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Archive for the ‘Bikes and Trails’ Category

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

3 Days to Go Until the Annual Old North House & Community Tour!

Thank you to all who contributed to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group through Give STL Day on Tuesday (and Wednesday morning)!  Through your generosity, we surpassed last year’s total, which is especially important to us this year during very tight financial times! And thank you to the staff at St. Louis Community Foundation for coordinating Give STL Day (and had to work around some serious technical glitches that were beyond their control!).

Even though Give STL Day is over, we still can accept contributions any hour of every day, via our secure, online PayPal account. Just click HERE if you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution right now.

Another way to support and celebrate the work of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is by buying tickets to our annual Old North House & Community Tour, coming up THIS Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are also available for purchase online by clicking HERE. In fact, if you’d really like to support ONLSRG, buy as many tickets as you can afford and give them to friends, family members, colleagues or business associates so that they can come see just how attractive, friendly, and exciting Old North is these days.

Or, if you’ve contributed in years past, the tour represents a great opportunity for you to come out and see the results of your past support.

Some of the sites you’ll see on this year’s tour are…

Check back tomorrow and Friday for more sneak preview images.

And, once again, we’ll offer the most environmentally-friendly shuttle service in town for anyone who may not want or be able to walk to all of the sites on the tour.

Now that you’ve seen a little bit of what will be on display Saturday, be sure to click HERE to get your tickets now at the pre-tour price of just $15 each, and plan to join us for the tour!

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One more thing: we still have volunteer opportunities available. Or to put it another way, we could really benefit from some additional help on Saturday for a variety of tour-day jobs, from checking visitors in to greeting tour-goers at houses on the tour. Click HERE if you’ve got time and are willing to help (and you’ll get to go on the tour for free!). Do you know any students who need service hours?  This might be a fun way to get some of that taken care of, so send them our way.

We look forward to seeing you here on Saturday.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

THIS Saturday, 12/12: 5th Annual Holidays in Old North

Just in time for all of your holiday shopping needs, the Holidays in Old North craft market and festival returns for its fifth year this Saturday, December 12. Please join us - and bring the whole family. We’d also greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word. Tell your neighbors and share your plans to attend with all of your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media channel.

And, once again, we’re thrilled to offer free photos with Santa.

For more details on the vendors and information about the music and other activities (including children’s crafts with Magic House) at this year’s Holidays in Old North, please take a look at the event page on Facebook by clicking HERE.

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Thank you to all of our volunteers from near and far who helped us decorate for Saturday. On Tuesday evening, immediately following our usual 2nd Tuesday of the month Old North neighborhood meeting, several neighbors stuck around to decorate the ONSLRG Gallery and other interior spaces up and down the 2700 block of North 14th Street.  Then, on Wednesday afternoon, we received help from about 25 individuals who work at U.S. embassies all over the world, brought to us by the U.S. State Department and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis. Special thanks to Jen Russell and Friendship Village for donating much of the decorations!

Multiple photos from the team of volunteers on both Tuesday and Wednesday can be found by clicking HERE or on the collage below.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Thank You to All Who Helped Old North Achieve Distinction as the “Best Place to Live” in St. Louis

Happy Thanksgiving to all! In honor of this season of gratitude, all of us at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG) thank everyone who has been a part of making Old North St. Louis the “Best Place to Live” in St. Louis.

And thank you again to the Riverfront Times for putting the spotlight on the great things going on in Old North and for selecting Old North as the 2015 “Best Place to Live” neighborhood in the annual “Best of St. Louis” issue. While the RFT’s few lines of explanation (as shown in the clip above from the print copy) provided a good start, we know there is so much more to the Old North story.  So, for those who have asked what it takes to become a “Best Place to Live” neighborhood, we offer the following, more detailed, mostly objective, rest-of-the-story case for why Old North really is such a great place to live.

