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Archive for the ‘Brickstarter’ 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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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It’s taken us 200 years to get to this point… & You can help us get off to a good start in 2016

Earlier today we sent our last e-news message of 2015. If you didn’t receive that in your in-box, see below.

2016 is going to be an incredible year for Old North St. Louis as we celebrate the bicentennial of the founding of the Village of North St. Louis. However, we still have 1 day left to celebrate the achievements of 2015 - and 1 day left for your tax-deductible 2015 contribution in support of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.

THANK YOU very much if you’ve already made a contribution to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in 2015. Your support has helped us continue the revitalization that Old North St. Louis Restoration Group began in 1981. However, if you still haven’t made a contribution in 2015, you have just one day left to qualify as a deduction on your 2015 taxes - and to help us start off 2016 with the resources needed to make ONSLRG’s 35th anniversary year and Old North’s 200th anniversary year successful.
To make that tax-deductible contribution right now, just click HERE. Your support will help us continue the following revitalization activities (and so much more!) in 2016:

…and so much more, including neighborhood safety initiatives, support for prospective, new, and long-term residents, and many other things that we just don’t have pictures of.  We’ve made great progress over the past 34 years - and we’d love to continue all of that in 2016. To make that happen, though, we need the resources to cover our expenses. We invite you to help us with that - whether through your own financial support or by telling others who can make a donation of any amount.

Your tax-deductible investment in the future of Old North can be made online by clicking HERE or on the image above.

THANK YOU AGAIN to all who’ve contributed to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in 2015!

One more thing: we invite you to celebrate the new year with us at Old North’s First Friday Art Walk on Friday, New Years Day, from 7 p.m. to Midnight.

If you aren’t receiving our e-news, you can subscribe by clicking HERE.

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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

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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.

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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!

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Supporting Community Development in Old North on Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, & Giving Tuesday

Today is Small Business Saturday… please support the small businesses of Old North, including the retailers at Crown Square!

As a mixed-use community, Old North is home to many small and medium-sized businesses that employ residents of the community, attract visitors to the neighborhood, and provide valuable goods and services to residents of Old North and other neighborhoods.  The following is a list of some of the businesses and nonprofit organizations in Old North that may have items available for your purchase…

14th Street Artist Community, 2607 N. 14th Street

Better Life Cleaning Products, (to find a retailer or to buy online, visit CleanHappens.com)

Blackmun Footcare, 2608 N. 14th Street

Boss Metal Fabricators, 1125 Montgomery St.

Building Futures, 2617 N. 14th Street

Central Print, 2624 N. 14th Street

Crown Candy Kitchen, 1401 St. Louis Avenue

ExKuisite Designs by Kimberly, 2611 N. 14th Street

Firecracker Press, 2612 N. 14th Street

Headhunters Barber & Beauty Shop, 2613 N. 14th Street

Kennedy’s Pet Shop, 2701 N. 14th Street

KRAV Boutique, 2717 N. 14th Street

La Mancha Coffeehouse, 2800 N. 14th Street

Marx Hardware, 2501 N. 14th Street

Northside Workshop, 1306 St. Louis Avenue

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, 2700 N. 14th Street

Perpetua Iron Works, 2803 Blair

The Racq Salon & Spa, 2605 N. 14th Street

St. Louis ArtWorks, 2707 N. 14th Street

UrbArts (Urban Artists Alliance for Child Development), 2600 N. 14th Street

Zuka Arts Guild, 2701 N. 14th Street

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CYBER MONDAY

This Monday is Cyber Monday, which traditionally has been one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.  So if you’re shopping online on Monday (or any day of the year, for that matter), consider buying some Old North merchandise by clicking HERE.  ONSLRG t-shirts, mugs, and stickers make great presents!

If you want to purchase any merchandise available on Amazon, consider supporting Old North St. Louis Restoration Group by making the purchase via Amazon Smile (Smile.Amazon.com) and select Old North St. Louis Restoration Group as the non-profit to benefit from your purchase.  AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support ONSLRG every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization (which, we hope, is Old North St. Louis Restoration Group). On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), before you begin shopping you need to select a charitable organization - just type in “Old North St. Louis Restoration” in the search box, which will then bring up Old North St. Louis Restoration Group - and then you just click on the “select” button to designate ONSLRG as the charitable organization of your choice to receive donations from eligible purchases. Then the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The site will remember your selection, and every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

For more about the Amazon Smile Foundation, click HERE.

