. Neighbors and members of the congregation rushed to the scene but could only watch as firefighters attempted to bring the fire under control and keep it from spreading to nearby buildings. The congregation has not used the church building for several years now because the costs of the buildings repairs and maintenance were beyond the budget of the 4th Baptist community. Nevertheless, Pastor Richard Taylor, his family, and members of the congregation continued to hold out hope that they would find a way to preserve and restore the buildiing to its former glory. The fire on Saturday dealt a severe blow to those hopes.