Old North is a neighborhood with character and soul - a place with a long & fascinating history… a place with visible progress achieved through a revitalization process guided by an organization that is genuinely of, by, and for the people of the community.
And for any who might question the RFT’s wisdom with this year’s selection - and with all due respect to the many other wonderful neighborhoods throughout the city, it’s worth noting that the RFT hasn’t been the only source to  consider the revitalization of Old North to be worthy of recognition. That list of outside parties who’ve had upbeat assessments of Old North in recent years includes:
  • Focus St. Louis, who picked Old North for one of their “What’s Right with the Region” Awards; and
  • Kaid Benfield, then-director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Smart Growth & Sustainable Communities Program, who referred to Old North as “one of the country’s best revitalization stories…”
So, what’s going on in Old North that captured the attention and earned the respect of these outside observers?  The short answer is that it isn’t just one thing. Old North has been reviving and transforming itself through a comprehensive set of initiatives over several years.
A successful and vibrant community will be a place with a mix of positive features and attributes, not simply a place with good housing stock or nice parks, for instance. The more diverse and the stronger the mix of distinctive characteristics, the more likely it is that the community will enjoy a positive trajectory and be able to sustain itself over time. The most important element, however, is a population of community members who establish the vision for what they want their community to be - and are actively involved in the implementation of the various initiatives, as well as the ongoing work of maintaining and building on the progress.
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The PEOPLE
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It’s a given that just about every neighborhood will claim that it’s the people who live & work there that make it such a wonderful place. In the absence of specifics, though, that claim can sound rather superficial. With that in mind, let’s consider the “tight-knit bunch” of people who are part of the warm and welcoming community in Old North.
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Long-time Neighbors =====
Above Left: Tom Bratkowski with a picnic table & bench he built for the 13th Street Community Garden; Above Right: Gloria Bratkowski with Old North’s Girl Scout Troop. The Bratkowski Family has been in Old North for 4 generations - and they continue to serve in a variety of ways.
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As a community with a long and rich history, one of the compelling features of Old North is that history isn’t confined to the history books. Old North is home to people who’ve been a part of the community long enough to be able tell the back-stories of various aspects of the neighborhood’s ups and downs over several generations. Along with residents who moved into the neighborhood 20, 30, or 40 years ago, Old North is also home to residents whose families have been in the neighborhood for several generations before them.  And Old North is such a vibrant place because long-term residents are still actively involved in a lot of community-building efforts, from working in community gardens to serving on committees or on the ONSLRG Board.
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…And a Lot of Newcomers, Too!
Old North has a growing population, with new residents welcomed to the community & invited to participate in the ongoing work of community-building =======
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Newcomers tell us that there are many reasons they choose to move into Old North, but almost everybody reports that they love the powerful and genuine sense of community. Longtime residents welcome in their new neighbors and readily invite them to attend community events and/or to participate in the shared responsibility of community-building. Damon Moore and his wife, Kausta, (in the left photo above) had just moved into the neighborhood when the Riverfront Times stumbled across him doing work in his new front yard. Asked why he and his wife moved into the neighborhood, Damon responded: “They’re constantly building this neighborhood up, and we want to be a part of it.” And Kausta has since followed up by joining the ONSLRG Real Estate Committee.
Meanwhile the Lunsford family (in the right photo above) started showing up for community events in Old North long before they moved into the neighborhood from south city to tackle a rehab. The whole family has been regulars at Old North’s farmers’ market and can be counted on to bring a burst of positive energy to any neighborhood activity.  Life in Old North as become such a central part of the Lunsford family’s everyday activities that “Old North” emerged as the most prominent set of words used in Leah’s Facebook posts (as shown below)…
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It’s also important to note that population growth didn’t just happen by itself.  Significant effort went into planning for and developing new housing, including finding and partnering with outside parties, such as Rise Community Development, who had resources and capacity to make larger projects happen. The process also involved considerable time and effort on the part of ONSLRG staff to recruit and assist individuals and families who were open to the possibility of moving into Old North. These ongoing efforts involve everything from hosting the annual Old North House & Community Tour every spring to preparing and distributing an Available Properties List every month and responding to inquiries from visitors who drop in at the ONSLRG office wanting to know more about the neighborhood.
And, as shown in the image above, the development of new housing options continues. Starting at approximately $150,000, new, energy-efficient homes will be available in early 2016.  (Interested buyers should contact Matt Fernandez at 314-241-5031, ext. 101 or by email at Matt@ONSL.org.)
Because a growing population by itself isn’t enough to make a community vibrant and sustainable, ONSLRG regularly hosts events and activities to allow neighbors to get to know each other.  Since strong and supportive relationships don’t happen automatically or through one time events, it takes a variety of occasions throughout the year, such as ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting and Pot-Luck Supper in February, a trivia night in March, the House & Community Tour in May, 20 weeks in a row of the North City Farmers’ Market in the middle of 14th Street from June through October, a big National Night Out celebration in the 13th Street Community Garden (as shown below)…
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…periodic happy hours, monthly neighborhood meetings, and the Holidays in Old North Festival, in addition to several other special events, such as hosting this year’s Shakespeare in the Streets on at the intersection of Montgomery and N. 14th Street.
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BUSINESSES & INSTITUTIONS
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Landmark, Legendary Businesses
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Crown Candy*
No story of Old North would be complete without acknowledging the importance of Crown Candy Kitchen as a neighborhood landmark that has drawn customers and visitors to the neighborhood for more than 100 years now.  For many St. Louisans, Crown Candy was their first introduction to Old North - and for many years, the only reason they would have ever set foot in the neighborhood.  Now, Crown’s customers have a lot more to take in and can walk down the street to marvel at the beauty of Crown Square and the view of the Arch and the Downtown skyline framed by the collection of architecturally significant, historically rehabbed buildings along both sides of N. 14th Street.