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But wait, there’s more!

According to GivingTuesday.org:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

We’d greatly appreciate any support you could offer for ONSLRG on this Giving Tuesday.  One option for you is to click HERE or on the image below to make a financial contribution to help us continue our work of revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of the Old North neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

Or, you can click HERE to learn about ways you can volunteer some of your time with us.

We’d also like to know if you have any other creative ideas for helping ONSLRG continue the great progress we’ve made.  Feel free to comment here by clicking on the LEAVE A COMMENT link at the top left side of this post, or send us an email (to info@ONSL.org) to let us know your idea.  As always, feel free to share this with others who might have an interest in supporting ONSLRG by clicking the envelope image with “EMAIL” under it, also at the top left side of this post.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Thank & Meet Our International Volunteers from Volunteers for Peace

We’re coming to the end of our 3-week adventure with 11 young adults from nine countries who are participating in the international service program called Volunteers for Peace.  If you haven’t met them yet - or if you’ve already met them and want to say thank you before they leave, you’ll be able to find them on Saturday as they spend their last day with us working at North City Farmers’ Market.

This year’s crew of volunteers came to us from Brazil, Finland, France, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey.

In addition to helping out at the market, our volunteers raked, shoveled and hauled away a lot of weeds, brush, and debris from numerous vacant lots throughout the neighborhood, cleared out some vacant buildings to make way for future rehabs, attended a neighborhood meeting, ate meals at the homes of more than a dozen neighborhood residents, enjoyed an authentic American backyard barbecue on Labor Day, tagged butterflies, and visited a lot of landmarks, points of interest, and destination spots around town.

We thank Dmitrii, Wen-Chun, Vanessa, Lucia, Yui, Elliot, Kubilay, Maria, Ana, Murat, and Ana Laura for all they did to support our work in Old North and for sharing their cultures and traditions with us.

We also extend a special thanks to ONSLRG’s Community Development Specialist Matt Fernandez for taking on the tasks of housing, transporting, and supervising these wonderful visitors.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

THANK YOU to All Who Are Making the Revitalization of Old North St. Louis Possible

Happy (slightly belated) Thanksgiving to all of the residents and friends of Old North! As we finish the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we want to express our thanks to all of the people who work with or support Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in the pursuit of our mission to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.  We especially thank the following:

Members of ONSLRG’s Board of Directors, who take on responsibilities above and beyond most non-profit boards, including volunteering for numerous neighborhood cleanups, vacant building board-ups, garden work, setting up for and/or staffing a table at the North City Farmers’ Market (not to mention growing some of the food sold there), opening their homes for the annual Old North House & Community Tour, talking to the media, running meetings, lining up bands for fundraising events, designing flyers or preparing for layout program booklets, and inviting neighbors to attend many of ONSLRG’s programs and events.

ONSLRG Staff, who put in long hours and a lot of hard work on a wide variety of tasks that don’t quite fit into anyone’s job description and still manage to deal with whatever comes through the front doors on a daily basis.

Interns and Practicum Students, who make it possible for us to implement so much more than our full-time staff could have time to do, and bring great energy, creativity, and skill to work that sometimes may not be the most glamorous or exciting.

Volunteers - from high school and college students to international service organizations and corporate employees - these groups are too numerous to identify by name, and they come all year long to help with a multitude of work, including neighborhood clean-ups, beautification and tree-planting projects, work at North City Farmers’ Market, other special events, and so much more.  Thank you to all!

Partners and Collaborating Organizations bring additional resources and skills to the table to support ONSLRG’s comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy.  Again, this category includes too many groups to name them all here, but we especially thank our Crown Square development partners, Rise (formerly RHCDA); Equifax, for recruiting help from Rebuilding Together to design and build improvements to the Crown Square corner plaza at St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street; the City of St. Louis and Washington University for bringing the Sustainable Land Lab competition to Old North; the Episcopal Service Corps for making it possible for us to bring Eric on board as an intern and to launch a new “street team” community engagement initiative; multiple parties who have been involved with North City Farmers’ Market; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for assistance with our launching of the Old North Neighborhood Ownership Model; Community Builders Network for helping us strengthen our relationship with other community development corporations around town; and so many others…

Donors and Investors

Although we get a lot of great work out of volunteers, interns, neighbors and partners, ONSLRG still needs funding to cover other organizational expenses and to have a full-time staff.  Funding comes from a diverse mix of sources, including many individuals, but we owe a special thanks to major donors, Equifax, Bank of America, Rise Collaborative Support Grant, U.S. Bank, Covidien, United Way’s small grant program, Burns & McDonnell, and all of our sponsors and contributors who supported the house tour, trivia night, benefit concert, and holiday market.  [We'll provide a full acknowledgment of all funders as part of our annual report at the end of the year.]

