Sunday, December 2, 2012
We’ve been too busy lately to post more regular updates on the blog, so this “week in review” will have to serve as an after-the-fact report on some of our recent highlights.
Mayor Slay Pays a Visit to Old North
On Thursday Mayor Francis Slay and his entourage of development officials (including St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Rodney Crim, Deputy Executive Director Otis Williams, and Director of Real Estate Laura Costello) stopped by the Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting to report on recent and upcoming developments of interest to residents of Old North. Updates included status reports on the Mississippi River Bridge (scheduled for completion in Feb. 2014) and the Tucker Boulevard reconstruction (which should be open to traffic by summer 2013); neighborhood safety initiatives (such as efforts related to the Neighborhood Ownership Model); and the City’s Sustainability Plan.
Another Highly Successful Old North Holiday Market
On Saturday ONSLRG hosted our second annual Old North Holiday Market at the former Parks Drug Store building, with dozens of craft vendors, face-painting, holiday music (courtesy of Fresh Anointing Church and a group from Washington University), and a visit from Santa Claus.
Thanks to ONSRG’s community engagement specialist, Claire Wolff, our practicum students, Leslie Duling, Lindsey Forsythe, and Emily Sheffield-Wilson (& Molly Johnson, last year’s practicum student who was largely responsible for the great market last year and who came back to help with set-up this year), all of the other volunteers (including several ONSLRG board members, such as Graham and Ben, in the photo above), and all of our wonderful vendors for a great day!
Old North Featured as “Island of Revitalization” at State of Neighborhoods Forum
On Wednesday, Old North St. Louis was one of three neighborhoods represented on a panel of respondents at a forum addressing the “State of Neighborhoods” in St. Louis. The forum, sponsored by the Community Partnership Project at UMSL, working in cooperation with University of Missouri Extension and co-sponsorship of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision, Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, and the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO), started with a presentation by UMSL Professor Todd Swanstrom, which compared St. Louis with several other cities on various trends that affect neighborhood conditions, outlined several factors that contribute to neighborhood revitalization, and identified Old North as one of about a dozen “islands of revitalization” in the St. Louis area. ONSLRG executive director Sean Thomas was one of three neighborhood development organization representatives on the panel responding to Professor Swanstrom’s presentation. For a more detailed report on the forum, click HERE for the article in the St. Louis Beacon.
Welcome to Harris Family, New Homeowners on North Market
Among the factors earning Old North a spot on the list of neighborhoods recognized for their revitalization was the 28% population gain over the past decade. Despite the slowdown in the real estate market, that trend has continued over the past couple years. One of the more recent examples is the Harris Family who moved into Old North just before Thanksgiving and now occupy a home on North Market, a parcel of land that had not had any residents in several decades. Welcome to Old North! And thanks for helping us to continue growing the neighborhood’s population!
Rehab Lenders at Neighborhood Open Meeting
Meanwhile, we continue to seek ways to support existing homeowners and identify resources to help others come into the neighborhood as rehabbers. At last week’s Old North Neighborhood Open Meeting, representatives from several lending institutions came out to share information about their loan products appropriate for covering purchase and/or rehab of historic homes in Old North. For information about these resources or to get contact information for these individuals from Bank of America, First National Bank, U.S. Bank, and Wells-Fargo, contact Matt Fernandez, ONSLRG’s community development specialist at 314-241-5031, ext. 101 or Matt@ONSL.org.
Deadline Approaching for Sustainable Land Lab Competition
This past week also brought a number of visits to the neighborhood by individuals and teams looking at the six vacant lots in the Crown Square area that are part of the Sustainable Land Lab Competition. The competition, co-sponsored by Washington University’s Office of Sustainable Development and the City of St. Louis, will culminate with the selection of teams who have the most compelling plans for sustainable re-use of four of the lots. The deadline for the first round of submissions is Dec. 10. The competition brief can be downloaded by clicking HERE.
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