But there’s more to the Old North business community than Crown Candy, including other legendary businesses, such as another family-owned, much-older business, Marx Hardware (which also made this year’s RFT “Best of” list), and HeadHunters, a barber shop that stuck around the 14th Street Mall for many, many years after all of the other businesses abandoned the dead pedestrian mall and survived long enough to enjoy the revitalization at Crown Square.
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Newer, Locally-Owned Businesses
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The past few years have brought several new businesses to the heart of Old North, especially at Crown Square, such as:
- Blackmun Footcare, owned and operated by Old North resident, Dr. Annessa Blackmun (shown above)* - which also was selected by St. Louis Development Corporation as the 5th Ward Business of the Year this year;
- Kennedy’s Pet Shop;
- La Mancha Coffeehouse* (a previous SLDC Business of the Year honoree);
- Firecracker Press;
- The Racq Salon;
- Angel’s Touch Home Healthcare;
- The Gallery Clothing Boutique;
- Le Fit;
and others beyond the Crown Square portion of 14th Street, such as Better Life and Perpetua;
… and so many more.
* owned & run by Old North residents
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Recent Arrival Nonprofits & Service Providers…
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Old North residents are lucky to have many other organizations present within and serving the Old North community, including:
- UrbArts, a home for spoken word arts and poetry slams (with founder / executive director, MK Stallings in the photo above);
- Central Print;
- Building Futures;
- Zuka Arts Guild;
- Magdalene House;
- Peace Weaving Wholeness.
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LONG-TIME ORGANIZATIONS & INSTITUTIONS
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Old North is also home to several other groups that have been around for quite a while, such as:
- Grace Hill Settlement House (for over a Century);
- The Haven of Grace;
- C.J.’s Place (Places for People);
- Stepping Into the Light;
- Sunshine Ministries;
… and, of course, Old North’s own vehicle for neighborhood-driven and respectful community development, ONSLRG, which will be celebrating 35 years in 2016.
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A ROBUST ARTS SCENE
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The highest profile arts event in the past year was Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’s production of their annual Shakespeare in the Streets in Old North, which featured area residents John Bratkowski, Aniyah Wilson, and Robert Green, along with Old North’s very own police officer, Richard Schicker of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s 4th District.
But there is so much more art happening within the boundaries of Old North.
Recent hightlights have included a new mural by William Burton and Robert Ketchins; several exhibits in the Old North Gallery; live music within the ONSLRG Gallery, on the stage at the Crown Square corner plaza, in the street…
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…poetry slams at UrbArts, printmaking at Central Print, children’s programs at NorthSide Workshop, Friday afternoon concerts at Zuka Arts, improv, drum lessons for the neighborhood Girl Scout troop, daily steel drum music by Jamaica Ray in front of Crown Candy, and on and on.
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RECREATION & LEISURE
….residents walking together, outside groups bringing bike tours through Old North, soccer games in Jackson Park…
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HISTORIC CHARACTER & ARCHITECTURAL PRESERVATION
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As a community that dates back to its founding in 1816 as an independent municipality (the Village of North St. Louis) separate from St. Louis, Old North is home to a great mix of structures and historic sites that contribute to the neighborhood’s distinct sense of place.  Residents of Old North embrace that history and character and go to great lengths to preserve what the physical elements that shape the character and beauty of the neighborhood.  Part of that history is currently on display at the Missouri History Museum, with their A Walk in 1875 exhibit (shown above), and much more of that can on a walk through Old North today. Thanks to the efforts of ONSLRG and our partners, and many individual homeowners, dozens of historic buildings have been rescued from the brink of collapse.  We thank all who have helped make this aspect of Old North’s character possible - and we thank Landmarks Association of St. Louis for helping to acknowledge the great contributions of so many in Old North through their annual “Most Enhanced” Historic Preservation Awards, with more awards going to more buildings in Old North than any other neighborhood - as a percentage of total buildings within the neighborhood…
Above: Owners of Old North properties that have been (or will one day be) recognized by Landmarks Association of St. Louis for the quality of their historic preservation.  From left to right: Matt Fernandez future award winner; Dave Eisenbraun, past winner; James & Luz Maria Cox, 2015 & previous year winners; and Susan Tschetter, past winner.
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HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
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Old North is a place that embraces healthy lifestyles in a variety of ways, most visibly through the weekly appearance of North City Farmers’ Market along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street from June through mid- October over the past 9 years.
The community-wide celebration of healthy lifestyles is also evident through the neighborhood’s 9 community gardens…
… and the community’s Walking Club.
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Residents out and about and watching out for each other has also made it possible for Old North to experience a 47% decline in crime from 2010 - 2014, further reinforced by coordinated efforts, including Old North’s Neighborhood Ownership Model and regular collaboration with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s 4th District (especially Officers Lori Wozniak and Richard Schicker)…
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PARTNERSHIPS
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So much of what has been mentioned above can be attributed to a simple formula of community-driven initiatives matched with support from outside partners.  While the full list of partners and supporters would be too long for this space, some of them do need to be acknowledged here, such as several who’ve provided funding support for some of our programs recently: the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration, Bank of America, Regional Arts Commission, Trio Foundation; some who’ve provided funding and program support, such as Gateway Greening, Ken Kranzberg and STL North LLC; some who’ve worked with us on various aspects of our mission, including our Crown Square development partner, Rise Community Development, Community Builders Network (which is assisting with ONSLRG’s collaborations with other nearby CDCs, Community Renewal and Development and Northside Community Housing)… and partners who’ve made it possible for our staff to take on so much more work than we could otherwise afford to do by providing us with more people power in the office - Mission St. Louis and AmeriCorps VISTA for making it possible for Jessica Payne and Brendan Ziebarth to work with us, and AARP for making it possible for Charlotte Harris to keep an eye on our front desk;
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and several hundred residents and outside friends of the community.