New Programs Still To Come:

We also need to acknowledge new programming still to come.  For instance, VerbQuake, a program initiated by M.K. Stallings, who had been an intern at ONSLRG long ago, received support from Incarnate Word Foundation’s Marketplace of Ideas grant program.  This poetry workshop series will get under way in 2014.

**  And, of course, the Current, Former, & Soon to Come Residents of Old North

None of ONSLRG’s work would be possible without the people who call Old North home.  This group includes many individuals who have been recognized in other categories above, especially our board, volunteers, and contributors, but it also includes many who contribute to the revitalization in a variety of other ways.  Some show up regularly for events, others offer words of encouragement, or shop at the farmers’ market or other neighborhood businesses.  All contribute in one way or another by just being a part of the community, adding life to the streets as they walk their dogs, take their children to the playground, mow their lawn, help a neighbor with home repairs, and watch out for each other.

We even have future residents of the neighborhood willing to speak up on behalf of Old North.  One such individual who is planning to buy a property to rehab and move into the neighborhood recently took the New York Times to task for an article that portrayed the entire north side of the City of St. Louis as if it were just one big neighborhood, rather than a collection of different neighborhoods with unique sets of circumstances in each.

No list of things to be grateful for would be complete without thanking Crown Candy Kitchen for 100 years of tasty treats and service to Old North - and for continuing to bring visitors, customers, and prospective residents and business owners to the community by the busload!

Thank you again to all!

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Community Development Rocks! 3 Reasons to Go to Benefit Concert for ONSLRG on Sat., Nov. 2

November 2 is right around the corner, so get your tickets now for the Community Development Rocks! benefit concert featuring the critically acclaimed band, Five Eight, and the locally loved band, Last to Show First to Go.  Proceeds from this benefit will help Old North St. Louis Restoration Group continue the good work of revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of the Old North neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

If you’re wondering why you should buy as many tickets as you can afford for the Nov. 2 concert, we offer a few reasons to think about:

(1) Great music

According to NPR’s All Songs Considered, Five Eight is one of the top five bands that should be way bigger than they are.  St. Louis fans of Five Eight - and many who are just getting to know them - are excited about the rare opportunity to see the indie rock veterans in the Gateway City.  The band has agreed to travel all the way from Athens, Georgia, to perform at this benefit for ONSLRG.

Although Last to Show First to Go is a local band - which means you may have seen them before and likely will get many other opportunities to see them - it’s worth pointing out to those unfamiliar with them how good they are.  Here’s one review by Annie-Rose Fondaw on KDHX:

“On first listen, Last to Show First to Go appears to have its roots down in the landscape of heartland rock ‘n’ roll. Lead singer Bredon Jones’ earnest, earthy vocals lie simply against a backdrop of acoustic guitar, drums and vocal harmonies, all bolstered by a double bass. Yet as each song unfolds, it’s clear that Last to Show First to Go has a flair for genre-bending. From Jay Lewis’ rippling cello arpeggios to Miriam Keller’s jazz-infused trumpet, the band embraces a wide variety of sounds and textures. And lo and behold, they pull it off. What could easily veer into a trite modernization of the down-home Americana genre instead becomes a singular, engaging sound.”

(2) A Really Cool Venue

Plush, located at 3224 Locust between Compton and Grand, has earned a reputation as one of the hippest, hottest, coolest (or whatever term you’d use for the highest level of a positive experience) venues for food, drink, and live music in St. Louis.  One recent review on Yelp described Plush as “as good at it gets,” while a review in the Riverfrtont Times last year was headlined, “Plush is the most ambitious drinking, dining and dance establishment St. Louis has seen in a decade.”  Get your tickets now to check out Plush in person on Saturday, Nov. 2.  And, if you can get there for dinner before the concert, be sure to mention that you’re there for the Community Development Rocks! concert to get a special deal on the meal.

