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Archive for the ‘Metropolis STL Tours Old North’ Category

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Old North Flickr Set Features Highlights from 2010

The collection of Old North photos on Flickr now includes a set dedicated to highlights from the activities and events of 2010.  Check it out by clicking here.

Some of these photos will be included in the slideshow of 2010 highlights that will happen at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper, which will start at 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

An Action-Packed Week in the Heart of a Dynamic Community

We barely had time to recover from celebrating the opening of the Old North Grocery Co-op when we had to shift gears to tend to some other events and activities in the core of what is becoming the busiest neighborhood in the city.  A few illustrations of the dynamic pace of life in Old North this week:

Tuesday, July 27

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group welcomed the Metropolis Wine Club to the gallery at ONSLRG’s office.  Many of these visitors enjoyed their first glimpses of the development that has been transforming Old North in recent years, including Crown Square. 

Thursday, July 29

Crown Square Ribbon-Cutting Celebration and Street Party.  This event warrants its own post, so check back for more scenes from that big day that was years in the making.

Friday, July 30

Cinema St. Louis brought another installment of its monthly screening series to Old North St. Louis.  This month’s feature: The Rink, a locally produced documentary about roller rinks in African American communities.  The event included a lively Q & A session with director Ron (”G Whiz”) Butts and other roller skating stars profiled in the film.

Saturday, July 31

Mike Miller of the Garden Hotline broadcasting from the North City Farmers' Market

Mike Miller of the Garden Hotline broadcasting from the North City Farmers

The North City Farmers’ Market enjoyed some good media exposure as KMOX radio broadcast its weekly Garden Hotline show live from the market. 

 

The band Wack-a-Doo contributed to the positive vibes at the North City Farmers’ Market, on the plaza at the St. Lous Avenue end of Crown Square.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Much to be Thankful for in Old North St. Louis

Despite the difficult economic times, Old North St. Louis has had a lot to be thankful for this year.  In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we’d like to put the spotlight on just a dozen improvements, achievements or positive developments in Old North during 2009.  By limiting this list to just 12, that means several other worthy events, occasions, or successes won’t be covered here.  So, stay tuned, we’ll try to get around to acknowledging those in later posts.  As it is, the following list includes many items that deserve much more space than a brief mention and a photo or two, but we’ll have to settle for that for now. 

1) Jackson Park Improvements

Part of the improvements at Jackson Park included new playground equipment.

Part of the improvements at Jackson Park included new playground equipment.

2) Support for the Old North Grocery Co-op - Thanks to a very generous 3-year grant approved by the Missouri Foundation for Health, we now will be able to launch the Old North Grocery Co-op at 2718 N. 13th Street.  More funds still need to be raised, but the support of MFH ensure that we can get up and running in 2010.

Something like this will be coming soon to ONSL: interior of a grocery co-op...in Old North Knoxville.

Something like this will be coming soon to ONSL: interior of a grocery co-op...in a neighboprhood called Old North Knoxville.

Planning for the grocery co-op has benefited from help provided by UMSL’s Community Partnership Project and a diverse group of people serving on our co-op planning committee.  The whole effort has grown out of our successes with other food-related efforts, which is why that deserves mention here…

3) Continuation & Expansion of a Variety of Other Healthy Food Initiatives - this year we hosted the 3rd season of the North City Farmers’ Market (thanks again to the ongoing support of the Missouri Foundation for Health!); we enjoyed a bountiful crop of produce grown in the the 13th Street Community Garden; and we started a new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrangement with Family Harvest (with weekly deliveries by farmer Rusty Lee).

A healthy dialogue about plants in the 13th Street Garden

A healthy dialogue about plants in the 13th Street Garden

4) Opening of 2700 N. 14th Street as the new office for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, the “Yet-to-be Named” Gallery, and space for neighborhood information and expanded support for neighborhood improvement initiatives.  We’ve posted some views of the exterior of the building and the gallery space in an earlier post, so now we’ll show off some other views of the interior space. 

5) Crown Square Apartments - NOW LEASING!…Yes, now that water and sewer connections have been completed on the 2700 block of N. 14th and nearing completion on the 2600 block, that means our leasing agents at Cohen-Esrey are actually showing apartments and signing leases with people who are taking advantage of the opportunity to live in the heart of Old North at Crown Square.  Give them a call today if you don’t want to miss your chance.

6) Work is in progress making it possible for the return of the street to the 2600 and 2700 blocks on N. 14th Street!  This is the part that is largely hidden behind the construction fences, but rest assured that it’s actually coming soon, thanks to the hard work of our partners at the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance (RHCDA) who have been navigating the complexities of a myriad of regulatory agencies and funding sources.  Stay tuned for more on that topic in a future post.

7) The opening of the Urban Studio Cafe.  The cafe has been warmly received by the community and has turned into a favorite neighborhood gathering spot for residents and outsiders who want a quick cup of coffee, a wireless signal for some web-surfing, a sweet pastry or a nourishing sandwich or cup of soup.

8) Acquisition and stabilization of endangered historic buildings by ONSLRG.  Earlier in the year Old North St. Louis Restoration Group acquired 8 vacant and deteriorated buildings from the City’s Land Reutilization Authority (thanks to support from Alderwoman April Ford Griffin) with the goal of stabilizing them so that they could survive long enough to be acquired and rehabbed by others.  Since then, ONSLRG has succeeded in selling 2 of them to rehabbers, has started exploring plans for redevelopment of 2 others and contracted with E.M. Harris Construction Company to carry out urgen stabilization work at the remaining 4.