This litany of supporters, investors, and friends could continue for quite a while. So, we invite you to add the names of others who deserve thanks and acknowledgments.  Just scroll down to find the Comment box below and share your thoughts!

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In light of all of the above, we THANK all who made this possible. If you’re thankful that St. Louis has a dynamic and growing community capable of showing that our city does, indeed, have vibrant, attractive and sustainable neighborhoods, we invite you to help us continue this work.  If you believe it’s important for the city to have healthy and thriving neighborhoods on the north side, as well as on the south side, if you believe it’s vital to our region’s future to have neighborhoods that seek to engage all of their residents in the work of community building and that continue to reach out to various agencies and organizations to join the residents in making the community a better place for all, then we need your support.  Please make a new or continuing contribution today by clicking on the image below.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Join us Fri., July 24 for our 2nd Members & Friends of ONSLRG Happy Hour

Back by popular demand - Old North St. Louis Restoration Group will be holding another Members & Friends Happy Hour on Friday, July 24th from 4-6 p.m. at our ONSLRG Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street. Whether or not you’re a current member or even if we don’t know you’re our friend yet, come on by to enjoy the company of others who’ve helped or are continuing to help ONSLRG revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

If you missed last month’s gathering, we’ve got a few photos to show what you missed - and to give you an idea of what’s on tap for this Friday.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Great Start to North City Farmers’ Market’s New Season…And Read Old North Community News Online

Thank you to all who attended opening day of North City Farmers’ Market last Saturday - and we especially want to thank all who made the day a great success.

To view a full set of photos from the day, please visit the North City Farmers’ Market Facebook page by clicking HERE.

We invite all residents and friends of Old North St. Louis and nearby neighborhoods to join us every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for this weekly celebration of vibrant and healthy community life, in the heart of a one-of-a-kind historic neighborhood in the midst of an exciting revitalization.

Various components of this year’s farmers’ market are funded in part by Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group by the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration.

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>>>>>>>>>>>Old North Community News, June 2015 Edition<<<<<<<<<<<<

If you haven’t picked up your own hard copy of our latest neighborhood newspaper - or if you live in Old North and haven’t had a chance to read the copy delivered to your front door, click HERE to download a PDF or to read it online.

If you have reason to believe that your block might have been missed by our paper distribution volunteers, let us know (send an email to info@ONSL.org or call 314-241-5031) if you’d like to have us drop off a pile of papers for you to share with your neighbors on your block - or to volunteer to help us get the next issue out.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Be Here TOMORROW, Sat., May 9: Old North House & Community Tour + the Spring Fling in the City Vintage Market

We’re counting down the hours now for the biggest event of our year, and perhaps the biggest Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour ever!  We invite you to be here to enjoy the big day with us as we celebrate the vitality, warmth, beauty, character and soul of a neighborhood in the midst of dramatic revitalization. As a community that many had given up on not that long ago, the comeback of Old North should serve as an inspiration for anyone who believes in the power of community-driven neighborhood development.