The photo above is by Kate McDonald from St. Louis Magazine’s 2012 “A List” issue, which included Plush among their “Night Life” awards in the “Dinner and Dance” category.

(3) And, of course, a chance to support a Great Cause

When you support ONSLRG, you support the cause of urban core revitalization implemented in a manner that respects the community that lives there.  The best way to respect the community is to pursue their vision and to involve them in the process of making that vision a reality.  That’s what ONSLRG has been doing since it was created by residents of Old North in 1981.  Everything ONSLRG does is rooted in a desire expressed by community residents.  That’s why ONSLRG has taken on…

the preservation of historic properties - from small, single-family homes to to multi-family, rental buildings to large, institutional buildings, such as the Mullanphy Emigrant Home…

coordinating a farmers’ market in the heart of Old North since 2007 to bring healthy & affordable foods to the neighborhood…

Hosting theater, film, photography exhibits, and other arts programming…

Beautifying Old North through tree-planting, community gardens, supporting other green investments, and regular neighborhood-wide clean-up days

Improving neighborhood safety by establishing a police substation at Crown Square, hosting neighborhood watch trainings, and coordinating implementation of the City’s “Neighborhood Ownership Model”…

Bringing residents together regularly to plan, discuss, and review ideas or proposals for development in Old North…

Plus, all sorts of community-building social events, and so much more!

In addition to supporting ONSLRG by buying concert tickets, you can also buy raffle tickets at the concert or before!  ONSLRG’s tireless intern, Chris Umbertino, has lined up some phenomenal prizes for a raffle drawing that will take place at the concert.  See the flyer below for details.

Raffle tickets will be sold at the concert, but you can also purchase them in advance - either in person at the ONSLRG office or online. Just follow the link below for online contributions - and make a contribution along WITH a note in the comments/special instructions or other notes section to alert us that the purpose is for raffle tickets in your name.

We’d love to get as many people out to Plush on November 2 as we can get to support ONSLRG and to show our appreciation for the generosity of Five Eight, Last to Show First to Go, and Plush; and we’d love it if you could purchase a large pile of raffle tickets as a way of letting the prize donors know their contributions were worth it.  However, we also are willing to accept good, old-fashioned direct contributions straight to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  We can accept contributions in whatever form you’d like to send us:  cash (please not through the mail, though); checks (which can be dropped off at our office or sent by mail to 2700 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63106); or by credit or debit card - either in person at our office or online via PayPal by clicking HERE now or by clicking on the image below.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Economic Case for Stabilization Over Demolition

A common question we get here at ONSLRG is why do we try so hard to save a building that is in poor condition like 1316 North Market, and the many others that have been successfully rebuilt in Old North. There is certainly historic and architectural value in the buildings of Old North that are over 100 years old, and they very much contribute to the urban character of Old North. That is not a point to be taken lightly in a neighborhood like Old North St. Louis. Renovating existing buildings is also more environmentally sustainable due to embodied energy, waste reduction, and efficient designs. On top of that, there is also a simple economic argument to be made for stabilizing and preserving a building like 1316 N Market.

Demolition of 1316 North Market is estimated to cost around $30,000. This is because of very close adjacent buildings, and the very deteriorated framing inside the masonry walls. Compare this to an average cost of about $8-12,000 for an average house in Old North and nearby neighborhoods.

A solid stabilization of 1316 North Market, which includes rebuilding the floor framing and addressing masonry issues, is projected to cost $20-25,000. Stabilization of this type delivers a building that is in a condition that full redevelopment financing with the aid of historic tax credits can be secured. Even with an average demolition cost, stabilization of this building is not much more than demolition. Most buildings don’t need as extensive of a stabilization as 1316 North Market, so the numbers work out easier on most buildings. 1316 North Market after a full renovation will not only maintain the rich historic tradition of Old North St. Louis, it will also generate more tax revenue than a vacant lot or new construction will.

Rendering of possible look of 1316 North Market after renovation

Which of those two options makes the most sense to you? If you agree that stabilization is the way to go, please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Brickstarter crowdfunding campaign for 1316 North Market. We are going to stabilize 1316 N Market, but we need your help to do it. Become a partner today! All contributions go directly to purchasing construction materials for building stabilization that is now underway, and donations are greatly appreciated!

For more information on the Brickstarter for 1316 North Market, visit our page for the project or contact Matt Fernandez in the ONSLRG office, 314-241-5031, ext. 101, or by email: matt@onsl.org.


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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