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Archive for the ‘real estate’ Category

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ONSLRG Launches “Brickstarter” Crowdfunding Campaign for 1316 North Market

by Matt Fernandez, Community Development Specialist

We’re working to save this great beauty owned by Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group from the never relenting effects of gravity, but we need your help!

Vacant since 1990, this building is already a survivor. Formerly owned by the City of St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority, ONSLRG bought this building along with eight other vacant and deteriorated buildings in 2009. Three of these properties have been sold and have been, or are in the process of being renovated, and five have been stabilized and secured by ONSLRG for future rehab. For more information on properties owned by ONSLRG, please contact us at info@onsl.org or 314-241-5031.

When acquired from LRA, this building was reserved for redevelopment and did not see immediate stabilization work, although it was secured properly and the grass and weeds are cut.  Unfortunately, financing did not work out due to the tightening of financial markets during the “Great Recession.”  The “Macho Action Group” of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has done some work on the building, but much more work is needed.

While much of the history of this building is not known, early residents of the home were the Meinholtz family, St. Louis natives who owned or co-owned the property from around 1910 to the 1940’s. Herman C. Meinholtz was the son of German immigrants and was the Vice President and superintendent of Heine Safety Boiler Company.  Both Herman and his son Herbert attended Washington University and studied engineering.

As this 2005 photo shows, the building at 1316 North Market was surrounded by vacant lots that were barely maintained.

By 2007, new homes had been constructed on the 1300 block of North Market as part of the North Market Place new homes development that brought new families to this block of Old North for the first time in many years.

Renderings have been prepared of how the building could appear after a full renovation.

Today, the building sits as a still largely intact structure on the exterior, but the interior has suffered extreme water damage and needs to be fully rebuilt. Some areas of floor have completely collapsed to the basement. In addition, the brick walls have suffered varying degrees of damage from water and shifting, and will need to be rebuilt in some sections. While this may sound like a lot of work, this building is in no worse condition than many other buildings that have been completely rebuilt from the ground up as part of many projects in Old North St. Louis. For example, take a look at the Mullanphy Emigrant Home.

In the photo below, the Mullanphy Emigrant Home is severely storm-damaged and only held up by emergency shoring.

After major stabilization and rebuilding work that was funded by donations and volunteer labor, the walls are rebuilt and the building is sound again.

There are countless other examples of buildings rebuilt from the ground up all around Old North completed by ONSLRG and private individuals. A never give up attitude is contagious around here.

Rebuilding and preserving the building at 1316 North Market is important to help retain a sense of place on this block of North Market. Old North St. Louis has a history dating back to 1816. Incorporating the past along with new construction creates a sense of distinct place that keeps Old North a unique neighborhood that is proud of its urban past, and looks forward to a sustainable future.

With this post, we are launching a “Brickstarter” campaign. Donations of any type to Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group (cash, materials, dumpsters, labor) would be immensely helpful and are fully tax-deductible. We have already gathered donations of sand, masonry cement, a small amount of lumber, and use of scaffolding. In addition, Red Dot Studios has generously offered pro bono architecture services to design a stabilization and rebuilding program for attaining any necessary permits. However, we still need a lot of cash, materials, and labor. The total cost for a full renovation of this building could approach $400,000. However, substantially less is needed for a proper stabilization, and that is mostly for the cost of materials. Depending on the level of donations, different forms of stabilization can be achieved from a range of $5000- $50,000. $25,000 is the goal we are shooting for.  Of course, better forms of stabilization will cost more, but will make the eventual full renovation easier to complete.

Donations can be made online at onsl.org via paypal (Click the donate button below), by check (made payable to “Old North Rehab Properties LLC” and mailed to 2700 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63106), or by cash in person.  If you would like to make a donation of materials, please contact us at info@onsl.org or 314-241-5031. No offer is too small, and please share this with your friends!

Surrounded by new life, this red brick beauty deserves a second chance!


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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Neighborhood Development Blog Takes Note of Projects in Old North

Several project currently under way in Old North St. Louis have caught the attention of the St. Louis Neighborhood Development Blog, which bills itself as a “catalog of St. Louis developments, large and small.”  In the past couple weeks, three buildings in different parts of Old North have benefited from the blog’s spotlight.  All three of these buildings had been condemned for occupancy - or even threatened with demolition - at various points in the past.

Most recently, the blog featured the rehab of 1418 Hebert (below) by James Cox & Luz-Maria Evans Cox.  James & Luz-Maria previously had transformed the property next door at 1416 (including the alley house) into a Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced” Award-winning historic rehab.