With our advance ticket price of just $12 expiring at midnight, now is the time to get your tickets.  Click HERE or on the image below to purchase as many tickets as you can via our secure PayPayl account, then we’ll have the tickets waiting for you tomorrow at our registration table.

Our previous posts have highlighted some of what will be on this year’s tour - click HERE to take a look at the post from Tuesday…

…and click HERE to see the post from Saturday.

Now for a few more previews…

Incredible, back-from-the-brink of demolition transformations...

A really cool art exhibit in the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG) Gallery, featuring works of people who live or work in Old North (or have close ties to the community)

Did we mention the free ice cream?  Thanks to Crown Candy Kitchen, all ticketed tour-goers will get a free scoop of ice cream at the ONSLRG Gallery!

And, did we mention the free cup of coffee at La Mancha Coffeehouse (for ticketed tour-goers)?

Environmentally-responsible shuttle service…

*(and, yes, in case you’re wondering, they do have a cover that can be put up to protect the riders from the blazing sun and or other elements.)

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Want to attend for FREE?

All volunteers at the tour get to go on the tour for FREE and attend the after-tour appreciation party! We still have room for more, so let us know now if you’d like to take us up on this incredible offer.  Click HERE for the shift information and to sign up.

Thank you again to all of our sponsors who make this great event possible, especially PNC.

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And, as noted in earlier posts, we’re sharing the day with the hugely successful Spring Fling in the City vintage street market, with all sorts of presents for the Moms in your life, just in time for Mothers’ Day!  Come on out to enjoy the activity in the street and to celebrate all things good about urban, historic neighborhoods.

So, this is your last call to get advance tickets.  Click HERE.  However, you’ll still be able to get tickets on Saturday at the day-of price of $15 (still one of the best prices in town for a neighborhood house tour).

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, May 9, right here in the heart of Old North!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It’s Give STL Day… and 4 Days until Old North House & Community Tour

Give STL Day is a 24-hour, St. Louis area-wide campaign to generate online contributions for 790 nonprofits. Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is participating again this year - and we invite you to show your support for our work revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of the Old North neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural and urban character.  Tax-deductible contributions of any amount, from $10 to $500 - or more, if you’d like, can be made by clicking HERE up until midnight tonight.

If you want to help us sustain the achievements we’ve made in Old North in recent years, make an investment in our capacity to carry out respectful and effective community-driven neighborhood revitalization. Click HERE to support a model of community development that works!

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If you’d like to see for yourself the results of previous and ongoing investments by resilient and determined neighbors and outside supporters, we invite you to join us THIS Saturday, May 9 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at our annual Old North House & Community Tour. Tickets are still available at the low advance purchase price of just $12 each by clicking HERE.

Our previous post (click HERE to see that) offered some previews of what might be seen on this year’s tour. We now offer some additional previews.

Homes that Are Still in the Process of Making a Dramatic Comeback…

Homes that Have Been Recognized with Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced” Awards…

Homes that Are Not Quite Built Yet (but coming soon!)…

Beautiful Gardens, Parks and Yards…

The Old North Little Free Library will once again be on the tour, in the shaded beauty of Wingmann Park (which is actually one of Old North's 8 community gardens). Photo used with permission from an incredibly talented photographer, Neil Das, whose work is among the art on display at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery. View more of Neil's work online at https://thedasslereffect.wordpress.com/.

The Old North Little Free Library will once again be on the tour, in the shaded beauty of Wingmann Park (which is actually one of Old North's 8 community gardens). Photo used with permission from an incredibly talented photographer, Neil Das, whose work is among the art on display at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery. View more of Neil's work online at https://thedasslereffect.wordpress.com/.

Check back on Thursday for more previews of what you’ll be able to see on Saturday. Don’t let that hold you back from getting your tickets now, though.  Click HERE to get your tickets online - and invite all of your friends, family, colleagues, and others to come on out to see what makes Old North so vibrant!

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Would you like to attend for free?

Want to attend the tour without buying a ticket - and get invited to the volunteer party after the tour? All you have to do is volunteer for a shift. Sign up on our handy form today –> http://goo.gl/forms/iKpUyS3Zd5

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But, wait, there’s more!