9) Completion of historic rehabs at several owner-occupied properties.  While ONSLRG is investing funds to make it possible for future rehabs, several rehabbers have completed (for the most part) on major efforts to preserve and rehab formerly abandoned buildings.  Two of these, 3240 N. 19th Street and 1303 North Market, were featured at ONSLRG’s Annual Old North St. Louis House Tour in May.

3240 N. 19th Street has enjoyed a remarkable comeback from its previous condition as an empty shell missing its back wall.

3240 N. 19th Street has enjoyed a remarkable comeback from its previous condition as an empty shell missing its back wall.The former charcoal warehouse on the 1300 block of North Market has a new life as a cool, loft-like home.

10) Acquisition of other vacant properties and start of rehabs by individual rehabbers.  The work has only just begun at several other vacant buildings, but individual rehabbers in different parts of Old North are currently in the midst of bringing new life to long-neglected properties on Palm, Benton, North Market, and Monroe, among others.  One of these buildings, at 1307 Benton, is in the able hands of James Cox, right on the heels of getting a ”Most Enhanced” Award from Landmarks Association in May for the home he and his wife, Luz Maria Evans, rehabbed on Hebert.

1307 Benton in the midst of a major makeover.

1307 Benton in the midst of a major makeover.

11) Continued stream of volunteer help.  Much of the successes over the past year would not have been possible without the thousands of hours of help from volunteers - from within the neighborhood and from outside friends, relatives and supporters.  Sometimes these volunteers come as individuals, such as Brian Krueger, who helped out with many different tasks throughout the year, from staffing a table at the North City Farmers’ Market to planting, weeding, and harvesting in the 13th Street Community Garden; on other occasions, we get volunteers by the busload, including SLU Law School orientation service day students (thanks to Kathleen Parvis) and other students recruited and coordinated by New City Fellowship Church.

12) Ongoing support and attention from outside groups.  We also benefit from a broad range of outside groups who help share the Old North story by bringing their members or the general public in for tours and presentations.  This past year was much busier than previous ones, with numerous local groups, such as the regular visits from the Rehabbers Club and Metropolis, educational tours guided by local historian NiNi Harris, and the monthly bike rides coordinated by Bike St. Louis during the summer months; out-of-state visitors, including Iowa State University architecture students; and some foreign interest this years with visits from delegations from as far away as Russia and Thailand (thanks to UMSL). 

Thanks again to all who have made 2009 such an eventful and exciting year!

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Day’s Activities Reflect Vibrant Community in Old North

Saturday may not have been a typical day in Old North, but it sure reflected the positive energy fueling the neighborhood’s revitalization and demonstrated how active the community is.  As noted in yesterday’s post here, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is in the midst of moving our offices and community space down the street, to the heart of the Crown Square redevelopment.   While a Saturday ordinarily would be an ideal day to mobilize our dependable army of volunteers to help with the move, many of these individuals were deployed to various other community projects throughout the neighborhood, including:

  • The Metropolis St. Louis tour of Old North;
  • A vacant building board-up initiative, coordinated by the “Macho Action Group”, a division of ONSLRG’s Real Estate Committee;
  • An event focused on the dynamics of community development, held at the Urban Studio Cafe with the Brown School of Social Work; and
  • Construction of a wheelchair ramp by neighborhood volunteers for a long-time resident who experienced complications after hip-replacement surgery.

All of this played out against the backdrop of a beautiful November day, which brought out throngs of visitors to the neighborhood, many of whom chose to wait in the long line out the door at ONSL’s favorite ice cream parlor / lunch spot, Crown Candy Kitchen.  See below for a sampling of photos from this extraordinary slice of community life in Old North St. Louis.

Metropolis visitors toured Crown Square, including ONSLRG's new space (in the background)

Metropolis visitors toured Crown Square, including ONSLRG's new space (in the background)

Graham Lane showed off the creative adaptation of warehouse space as a cool, loft-style home.

Graham Lane showed off the creative adaptation of warehouse space as a cool, loft-style home.

Nico Leone (in the white t-shirt) led a tour through the home he's rehabbing on Wright Street and pointed out that the stairs were built from timbers salvaged from a nearby warehouse.

Nico Leone (in the white t-shirt) led a tour through the home he is rehabbing on Wright Street and pointed out that the stairs were constructed from timbers salvaged from a nearby warehouse.

Macho Action Group volunteers cutting plywood and gathering materials for securing vacant buildings.

Macho Action Group volunteers cutting plywood and gathering materials for securing vacant buildings.

Boarding up a building on Palm Street, to keep it protected from the elements and vandals, so that it can survive long enough for a future rehab. Hey, isn't that Graham Lane again?

Boarding up a building on Palm Street, to keep it protected from the elements and vandals, so that it can survive long enough for a future rehab. Hey, isn't that Graham Lane, again?

ONSLRG's practicum student, Meghan Baer, was part of the program at the Urban Studio Cafe with other Brown School social work students.

ONSLRG's practicum student, Meghan Baer (in the purple shirt), helping set up at the Urban Studio Cafe for the program with her fellow students from Washington University's Brown School of Social Work.

The line at Crown Candy stretched out the door.

The line at Crown Candy stretched out the door.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Metropolis STL Tours Old North

On June 14th, a sunny and beautiful Saturday morning, 17 members of Metropolis STL toured the developments currently underway in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. Led by ONSLRG Executive Director, Sean Thomas, the group took a hard-hat tour of Crown Square, the $35 million redevelopment of the former 14th Street Mall, as well as the new construction and renovations on North Market Place, and a few private renovations.
If you or your group would like a tour of the ONSL neighborhood, Crown Square, or other specific developments, contact Karen Heet, the ONSLRG Real Estate Development Coordinator, at karen@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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