After 1418 Hebert was nearly destroyed by fire in 2005, the City’s building division condemned the building for demolition.  Many neighbors and the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG) contacted the building division and the alderwoman to advocate for removal of the demolition order while a buyer could be recruited to preserve and develop the building.  The building eventually ended up in the hands of investors who could not secure financing, and the building’s survival became less and less likely as exposure to the elements took its toll.  Thankfully James and Luz-Maria stepped forward to rescue the building and are now in the midst of another prize-worthy transformation.

Last week, the rehab of 1306 St. Louis Avenue (below) received the attention of the neighborhood development blog.

This building was one of 8 historic Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) properties acquired by ONSLRG in 2009 for the sake of stabilizing them for future redevelopment.

With a front wall bowing out toward the street, 1306 St. Louis Avenue was in danger of collapse when ONSLRG invested the funds necessary to provide the structural support and other stabilization work to ensure its longer term prospects.  After a sale to STL North LLC and funding from the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, ONSLRG managed the redevelopment of the building for its new life as the home of Northside Workshop, a non-profit art space founded by award-winning artist, Juan William Chavez.

The house at 1227 North Market (below) made it onto the blog two weeks ago.  This particular house (another property acquired from LRA by ONSLRG) was not in great shape when Matt Fernandez purchased the long-vacant building, but it got a lot worse before Matt and his friends and family brought it back from the brink of extinction.

The dramatic recovery can only be fully appreciated when viewed alongside images shortly after the front wall collapsed (see below) following the second of two devastating storms that hit the building.

Old North is home to several other historic properties ready for development.  If you’d like to explore the possibilities of creating your own, unique space with the character and integrity that comes with a 140-year old architecturally significant marvel, click HERE for a PDF listing of rehab-ready buildings available from ONSLRG, or contact Matt at the ONSLRG office (matt@onsl.org; 314-241-5031, ext. 102).

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Send This YouTube Link to Encourage Others To Come See Old North This Saturday

We’ve put together a brief, rapid-pace video of recent transformations in Old North as a way of enticing those who haven’t seen the neighborhood (or haven’t seen it in a while) to come on out to the Old North House & Community Tour this Saturday, May 19.  Take a look and please feel free to “like” it and send the link on to others if you think it conveys the dynamic pace and positive changes that have taken place in Old North over the past few years.

Thank you to Old North resident Joe Eisenbraun for allowing us to use his music in this video. For more about Joe and links to more of his music, check out our post from January 20, 2012.

If you’d like to pick up a pile of OId North House & Community Tour tickets to sell (or flyers or postcards to distribute), give us a call at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office at 314-241-5031.  Or if you’d just like to buy some tickets online via our secure PayPal account, click HERE.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tschetters’ Home Featured in Sunday’s Post-Dispatch

Thank you to Susan and Tom Tschetter for allowing your home to be featured in Sunday’s Home section of the Post-Dispatch and for sharing your upbeat perspective on living in Old North St. Louis.  The article can be found on page H3 of the March 11, 2012, edition of the Post or click HERE to read the online version at stltoday.com/lifestyles.

In addition to showing the world that Old North is a neighborhood of historically significant homes with cool, one-of-a-kind features, the story also makes a plug for the enriching, community aspect of life in Old North.  After describing the great character and architectural details of the Tschetters’ 1879 home, reporter Amy Bertrand notes that “it’s the people of the neighborhood that mean the most to the Tschetters,” and then offers a quote from Susan: “It’s the ambience… We love it here.”

To see more photos from the Tschetters’ home, click here for the STL Today photo page, but we can also provide a few of our own from just a couple weeks ago, when Susan and Tom opened their home for the most recent of the many groups of visitors who’ve come to be impressed by their home and other developments in Old North.

On February 25, “Urban Walkers Group” came to see the revitalization in progress throughout the neighborhood, and made a stop at the Tschetters’ home along with other sites in Old North.

Friends of Old North and others who would like to see more of the fascinating homes in ONSL will get a chance on Saturday, May 19 when ONSLRG puts on the annual Old North House & Community Tour.  For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the tour page now: http://onsl.org/house-and-community-tour/.

Of course we also have opportunities to enjoy the ambience of the neighborhood as an owner of one of these historic gems, which can be rehabbed to reflect your own personality and style at a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere.  We recently received a visit from a current New Yorker who just closed on the purchase of a house in Old North.  Among her reasons for buying in Old North: “This house was an amazing value, and the mortgage rates are at historic lows; so, from a long-term investment standpoint, it makes perfect sense.”