When you’re not taking a leisurely stroll through a community garden or admiring the architecture and design of one of the homes on the tour, be sure to spend some time visiting the Spring Fling in the City vintage market along the 2600 and 2700 blocks of North 14th Street.  Crown Square will be bustling with activity as vendors sell all sorts of vintage items - just in time for Mother’s Day! - and with food trucks, beer from Four Hands Brewery, live music, and dancing led by the Lindy Hop Dancers.  So much will be going on here that Alive Magazine offered the following advice:

“Head to Old North this weekend for a huge selection of vintage and handmade items starring several of your favorite St. Louis makers and shakers. Live music, food, sweets and drinks will be available for your shopping pleasure! “

For more details about the vendors and activities going on at Spring Fling in the City, brought to us by Parsimonia {Secondhand with Style}, visit the Facebook event page by clicking HERE.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

6 Days to Go: Old North House & Community Tour (and More Before!)

We’ve got 6 days left before our annual celebration of all things that make Old North a vibrant, healthy, attractive and sustainable community.  If you haven’t already purchased your ticket, we invite you to take care of that right now via our secure, online ticket-purchasing option: click HERE to get your tickets for the advance price of just $12 each.

You can also purchase advance tickets in person by stopping by the ONSLRG office (at 2700 N. 14th Street, shown in the photo below) during regular business hours (9-5), Monday - Friday.

OR you can pick up your advance tickets by coming by the office TODAY, Sunday, May 3, from 3-5 p.m. during our opening reception for the Old North Community Arts Exhibit.

Above: ONSLRG Arts Committee chair James Anderson setting up the Old North Community Arts Exhibit, featuring works by people who live in, work in or have strong ties to Old North.

In addition to the opening hours today, the exhibit will be one of the featured stops on the Old North House & Community Tour.  What else might you see on Saturday, May 9 at the tour?  See below for a few images of some of the homes and other spots within Old North that’ll be open for tour-goers.

Of course there’s much more than we can show here.  To get the full flavor (including a FREE scoop of Crown Candy Kitchen ice cream) and feel of the neighborhood, come on out on Saturday, May 9 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Tickets on that day will be available for $15 at the Crown Square corner plaza at the southwest corner of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street.  Advance tickets are available for purchase HERE.

While you’re in the neighborhood on May 9, be sure to visit the wonderful selection of vendors who’ll be lining the 2600 and 2700 blocks of N. 14th Street for the 3rd annual Spring Fling in the City vintage street market.  Details about that can be found by clicking HERE.

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If you can’t make it to Old North on Saturday, May 9 but you still want to celebrate and support authentic, community-driven neighborhood revitalization, a community development model that has shown visible and quantifiable results in Old North, then we encourage you to consider a contribution to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group on GiveSTL Day this Tuesday, May 5. Click HERE for more details.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Just 9 days to go: Get Your Advance Tickets NOW for May 9 Old North House & Community Tour

Get your tickets now for the advance ticket price of just $12 by clicking HERE to purchase online or stop by the ONSLRG office at 2700 N. 14th Street during regular business hours.

And it’s not too late to volunteer with us at the tour - and then you’ll get to go for free!  Click HERE for more details and to sign up for a shift.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Celebrating Another Year of Progress & Preparing for More Revitalization in 2015: a full recap of ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper

Despite the snowy conditions and the frigid temperatures, a good crowd of dedicated Old North St. Louis residents and friends braved the elements this past Monday evening to attend Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s 2015 Annual meeting & Pot-Luck Supper. Since some of those who had planned to join us couldn’t do so because of the weather, we offer the following highlights from the evening.

ONSLRG President Tino Ochoa welcomed the crowd

ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa opened the meeting with a warm greeting and invited all in attendance to help themselves to the great buffet of foods prepared by neighbors for the pot-luck supper.

The meeting portion of the evening included a mix of PowerPoint slides illustrating the memorable moments and developments that took place during 2014 -along with plans for 2015- and reports from ONSLRG Board members, staff, committee chairs, and residents involved with a range of community initiatives in Old North. But first, a quick review of ONSLRG’s mission, as a reminder what all of these activities are designed to advance…

…and an acknowledgment that ONSLRG can’t accomplish any of its goals without a committed base of neighborhood residents who put in an incredible amount of their own time on personal initiatives and organizational projects designed to make Old North an even better place. Because the Annual Meeting is also an opportunity to put the spotlight on the people of Old North, we presented several “Good Neighbor” Awards. Among residents receiving awards were:

  • Charlotte Harris & Laura Hobson for their regular door-to-door flyering for ONSLRG events and delivery of our quarterly newspaper;
  • Veronica Holden for running a homework help program at La Mancha Coffeehouse, and for further investing in Old North with the recent expansion at La Mancha; and
  • Gina Sheridan for so many different contributions to the vitality of Old North, including regular participation in the Old North Walking Club, leadership of the Old North Girl Scout troop, opening her home (along with her husband, Travis) for numerous visitors & tours, serving as Old North’s own head librarian for our new Little Free Library, and for representing Old North so well, whether talking to a reporter, telling a delegation from Detroit why she loves Old North, or even when entertaining a standing room only crowd at a book-signing party for her recently-published book, I Work at a Public Library.

GREEN SPACE COMMITTEE

First up: Green Space Committee, chaired by Gloria Bratkowski, who reported on the activities at Old North’s seven community gardens, especially the food production (& chickens) at the 13th Street Garden - and the many neighborhood clean-ups that took place throughout the year. Gloria also asked all in attendance to mark their calendars for our 2015 neighborhood-wide Brightside clean-up day scheduled for Saturday, April 11

….

REAL ESTATE COMMITTEE

The Real Estate Committee report included updates on the BrickStarter campaign…

…the work of our Macho Action Group, which gathers on a quasi-monthly basis to board-up and secure vacant buildings, along with other community improvements involving physical labor;

…and ongoing assistance to prospective residents & businesses with information about Old North, and through monthly updates to our Available Properties List;

In 2014 we also coordinated the purchase of 1227 St. Louis Avenue for a future development…

… and the exciting news that CDA funding has been approved for resuming construction of new, for-sale homes within the North Market redevelopment area:

We were also thrilled that Landmarks Association once again selected a project from Old North for one of their prestigious “Most Enhanced” Historic Preservation Awards

CROWN SQUARE

Although not a responsibility of our Real Estate Committee, it’s still worth noting some of the other real estate related progress realized within the past year, including new activity at some of the Crown Square commercial spaces…

…and with the Sustainable Land Lab lots, including ongoing activities at the Sunflower+ Project on Warren and the Mighty Mississippians space on Montgomery, and especially with the official opening of the Chess Pocket Park at 2713 N.14th Street…

And, speaking of Crown Square, 2014 saw another very successful Rise Up Street Festival, brought to Old North by our Crown Square development partners, Rise Community Development. This year’s event included a “live” painting of the “Rise Up as One” mural on the south side of 2717 N. 14th Street.

REVITALIZING THE SOCIAL DIMENSION OF OLD NORTH…SOCIAL OUTREACH COMMITTEE

Even with all of the development on the physical side of things, the most activity in 2014 seemed to fall within the realm of the “social dimension” part of our mission, and that happened on many levels:

COMMUNITY ARTS INITIATIVES

A steady stream of arts initiatives, sometimes in conjunction with ONSLRG’s Old North Equality Project, served as vehicles for building community, deepening understanding, and bridging differences…

2015 promises to be another arts-rich year with upcoming exhibits planned for the Old North Gallery which will feature the work of Sylvester Jacobs (more photography), Edna Patterson-Petty in September, the St. Louis Artist Guild young artists showcase in April, and a special exhibit in May that will show off the great variety of art produced by Old North residents.  We’re also excited that later this year Old North will play host to performances of Shakespeare in the Streets, brought to us by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis.

Because we have so much going on in our own gallery and more and more arts programming and initiatives with other individuals and organizations in Old North, in 2015 we will facilitate new efforts to bring the arts community together and to foster greater collaboration and support for the programming and events of the different groups. Old North resident James Anderson has agreed to lead our new arts collaborations committee.

As we completed 2014, we also said farewell to Claire Wolff, ONSLRG’s Community Engagement Specialist, who was responsible for overseeing much of the work of the Social Outreach Committee and was integrally involved with most of the progress achieved in recent years…

NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY & NEIGHBORHOOD OWNERSHIP MODEL

Vela Hermann of the Old North Neighborhood Ownership Model leadership team (in the photo above) reported on the continuing work of making & keeping Old North a safe place for all residents and visitors.  And we were very happy to report that significant progress has been made in recent years in bringing down Old North’s already relatively low crime rate…

HEALTH INITIATIVES

Next up - a discussion about various health initiatives, with some comments from Old North resident and neighborhood podiatrist, Dr. Annessa Blackmun, who reviewed some of the progress over the past year and plans to expand on some of these successful initiatives through the launching of a new Health Ambassadors Committee.

Paulette Sankofa (above) announced plans for a health conference for women next month…

Among the community health initiatives coordinated by ONSLRG in the past year were the launch of the Old North Walking Club…

…and another full, 20-week season of the North City Farmers’ Market in the heart of Old North, along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street.

We also conveyed a reminder that opening day for the market’s 9th season is not that far off…

MARKETING COMMITTEE

Next up, Travis Sheridan, chair of our Marketing Committee, reported on the great media coverage we received in the past year, from St. Louis Magazine to the Post-Dispatch; from St. Louis Public Radio to Channel 4. We even got several mentions and photos of Old North in Kaid Benfield’s book, People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities.