To learn more about homebuying opportunities in Old North, visit ONSL.org’s real estate page at http://onsl.org/real-estate/.  And even if you’re not up for the rehab process or owning an old home, among the positive features of Old North is that we have new homes, as well.  Check out the website for 1319 North Market, which is one of the best deals in town for new or recently constructed homes.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Year Brings More Media & Outside Attention for Old North

The new year is barely two weeks old, but Old North has already received a good deal of attention in 2012 from a range of outside sources, including some publications with national readerships.

The latest moment in the spotlight came when HUD’s Best Practices website posted a feature on Old North’s Crown Square on Friday.  The Crown Square redevelopment earned its place as the latest in a series of reports on “best practice” developments around the country because the project resulted from a strong partnership between Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance (with support from the City of St. Louis), a genuine community-based planning process, and a commitment to affordable and mixed-income housing, historic preservation, and various other sustainable development principles.  Click HERE or on the image below to read the full report.

On January 5, Builder Magazine posted a story on their website about the desirability of walkable neighborhoods and used Old North St. Louis as their featured example of a community that has benefited from improvements to its walkability.  The article cited Old North’s comprehensive approach to redevelopment and offered several photos from Old North, including a community garden, the North City Farmers’ Market, historically sensitive new homes at North Market Place, and the streetscape at Crown Square, to illustrate the elements that have made Old North not just more livable for current residents but also more attractive to prospective residents.  Click HERE or on the image below to read the full article.

Eleven Music Magazine’s January issue has hit the streets with Old North as its “Neighborhood of the Month”, which is nice recognition, especially for the Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall.  (Although the piece includes a mis-quote about the age of the neighborhood - indicating that the neighborhood was a separate village from St. Louis from 1860 - 1940, rather than the real dates of 1816-1841, we’ll forgive that because of the overall positive tone of the piece and the fact that the actual quote may have been difficult to hear during the interview, which was recorded at Old North’s La Mancha Coffeehouse, with the sound of an espresso machine and various diners’ chatter in the background.)  Click HERE or on the image below to read the article.

Visitors to hotels throughout the St. Louis area are picking up this month’s issue of Where Magazine-St. Louis, in which they’ll read about 6 new independent retailers “worth your time,” including Old North’s newest Crown Square establishment, Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique.

Where Magazine is available at concierge desks and in-room at medium-to-high end hotels and other select businesses, but it’s also available online to provide travelers (and locals) with “the most complete guide to the city’s top restaurants, shops, shows, exhibits, and tours.”  The online version (seen below) also features a photo of the interior at Rambles.  Click HERE or on the image below to see and read the online version of the review of Rambles.

Thank you to all of these publications for sharing our story with the rest of the world!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Virtual Old North St. Louis

For the past year or so ONSLRG has been working with University of Missouri St. Louis staff to create a virtual version of Old North St. Louis utilizing the Virtual City Program. The result is a model of what the built environment of Old North St. Louis may have looked like throughout time.

To use Virtual City, you will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer. Currently, only Crown Square and the 2700 Block of N 13th St. has been created. More of the neighborhood will be added over time, and the existing modeling will be refined.

The current model of the neighborhood can be found here. When you open the file, give it some time to load for best results. Click on the files in temporary places to load buildings. There is a time-line in the upper left corner that moves through time, and you will see buildings appear and disappear. Most of the structures at this point are modeled to show mass, scale, and siting. Generic building fronts from the neighborhood are pasted onto the structure. Over time this will be refined to show more detail. For more information about a building, you can click on the little dog in front of each building with more details.

While it is fun to see what once was built in Old North, it is also good to look toward the future. Since the time line extends nearly two decades into the future, we thought it would be a good idea to utilize Virtual City to develop some future development ideas. For now, we have developed three alternatives for future development for a plot of land that ONSLRG owns at the Northwest corner of Montgomery and 13th St. By no means are we committed to any one design, this exercise is meant to create discussion and ideas for a possible future project that at this point has no funding for any alternative. We would like to ask for constructive feedback on these potential ideas. What do you like about the current designs?  What would you like to see designed differently?  And let us know why you are making the suggestions you are offering.  Feel free to post your comments here by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the top left side of this post.  You can also send any constructive feedback that you may have to Matt Fernandez, our Community Development Specialist, at Matt (at) onsl.org.  To see each alternative, click the link below each preview image displayed below.  You may also come by the ONSLRG office anytime and we will show you the Virtual City on one of our computers.