We also hosted a steady stream of visitors to Old North, from near and far, as well as presentations by our staff for university classes and other groups who come to see what makes Old North distinctive…

and a few of our events that we host to show off the neighborhood’s revitalization and to recruit new neighbors and/or customers for neighborhood businesses. The biggest event of the year is always the annual Old North House & Community Tour, and we had a great one in 2014…

The 2015 House & Community Tour will be bigger and better than ever due to our hosting the big event with the very successful “Spring Fling” vintage street festival that takes place on 14th Street, scheduled for Saturday, May 9

Because ONSLRG needs resources to carry out this dizzying array of community building work, Doug Rasmussen reported on the past year’s fundraising efforts, including the Southeast by Old North benefit concert this past September…

And Doug made a pitch to support our work at two upcoming events:

  • The annual Old North House & Community Tour (which, as noted earlier, is scheduled for Saturday, May 9), with sponsorships being recruited now and tickets already available for purchase on our website by clicking HERE; and
  • our annual Trivia Night, scheduled for Sat., April 11th, which supports North City Farmers’ Market and the 13th Street Community Garden; tickets for that are also available for purchase online by clicking HERE or on the image below.

….

Because the comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization of Old North’s physical and social dimensions is a bigger task than any one organization could ever accomplish, a key feature of ONSLRG’s work involves finding the right partners who can bring capacity and resources to the table while still respecting the vision and leadership of the people of the community. Identifying and recruiting partners for this collaborative approach to community building, and ensuring that the work of all partners complements and supports each others’ efforts, is time consuming and labor-intensive. While that’s what ONSLRG has been doing for much of the past 34 years, in 2015 we will be setting up quarterly convenings to bring all parties together for the sake of exchanging information about the broad range of initiatives and to explore new ways of collaborating to achieve a collective and more sustainable impact. Watch for details about the first meeting in March and let us know if you would like to be involved.

ONSLRG benefits greatly from the hard work of volunteers, interns, practicum students, and professional staff. The review of the past year wouldn’t be complete without recognizing our current staff, Community Development Specialist Matt Fernandez and Executive Director Sean Thomas, as well as Charlotte Harris, who is with us thanks to the AARP Senior Service Corps, and Community Health Initiatives Coordinator Jessica Payne, with us courtesy of Mission St. Louis and AmericorpsVISTA, and our two current interns, Brendan Ziebarth, from Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design, and Dan Sachs, from the University of Missouri-St. Louis social work program.

And, of course, we wouldn’t be able to function without a strong board of directors, which includes a diverse mix of people who care about Old North and are willing to put a lot of their time, energy, and creativity into helping ONSLRG serve as a vehicle for the community’s ongoing revitalization. Before the end of the evening, we collected and tabulated the ballots for 5 Board members who will serve in the 2015-’17 terms. Congratulations and welcome to the ONSLRG Board of Directors to Marlon WhartonPaulette Sankofa, and M. K. Stallings; and welcome to another term to re-elected Board members Dave Eisenbraun and Graham Lane.

Pictured above, from left to right, are some of the new and continuing members of our Board: Marlon Wharton, Annessa Blackmun, Gloria Bratkowski, Dave Eisenbraun, Paulette Sankofa, Graham Lane, Doug Rasmussen, Travis Sheridan, and Tino Ochoa.

Not pictured: Christina Blash, Ken Franklin, Terry Harris, Grace Kincaid, Nevels Nevels, Ben Sever, and M. K. Stallings.

Thank you and farewell to outgoing Board members Linda Quinn, Bryan Reckamp, and Rev. Jonathan Stratton.

Before the conclusion of the program, we extended one more invitation to those in attendance to sign up to be a part of ONSLRG’s work by participating as a member of one or more of our committees. We were very pleased that several people took us up on the offer - but there’s still room for more! If you’d like to help ONSLRG with our comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy, please send us an email (info@ONSL.org) or give us a call (314-241-5031) to let us know you’d like to join one of our committees.

Whether or not you can contribute your time, we invite all to support this work by becoming a member of ONSLRG or by making a financial contribution today. We even offer an option for scheduled, monthly donations so that you could spread your support throughout the year. Click on the image below to make a secure, online contribution.

Finally, we thank all who helped with making Monday evening’s gathering such a successful and enjoyable event, especially Matt Fernandez for clearing the snow to create a safe path to the front door; Rise Community Development for use of the space at the former Parks Drug Store building; Dan, Brendan, Jessica, Matt, James Anderson & Fernando for hauling tables and chairs and setting up the space; Marie Oberkirsch of Central Print for sharing chairs; and Tom & Gloria Bratkowski for handling the sign-in and committee tables, and various other set up chores; and all neighbors and friends who prepared and brought food to share with all!

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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