Contemporary loft development.

Contemporary loft development.

Click the following link to view the Contemporary loft development alternative on the Virtual City program.

Mixed-use development with traditional design.

Mixed-use development with traditional design.

Click the following link to view the Traditional design alternative.

Green homes development.

Green homes development.

Click the following link to view the Green homes alternative.

Stay tuned as this program gets filled with more images and as we flesh out the instructions for access and use.  In the meantime, enjoy the stroll down some of the streets of Old North as they may have looked at various stages in history.

Images currently loaded onto a view of Montgomery Street looking east from N. 14th Street in 1955.

Images currently loaded onto a view of Montgomery Street looking east from N. 14th Street in 1955.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scenes from Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour -Part 2

The wet and chilly weather may have kept some people away, but the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour still was a great success in many other ways that can’t be measured by attendance figures alone.

Some of the community’s strong supporters who haven’t been back to the neighborhood in a while enjoyed the opportunity to see all of the changes, including some that have taken place just within the past couple weeks, including a bright, new look for the Old North Grocery Co-op.

Although we don't normally recommend painting on brick, the building that houses the Old North Grocery Co-op was classified as "non-contributing" at the time the neighborhood was approved as a National Register Historic District, in part because of the newer, non-historic brick on the exterior of the later addition as well as the historic portions of the former horseradish factory.

Although we don't normally recommend painting on brick, the building that houses the Old North Grocery Co-op was classified as "non-contributing" at the time the neighborhood was approved as a National Register Historic District, in part because of the newer, non-historic brick on the exterior of the later addition as well as the historic portions of the former horseradish factory.

The event was successful in serving as a platform for establishing new connections, including with one individual who was so impressed that he made plans to hold a wedding reception at Crown Square, and in demonstrating the vibrancy of the community.  A few prospective commercial tenants came out to get a feel for the area and to look at look at commercial spaces that are available for lease.

The Home Grown Festival represented an opportunity to shine the spotlight on artistic talent within and nearby Old North.

Juan William Chavez had an exhibit that shared the story of Team Cookbook, inspired by the Old North Cookbook.

Juan William Chavez had an exhibit that shared the story of Team Cookbook, inspired by the Old North Cookbook.

The space at 2607 N. 14th was the site of an installation created by Chinyere E. Oteh, Dail Chambers, and Simiya Sudduth representing the Ye Yo Arts Collective.

The space at 2607 N. 14th was the site of an installation created by Chinyere E. Oteh, Dail Chambers, and Simiya Sudduth representing the Ye Yo Arts Collective.

Visitors got a chance to try out new neighborhood businesses, such as La Mancha Coffeehouse.

Visitors got a chance to try out new neighborhood businesses, such as La Mancha Coffeehouse.

The gallery at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office hosted a range of spoken word performances and the re-dedication of Wingmann Park (more about that in a later post), while the Parks Building was the site for a variety of craft vendors.

As always, the house tour showed off the beauty and unique character of homes in Old North…

… on the inside:

…and outside:

Although redevelopment of this cottage house on Palm isn't visible yet, the property still drew a lot of interest. The owners posted a display of architectural plans for the rehab, along with interesting bits about the building's history and its former occupants.

Although redevelopment of this cottage house on Palm isn't visible yet, the property still drew a lot of interest. The owners posted a display of architectural plans for the rehab, along with interesting bits about the building's history and its former occupants.

As the photo of the cottage on Palm demonstrates, Old North’s house tour is unlike many other house tours in other neighborhoods.  We don’t limit our tour to the homes that are in pristine condition or likely to show up on the cover of glossy home magazines.  Old North’s tour shows off the diversity of the community, including the range of housing styles and conditions.  There are many homes that have been beautifully restored to reflect their original, Victorian design.  There also are many homes that are at early stages of rehab work, and many that put more contemporary interiors into the shells of their historic homes.

The rain forced many of the street festival activities indoors, including the performances that had been scheduled for the main stage at Crown Square.

Students from Grand Center Arts Academy's Front & Center Show Choir were among the performers.

Students from Grand Center Arts Academy's Front & Center Show Choir were among the performers.

Young performers from Club CHIPS shared songs with positive messages about healthy living.

Young performers from Club CHIPS shared songs with positive messages about healthy living.

David Foote invited audience members to participate in a Zumba dance demonstration.

David Foote invited audience members to participate in a Zumba dance demonstration.

Meanwhile, out on the street, many of our sponsors and other neighborhood service providers braved the weather to staff information tables.

Kohner Properties staff shared information about apartments available in the neighborhood, including at Crown Square Apartments.

Kohner Properties staff shared information about apartments available in the neighborhood, including at Crown Square Apartments.

Grace Hill representatives distributed information about the upcoming Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing event scheduled for next weekend.

Grace Hill representatives distributed information about the upcoming Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing event scheduled for next weekend.

Trailnet representatives and friends gathered at the corner plaza while waiting for start of the environmental justice bike ride.

Trailnet representatives and friends gathered at the corner plaza while waiting for start of the environmental justice bike ride.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, one of our sponsors, was on hand to recruit more gardens for their 10,000 Garden Challenge.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, one of our sponsors, was on hand to recruit more gardens for their 10,000 Garden Challenge.

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group thanks all sponsors, volunteers, homeowners, and visitors for making the day such a wonderful experience!

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Old North HomeGrown Street Fest and House Tour Just 1 Month Away

This year’s Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour is expanding beyond the traditional format to incorporate a street festival that will celebrate and put the spotlight on locally produced foods, goods, and services.  The first ever HomeGrown Street Festival and our usual Old North House & Community Tour will take place on Saturday, May 14th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Tour tickets are available in advance for $10 and will be available on the day of the tour for $12 per person. To purchase tickets online or for more information, visit the ONSL.org page about the tour & street fest by clicking HERE.

The tour will feature the great diversity of housing styles that make Old North a community where almost everyone can find a place that suits their budget and lifestyle.  Stops on the tour will include historically rehabbed houses that once were abandoned shells, a LEED-certified home built by Habitat for Humanity last year, community gardens (including the 13th Street Garden, which grows food for the North City Farmers’ Market and is home to the Old North Chicken Coop), the Old North Grocery Co-op, and new businesses at Crown Square.  The HomeGrown Street Festival will show off the cool, public space at Crown Square, along the redeveloped former 14th Street Mall, and will feature a variety of locally produced arts, crafts, and other goods.   If you know of a good, local product that is worthy of inclusion at the street fest, contact the ONSLRG office.

We also could use some help in spreading the word about this great celebration of neighborhood revitalization, historic preservation, and the best of urban living.  It’s not too early to start inviting your friends, neighbors, relatives, and other supporters of sustainable, community-driven neighborhood development to join you on Saturday, May 14.   If you’d like to request postcards for the event that you could mail to anyone who might be interested in attending, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.

This year’s tour is made possible by generous support from PNC, the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture, Commerce Bank, Duffe-Nuernberger Realty, Kohner Properties, Mackey Mitchell Architects, and USBank.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Open/Closed Conference Puts Focus on Opportunities for Development

The Open / Closed Conference this past weekend brought together an eclectic mix of urban enthusiasts, preservationists, neighborhood development advocates, academics, and developers to explore various issues related to vacant land in St. Louis.  Old North St. Louis Restoration Group was pleased to play host for the event’s opening reception on Friday evening and the closing reception on Saturday evening.

ONSLRG’s gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street was the setting for a standing-room-only crowd on Friday evening for the opening remarks by the event’s planners from nextSTL.com and Frontier St. Louis, followed by a presentation by Juan William Chavez, and clips from the soon-to-be-released documentary, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, along with the film’s producer, Paul Fehler, and former Pruitt-Igoe resident, Sylvester Brown, Jr. (shown in the second photo below).  Complimentary beverages were made available through the generosity of one of the newest microbreweries in town, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.

With all of the interest in bringing development to vacant properties, this is a great time to point out that Old North is home to many historic buildings ready for purchase by individuals or developers with a commitment to preserving these buildings and capacity to carry out the job.  A full listing of properties available for rehabbers can be found on the Rehabbers page in the Real Estate section of ONSL.org - or by clicking HERE. Contact Matt Fernandez, ONSLRG’s Community Development Specialist, at 314-241-5031 or via matt@onsl.org to learn more about what’s available and how to go about preparing an offer or planning for a rehab.

The building at 1316 North Market is just one of many historic properties that are great opportunities for good rehabbers with commitment and capacity.

The building at 1316 North Market is just one of many historic properties that are great opportunities for good rehabbers with commitment and capacity.

ONSLRG stabilized and secured the building at 1300 Monroe, along with several others from the Land Reutilization Authority, so that it could survive long enough to be taken on by future rehabbers.

ONSLRG stabilized and secured the building at 1300 Monroe, after purchasing it and several others from the Land Reutilization Authority, so that it could survive long enough to be taken on by future rehabbers.

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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.

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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